As those of us in the South East head back into what is seemingly Lockdown 3 (or is Lockdown 2 still….) I noticed I’d never really shared many posts or photos from the transition out of Lockdown 1 back in June/July as we saw the world come back to life a little.
Most of my July and August postings were (quite rightly) focused on the wonderful drive-in shows at Old Warden and the Duxford showcase days.
The return to a level of Warbird normality started much earlier though. Early June saw the return of two seat Spitfire operations, with the Biggin Hill machines soon becoming a common sight overhead here in Kent again. Soon enough Aero Legends announced they would be returning to Headcorn, which gave me my first close up Merlin experience of the year.
As the next weeks went on, it was announced that museum’s could open again from the 4th July. This was fantastic news and knowing that Old Warden had plenty of open spaces (and having not been since July the year before) it was the first choice for the first trip out of Kent since March. This was the first day of the museum hangars being open since lockdown and it was very well organised. Clearly marked one way systems and regular hand sanitiser points made for a comfortable visit. Walking back into the WWI hangar to that unique atmosphere felt like coming home.
Though not yet open, the journey home was broken up with a brief stop across the airfield from Duxford, just to take a look having at that stage not visited at all in 2020.
The following weekend was set to be very strange indeed. Flying Legends weekend, without Flying Legends. I’ve been to at least a day of every Flying Legends since 2000 (maybe even before) so missing it was going to be very strange (though I appreciate a small loss in the scheme of things). With Old Warden still open and an OK forecast, I thought even though the museum wasn’t open it would be nice to head up to Duxford, if nothing else than to say I saw it on ‘Legends weekend.
Arriving early morning we were treated to a few flights from based aircraft. Hurricane R4118 departed early on in our visit, before being followed by Spitfire PV202 carrying out circuits. After a bit of waiting around the main event of the day took to the sky, with the Catilina getting airborne for a local flight and practice display (my first warbird display of 2020). Rather fitting on that most special of weekends.
The next weekend would see the first Old Warden drive in show take place and I won’t go on about how fantastic that was again! By the time August came around Duxford had re-opened and had it’s first showcase day and for a few months, everything felt a bit more normal.
As I write this of course the tables have turned and following the Christmas break the Shuttleworth hangars will be closed and Duxford will be open. Hopefully as the New Year dawns it won’t be long before a similar pattern follows and I can get out to some museums again.
Until then, it’s time for re-watching old airshow videos, reviewing photos taken this year and hopefully keeping readers entertained with this site!