I’m not sure I can ever remember a year where it’s taken until August for me to spend the day, or even 10 minutes at Duxford. With the museum being closed since March I couldn’t wait to get back in and even better they had arranged for one of their showcase days (effectively a small airshow as part of a normal museum day) for the first week of opening.
This was significant for two reasons, first of all it was my first visit to Duxford of the year so it was great to get a chance to see all the Duxford regular warbirds, not to mention plenty of familiar faces. Then there was the small matter of the first air display of the year with a traditional crowd, as opposed to the drive-in events at Old Warden.
The museum had that wonderful feeling of anticipation not dissimilar to the pre-show days at Flying Legends. There were a number of static aircraft around the museum site with highlights such as the NHS Spitfire, DH9 and the immaculate Mustang pair from Commanche Fighters. The Mustang’s were positioned outside hangar two perfectly for both up close inspection and photography. I really hope there is a chance to see these aircraft in the air again in the future now they are back at Duxford.
The flying line up itself was also very impressive, though there was plenty of flying alongside. The usual two seater Spitfire experiences were taking place and there was a wonderful visiting contingent of vintage types flying in before the show as well.
Both Duxford based Hawker Fury/Sea Furys were active during the day, with Anglia Aircraft Resotration’s Centaurus powered example performing a short air test alongside two flights from Shaun Patrick’s T20 G-INVN. The latter sadly had to perform a forced landing on the second flight as has been well documented online. Thankfully both occupants walked away.
It was Shaun Patrick’s other fighter, Mustang G-SHWN that started off the days display flying in the hands of Eskil Admal. Familiar to many over recent years as “The Shark” it has been repainted this winter and now wears a wonderful natural metal finish USAF scheme. Eskil flew a typically dynamic and high energy routine in the Mustang and made for a great show opener.
Next up there was the wonderful pairing of F1 racers with the Cassut Racer and Cosmic wind performing together. After a short pairs routine we were treated to a typically polished aerobatic routine from Pete Kynsey in the Cosmic Wind. Another warbird Legend flew the next slot with Peter Kaypurs displaying his Yak-50 in fine style.
Following a lunch break there was a refreshingly graceful aerobatic routine from an Extra 300, before the warbird action continued with the unique pairing of Yale and Harvard preforming together and in solo routines.
A de Havilland tribute followed with the Dragon Rapide leading the DHC Chipmunk and Beaver. Certainly not a combination that has displayed together in recent years to my knowledge.
The show was brought to a wonderful conclusion with the pairing of two early war veterans. Hurricane I R4118 flew alongside Spitfire N3200 in a wonderful pairs routine before Dave Ratcliffe flew a low level routine in the Hurricane and the show was brought to a close by a typically polished routine from John Romain in N3200.
I had hoped to follow this article with a report from the second showcase day on 19th August. Sadly the weather wasn’t as kind and flying was limited so I opted to enjoy it rather than take pictures. Thanks must go to those who did fly, especially to John Dodd for the wonderful low level routine in Mustang Miss Helen in fast deteriorating conditions.
With more showcase days planned later in the year, hopefully we get a chance to see more of the Duxford based fleet in a quieter setting.