Airshow Moments 2019 6 -DH9 Debut

Carrying on the Flying Legends theme now with a look at another unique moment from that show. For the first time in close to 100 years the remarkable sound and sight of an Airco DH9 Bomber took to the air over Duxford.


This restoration has been almost a legend over the past five or six years or so, appearing and disappearing from participation lists at both Duxford and Old Warden. Excitement built further when the airframe arrived for final assembly at Duxford in the summer of 2017 but it would be a further two years before it would fly again for the first time.

DH9 Topside

That momentous occasion came in May 2019 and the first public display was scheduled for Flying Legends (after a planned evening event was sadly cancelled). Not having yet had the pleasure of reading test pilot Dodge Bailey’s account of flying this unique machine, I assumed that it would have very marginal weather limits and so was slightly dismayed when, in low wind conditions, the DH9 could not start ahead of its slot, adding to the ongoing drama of just missing out on this wonderful machine. We were treated to in depth commentary from Guy Black on restoring this airframe though, which softened the blow.

DH9 Best

Luckily, conditions on the Sunday, though breezier, were within the limits of the airframe and the engine started and I watched in awe as this aircraft took to the sky. It would be easy for an aeroplane such as this to simply parade around at low speed and still capture the imagination, if possibly not live up to the build up. However, what actually happened was a typically graceful Dodge Bailey display with flowing wingovers combined with low passes down the runway.

DH9 Head On

The sound of the DH9 is another great surprise. Many of the challenges faced in this rebuild cantered on getting the engine running again and it certainly sounds wonderful. It has much more of the deep growl associated with German types of the conflict.

DH9 Side

It was fitting that Flying Legends got to further add to its “firsts” with the public debut of this unique machine and I hope to see the DH9 fly many, many more times in the future.

One thought on “Airshow Moments 2019 6 -DH9 Debut

  1. shortfinals says:

    I would strongly suggest that Guy Black’s book on this restoration be on every aviation fan’s gift list this year. Oh, and Guy’s next DH type? A Mosquito for The People’s Mosquito ! (An organisation of which I have the great honour to be a Director of) Something else to put on your wish list…a gift subscription to the TPM Club – a bargain at only £25


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