Goodwood Revival 2018

Continuing the odd definition of chronological order for this years event reports, here is a post on a show that is currently still going on. This years Goodwood Revival had a central aviation theme of RAF100.

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It is no secret that over the past few years the flying displays have become less and less significant as part of the Goodwood Revival package. I remember fondly my first show watching the then Fighter Collection Spitfire XIV performing countless aileron rolls across the airfield. It is hardly surprising though with everything that has happened since that the level of flying has steadily reduced over the years. Three flying displays became two and finally became one last year, with the early morning “dawn patrol” being the only other performance.

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It was a real surprise to see things appearing to be cut again this year, with only the early morning slot appearing on the programme of events. I did wonder if this was to allow a more conventional display space to be used (being a motor racing event there are spectators positioned around the display line, which effectively cut through a sterile area in the middle of the circuit. Thankfully I was right, on arrival the welcome sight of three Spitfires running up greeted me, with The Fighter Collection’s EP120, John Romain’s PL983 and the Goodwood Spitfire, MH434. As the Spitfires moved out to the runway a lone Hurricane could be seen waiting its turn, clearly more than a dawn patrol was on the cards.

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It is ironic that this year had absolutely perfect weather for the Friday, as my overwhelming memory of Goodwood flying is “will they/won’t they”. The four fighters formed up into a tight box four for a series of passes before splitting into two pairs. Brian Smith and John Romain entered a gentle tail chase in the Mk IX and XI Spitfires, complete with some gentle aileron rolls (never thought I would see any aerobatics again at Revival so this was welcome). With Alan Wade in Spitfire V EP120 and Stu Goldspink in Hurricane P3717 brining up the rear, each closing the segment with a slow roll.

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The sight and sound of four merlin engine fighters patrolling the south downs in glorious early morning sunshine was certainly well worth getting up early for.

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As always with Goodwood, the main aviation attraction is the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation exhibition. This concourse event is for pre-1966 designs and this year had the main theme of RAF100. While there were a few unfortunate cancellations, the event still offered a broad range of RAF types ranging from the Sopwith Camel to the Percival Prentice and Chipmunk.

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With the inclusion of the air display participants, which were quickly wheeled into the static, there were four Spitfires to admire up close, alongside two Hurricanes. The aircraft restoration company were out in force with the Blenheim and Spitfire XI being joined by the Lysander, fresh out of restoration having only returned to the air last Tuesday.

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Another highlight in the display was Goodwood’s newly repainted Harvard respondent in silver/yellow training colours as well as the “Sharkmouth” Mustang.

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Overall, while this years Revival saw reduced aviation content, it still offers something totally unique and having the chance to walk around these classic and priceless aircraft with no obstructions makes for an incredible addition to the overall revival event, which is in itself a remarkable vintage event.

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