Duxford Summer Airshow 2021

Yesterday’s “Airshow Moments” post, focusing on the USAAF segment of this event reminded me that I was yet to publish my report of Duxford’s return to a full airshow weekend. Since 2019 Duxford had only hosted a wide array of excellent showcase/flying days, which at times approach full blown airshows, albeit without the addition of stalls and many visiting machines.

It was great to be back at Duxford on a full show weekend, but you would be forgiven for wondering if they’re could have been more in the line up. The flightline was also a little misleading in this regard, with a large number of based warbirds brought out for static display only, which was a shame.

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Nonetheless, there were some welcome visiting machines in many cases making some of their first appearances at public events since 2019. As it becoming something of Duxford tradition, flying got underway with the Tiger 9 team, followed, in a striking transition, by the Royal Air Force Typhoon display team. This year has seen a distinctive “special” scheme applied to the display jet which certainly helps it stand out more than the typical grey jet. After 18 months or so without many fast jet displays it was great to enjoy the sight and sound of the Typhoon over Duxford.

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There was more jet action later in the day with the Strikemaster pair. This really marked the first classic jet display I can remember enjoying since 2019 and it felt really fresh to see these two classic machines flying aerobatics together, compete with smoke systems.

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The first warbird slot of the day was the impressive USAAF segment, which saw the Thunderbolt fly alongside two Mustangs (Contrary Mary and Hun Hunter/Texas). The three fighters briefly flew alongside Sally B before the bomber carried out it’s own solo display. It was great also to see the Fighter Collection’s Wildcat displaying in the classic segment with the Catalina we have come to enjoy. The contrast of high energy low level aerobatic from the fighter and sweeping passes from the Catalina. It was also a bit of reminder of what could have been, to see a Fighter Collection solo at Duxford in July, with the absence of Flying Legends (fingers crossed for Sywell 2022 maybe!).

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The Warbird Flying was brought to a close with 5 Spitfires across the afternoon. The three Duxford based Spitfire Is flew a wonderful extended sequence of formation and tailchase routines before two of Duxford’s most famous machines took to the air. Spitfire MH434 has long been a popular and famous sight over Cambridgeshire and in the last 18 months or so Spitfire XI PL983 has gained new fame in it’s important role of the NHS Spitfire. These two wonderful machines, in the hands of Steve Jones and John Romain flew some incredible close formation aerobatics before a solo display followed (PL983 on the Saturday and MH434 on the Sunday).

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The show was closed in fine style by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.

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While in some ways this show marked a subdued return for Duxford, looking back in the middle of winter, it was a very welcome afternoon of flying and a good step forward for Duxford which clearly returned to usual service with the excellent September show.

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