For the final 2018 airshow moment (for now) I wanted to go back to the Duxford Air Festival in May which saw the modern debt for a fascinating and unique design. The F+W C-3605, commonly known as the “Schlepp”.
This ungainly looking design is a development of an original 1940s era aircraft, which was powered by an Hispano Suiza V12. Once up for disposal these machines were acquired by the Swiss Air Force as target towing aircraft. The power plant at the time was not so desirable to a turboprop upgrade was arranged. Due to the relative weight of the new engine the centre of gravity moved resulting in potential issues. To combat these issues the nose was extended along with the addition of a third, central fin to the tail.
While from the outside it would appear that this machine is not going to be the most impressive, nor the nicest to fly, the impressive routine put on and Duxford certainly changed that perception. The Schlepp certainly jumped into the air of a very short run before a steep climb and turn straight into display. What followed was 10 minutes or so of breathtaking aerobatics including hesitation rolls, rolls off the top and countless looping manoeuvres.
As part of a show that at times seemed to lose its way the Schlepp was a real shining light and as with the Bronco/Skyvan pair of 2016 it goes to show that with some out of the box thinking on bookings, new life can be brought into the opening Duxford show, which over the past couple of seasons seems to have struggled to get universally good reviews. I have enjoyed the last couple of May shows but I feel the lack of themes have held them back to an extent. However, if the loose themes result in unique bookings such as this, then why not?