Happy New Year All!
After an extended absence since my Advent posts its good to be back online and I once again aim to bring regular content throughout the offseason before the inevitable rush of shows slows things down again in the summer. 2020 looks to be a very special year and I already have some exciting trips pencilled in.
Over the next few weeks I’ll largely be focusing on finishing off the Smithsonian posts and airshow moments from last year before hopefully reviving the Warbird People section of this site through February and March.
But before all that, time for my traditional airshow top 5. 2019 was a great season as the previous airshow moments have shown and this post summarises my five most impressive events.
Words really don’t do this show justice, classic jets, rare piston engined fighters and everything in-between set in the most surreal untouched, cold war setting. There were countless highlights crammed into the flying program including a sublime T-33 display, my first Hunter display in a number of years. This also saw the first appearance out of Belgium of the wonderful Iraqui ISS Fury and a graceful interwar trio of Hurricane, Hawk 75 and Morane 406. Check out the linked review for more of the great sights on show.
I’ve been waiting many, many years to make the effort to go out to this remarkable show and I am so so glad I finally went. Though much more than a simple airshow, it was quite a remarkable event. Stunning scenery, relentless heat and a wonderful grass runway which played host to numerous rare machines across the weekend. From an impressive ultimate fighters pairing of P-47 and Buchon, through to Michael Carlson effortlessly aerobatting his Fokker DR1 Triplane. This event is so special and the only shame is that it only comes once every three years!
Year on year, Flying Legends earns its place in my personal top 5. Regardless of line up, flying or even weather, it is a weekend like no other. The anticipation, build up on pre-show days and the joy of watching those final few balbo participants return to earth is like nothing else on earth. This year saw plenty of special performances, with the exciting debut of the Ultimate Fighters Team and the debut of the Historic Aircraft Collection’s DH9. This show also saw the debut of a pairs joker routine, with Nick Grey and Richard Grace delivering a fine finale in the Fury II and Grumman Bearcat.
4. Shuttleworth Collection Military Pageant – Old Warden
As in 2018, the Shuttleworth Collection’s July event sticks in the memory. Largely due to the remarkable gathering of seven airworthy Hurricanes in the air together for the first time since the type was in the service. This show also saw another appearance from the P-47 Thunderbolt at the airfield complete with the types first landing at Old Warden.
After a sadly weather effected show in 2018 led to the majority of an incredible line up being unable to be shown, 2019 was blessed with superb conditions. This years show built on the impressive line up planned for 2018 and then some. Family friendly acts and stunning aerobatics were well delivered at the show but the warbirds was where things really shone. Highlights included the P-47 and Buchon Pair, a rare appearance from the Duxford Based Yale and an equally rare away performance for the Shuttleworth Collection de Havilland Comet.
Close runners up…
It’s always hard to compile this top 5 each year and I certainly could have included the Duxford September show (though I try to limit myself to one show from that venue) and La Ferté was also great, if weather effected.
I am certainly looking forward to 2020 and wish you all a great, warbird filled New Year!