As has been covered across the past few days of posts, 2018 has been a great year both for new additions to the circuit and the excellent weather we were lucky to have. As we have arrived at the final day of 2018, I thought it was a good time to take a look forward to some of the great events and restorations we can look forward to over the next 12 months.
To start with, lets take a brief look at some of the restorations that will hopefully be coming to completion/making debut displays in the next year:
First World War:
Once again, as with almost every year since 2014, 2019 looks set to feature a number of welcome additions to the already impressive collection of First World War types airworthy in this country.
Arguably one of the most highly anticipated restorations around the world right now is the Historic Aircraft Collection’s DH9. This airframe has been the subject of restoration for years now and in the last few months has come tantalizingly close to flight, even so far as a tail up taxy run at Duxford a month or so back. Engine runs and taxy trials have continued since so with any luck we may see this aeroplane take to the skies in the next few months. I for one will certainly be there for its first public display, whenever that may be.
Another welcome return/new arrival is The Vintage Aviator built Albatros D.Va G-WAHT that arrived at Old Warden back in September. Operated by The WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust, this machine is a replacement for the trust’s previous example that was damaged in a forced landing back in 2016. The Albatros has carried out a number of taxy runs and engine runs (including a demonstration for the Patrons of the Trust in November) but is yet to fly. This should be another machine to look forward to in the skies above the UK as it will spend time between Old Warden and the trust’s main base at Stow Maries. Though a little longer term it is also hoped that the Albatros will be joined by a Fokker DVII potentially as soon as the middle of next season. That will provide the UK with two examples of the most iconic German aircraft of the conflict.
Once again looking to Old Warden, there is the exciting prospect of a second SE5a joining the displays next season. This replica example, previously operated by the Memorial Flight in France, has already flown in November of this year and it has been confirmed that it will remain based at Old Warden for next season and will be performing at Shuttleworth Collection airshows. The prospect of two SE5as together at Old Warden really is something to look forward to.
Wrapping up the WW1 prospects nicely is the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter project based in Scotland. The project was featured in October’s Warbird People post and is set to take to the air for the first time next year. Time will tell whether there will be a chance for enthusiasts south of the border to enjoy this work of art but I will certainly be making every effort to see this missing link (in terms of UK airworthy examples) in the Sopwith story in the air.
Having spent what seems like an age being shuffled around the Duxford hangars, only to be occasionally revived for near airshow appearances, 2019 looks to finally be the year that the Duxford based Yale joins the airshow circuit.
Since its sale earlier this year the airframe has been very active at Duxford and is already confirmed for an appearance at Abingdon in May. An unusual type that will be a welcome addition to the UK airshow scene.
Second World War:
In this wonderful era we live in there hardly seems to be a month go by without another aircraft from the second world war being resurrected. 2019 will hopefully be no different, with some great prospects having already flown with limited public appearances and a few other projects in the pipeline.
Out of those airframes that have already flown, the most exciting is arguably the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Westland Lysander. This airframe flew back in August and following an extensive test flying program made its static debut at the Goodwood Revival in September. As yet the Lysander has made no public flying appearance so this will hopefully be a treat to enjoy early in 2019, with any luck alongside the Shuttleworth Collection example.
Another new restoration that has only made limited appearances is Hurricane G-HRLI/V7947, which flew again this year ahead of a public debut at Duxford in September. Owing to technical problems on the second day the Hurricane only performed on the Saturday and as part of a formation, rather than as a singleton. Therefore I feel that this airframe is yet to make its real debut so I look forward to hopefully seeing it take centre stage in the New Year.
Following the impressive pace of Buchons returning to flight across 2018, it is expected that we will be in for another one or two examples of the Spanish fighter over the next year or so. It will be great to have further additions to the growing population of this unsung fighter.
There are, unsurprisingly a number of Spitfires currently in the process of being rebuilt, with a notable number at Biggin Hill. It is likely that two seater MJ772 will return to the skies again in 2019. I would also hope that 2019 might see the Messerschmitt 109E “White 14” join the display circuit, which would certainly be a significant highlight.
In an era where classic jets are seemingly a dying breed, it is encouraging to see that work is still continuing to bring these old jets to life and display to UK audiences. As highlighted at JetFest at North Weald back in September, 2019 may well see the welcome addition of the Gnat F1 to the airshow season. This would represent the most significant addition to the classic jet scene since the recent reduction in active jets began.
A little further from home there is also the exciting prospect of Frederic Akary’s F-86 Sabre which is in the process of being shipped across from the states. The prospect of a European based Sabre again, some five years after Golden Apple’s example departed, is most certainly welcome.
On the rotary wing side of things, the Navy Wings Westland Wessex has been going through a series of ground runs as its journey towards flight continues. Hopefully this aircraft will be able to join its Whirlwind stablemate at airshows in the New Year.
What about the shows?
It’s all well and good having these new types join the circuit but what about the events they will be attending. Well, 2019 looks to see the usual events return and vintage aviation events such as Flying Legends and Old Warden shows will certainly be strengthened with this remarkable array of new restorations. With next year marking 75 years since the D-Day landings, it is no surprise that a number of events will be featuring this as a key theme. La Ferté-Alais and Flying Legends have already announced their events will be featuring D-Day as a main theme. There is also set to be the impressive spectacle laid on by the “Daks over Normandy” organisation that will see in the region of 30 Dakotas descend on Duxford before departing to France for a week of celebrations to mark the historic anniversary.
That will not be the only mass gathering however, there will also be an event to mark 70 years since the Berlin Airlift. This will see many of the aircraft taking part in the Normandy event alongside a JU52 and a pair of DC4s which should make for quite an impressive sight over the historic sites of Berlin. As things stand there should be a Warbird Tails report for Berlin as I am hoping to be there for the main weekend of activities in June next year.
I have only really scratched the surface of what we can hope to enjoy over the next 12 months and I sure there are plenty of restorations and events that have been missed out from this post. Rest assured that as I become aware of any others that deserve time in the spotlight, they will most certainly get the time.
All that’s left to say is thank you once again to those reading this site, I hope 2018 has been good to you and wish you all the best in 2019.