The Duxford Air Show took place on Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th September with just under 25,000 people in attendance over the weekend, however many more people attended the show on Saturday. This was most likely because the Red Arrows and the RAF Typhoon displayed Saturday only. These acts were replaced on Sunday by the Folland Gnat Pair and the Aerostars in their Yak 50s.
This air show generally includes a good mixture of jets, display teams, and of course warbirds. Themes included the 'Centenery of Naval Aviation', and the '70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War'.
Starting the show at about 1.55pm was a flypast from a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker which is based at nearby RAF Mildenhall. The KC-135 is the only jet specifically designed for air-to-air refuelling and has been serving with the USAF since 1957 and could still be in service in 2040 before reaching lifetime flying hour limits.
Both days saw the Percival Mew Gull and Miles Speed Hawk VI celebrating the heyday of vintage air racing as they raced each other in a circuit around Duxford airfield.
Hawk Speed VI
Duxford also held a vintage aerobatic contest which included the Pitts S-1S Special (G-SWON), Bucker Jungmann (G-BSAJ) flown by Brian Smith, Zlin 526 (G-BLMA) flown by Carl Schofield, and Yak-18 flown by Mark Jefferies. The commentator and judge for the vintage aerobatic contest was Pete Jarvis who won the Wright Jubilee Aerobatic Trophy in 1964 and 1965. The UK hosted the World Aerobatics Championships this month at Silverstone which was the first time in over 20 years. Duxford decided to host its own vintage aerobatic contest, featuring aircraft from the '60s and '70s.
A welcome addition to the show was the colourful Hawker Hunter F4, 'Miss Demeanour', which made an impressive take-off, and display, before flying in formation with the equally impressive North American F-86A Sabre on Sunday.
The Royal Air Force was represented by the Typhoon on Saturday and the Hawk T1 on both days. Also the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) displayed their Lancaster, Spitfire, and Hurricane. Unfortunately, the Chinook which was scheduled to display had to cancel.
Another highlight of the display had to be the B-17 Flying Fortress, 'Sally B', which has recently taken to the air again after more engine problems. Thanks to the B-17, 'Liberty Belle', and Don Brooks for supplying a newly overhauled engine, Sally B was able to take off on a test flight on 15th August 2009 , and take part in this display.
Other warbirds taking part in the display included The Fighter Collection's, P51TF Mustang, Aircraft Restoration Company'sHarvard T6, Kennett Aviation'sAD4 Skyraider, and Historic Aircraft Collection'sHurricane. It was also good to see the Demons DisplaysHawker Demon (G-BTVE K8203) on Sunday which has recently been restored to airworthy condition following an 18 year restoration. This aircraft is the first Hawker Demon to fly for nearly 70 years.
On Saturday, the Hawker Demon flew in formation with Historic Aircraft Collection'sHawker Hurricane Mk XIIa (G-HURI Z5140).
The display also included Spitfire Limited'sHispano HA-1112 MIL 'Buchon' (G-BWUE) which is essentially an ex-German Me-109 airframe with a Rolls Royce Merlin engine. This Buchon was built in 1959 and served with the Spanish Air Force before being purchased along with 26 others for the Battle of Britain film in 1968 where it represented a Messerschmitt Bf109E. Soon after the Buchon started displaying, four Spitfires took off in hot pursuit.
The Belgian Air Force brought along their Agusta 109BA which is a twin-engined multi-purpose helicopter. This versatile helicopter has a maximum speed of 154 kts and is used in the anti-tank, liason, and light transport roles.
B-17 Sally B
Duxford's next and last air show of the season is the Autumn Air Show which takes place on 11th October 2009. It will feature superb modern and historic aircraft in an array of aerobatic and stunning displays. For more information on the Duxford Autumn Air Show then visit the Imperial War Museum Duxford website.