Warbird History: A Shared Experience

As the New Year approaches, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting a little nostalgic for years gone by. Whether that be family, friends or passions in life, special days from the past will always come to the fore again. 

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Over the last few years since starting this website I’ve learnt to not take anything in this hobby, this industry for granted. I treat each show and each rare machine with due attention as we all know how quickly the scene can change. 2018 has shown perhaps more than any other year in recent memory that these ups and downs and changes eventually come back around.

This year has seen the return of some true greats of airshows past, notably P-47 G-THUN which has been a truly special return. The incredible rate of Buchon resurrections coming out of Sywell has made for a wonderful addition as well. In another “the more things change” moment, there is now an airworthy Lysander with the Aircraft Restoration Company along with the return of MK XI Spitfire PL983. 

For myself, this year also made me appreciate an area of aviation I never thought I would take much interest in, historic helicopters. The sight and sound of the Red Bull Sycamore and Westland Whirlwind struck a chord. In time I suspect these historic rotary wing types may help fill the gap sadly left by the reduced classic jet scene. 

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The other aspect of note over the last few years is the people I’ve met. Its remarkable the shared experience that countless of enthusiasts around the country and the world have. Particular airshow moments that ring clear in my mind as special days in my own history and memories were shared by those I meet today as well. It’s great to be able to look back through this remarkable long history of historic aviation. 

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This post is nothing but a little self-indulgent rambling I appreciate. But ’tis the season as you will know and while from the outside looking in, this website and these stories are simply “old aeroplanes”, to myself and others who share those experiences, it is so much more.

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With every display of a particular type or airframe we are instantly transported to those we’ve seen before, those brave men who flew them in the darkest days and those we’ve enjoyed and lost over the years in the airshow circuit. It’s the latest chapter in a story I’m thankful to have been involved with. For many these pilots, engineers and even airframes themselves start to feel like old friends. After all, we will all be in the same place, same time, year on year. 

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Except of course, those who aren’t there to enjoy the show, one more time around. Without question, they are added to the story, added to that shared experience and added to that inexplicable mix of emotions that comes with each and every show. 

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From the thrill of a low level aerobatic performance, to those special unplanned local flights we may be lucky to catch. Even those rainy, windy days soaking up the “same old hangars”. There is something new on every visit of course, but also so much history. That is what makes this scene so special and so integral to me. 

Long may it continue! 

Aside from the above there is nothing more to say but thank you all for continuing to read, share and take part in this website. I with you a Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year.

 

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