The last weekend of July saw the return of a full airshow weekend to Duxford. This show had a smaller line up that might typically be expected at a big Duxford show but it was welcome to see Duxford back in action for a first show weekend since 2019.
A really highpoint of the flying display was a trio of US fighters flying in a combination of airframes that hasn’t been seen before at a Duxford show. The formation was led by P-47D Thunderbolt “Nellie B” making it’s second public appearance since 2019 (having flown at the June flying day the previous month). Joining the Thunderbolt was it’s Ultimate Fighters stablemate TF-51D “Contrary Mary”. These two airframes are a familiar sight together other as part of the Ultimate Fighters team or delivering their polished pairs aerobatic routine.
Completing the line up was an airframe that has been at Duxford on and off now since Flying Legends 2018. Commanche Fighters Hun Hunter/Texas was flown in the show and this marked the first time the aircraft had displayed outside of the Heritage Flight at 2018s Flying Legends and Royal International Air Tattoo. Commanche fighters operate two Mustangs in the UK (P-51B Berlin Express being the other airframe) and performances at airshows have been few and far between for the pair since 2018. It was therefore very welcome to see Hun Hunter in the air again flying at this show. Hopefully 2022 will see the long awaited public debut in the UK for Berlin Express.
The three fighters took to the air and flew in a tight vic formation for an extended routine of close formation flying before another special moment.
In another welcome nod to airshows past, all three fighters joined B-17 Sally B for a couple of passes playing the “little friends” role that used to be a regular favourite at shows in the past. The echelon break into the into the circuit before Sally B started a solo display was wonderful.
While it was a different display to some of the more aerobatic routines we have seen over the years it was a real season highpoint to see these three wonderful American machines in the air together.