Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show (21st-22nd September 2019)
The 'Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show' took place on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2019.
As usual, there is plenty to see and do on the ground at this air show before the air display starts in the afternoon, with the extensive museum, flightline walk and stalls. For this show Duxford was transformed into a film set again and you were also able to watch historic amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) film set at RAF Duxford, have a vintage makeover with aviation-themed costumes to help visitors look the part in IWM Duxford's film set, and have a look in the Land Warfare Hall at the costume and props worn by American soldiers which were originally costumes in Spielberg's D-Day classic 'Saving Private Ryan', and also the Tiger Tank featured in the film.
The air display featured a number of interesting aircraft this year as well as plenty of Spitfires, Hurricanes and Buchons which are to be expected for a 'Battle of Britain' show.
The air display on Saturday saw blue skies and warm sunny weather but unfortunately this changed on Sunday which had plenty of cloud and rain which meant that some display items had to be cancelled.
The display featured five Hurricanes and twenty two Spitfires if you count the BBMF Hurricane (LF363) and BBMF Spitfire (PM631). Unfortunately the BBMF Lancaster was unable to fly on Saturday as it had a technical problem but was able to fly on Sunday.
There were four Buchons which are license-built versions of the Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 developed in Spain during and after World War II and four Mustangs. The Mustangs included P-51D Mustang 44-73877 'Sharkmouth' which damaged its starboard wingtip during a heavy landing at Le Touquet airport in France earlier this month so it was great to see her flying again.
One of the displays featured a Mercury Formation which included the Bristol Blenheim, Gloster Gladiator and two Lysanders which are all powered by the Bristol Mercury air-cooled radial engine. It was good to see two Lysanders with V9312 having her post restoration flight on 28th August 2018.
An interesting participant in the flying display was the Vultee BT-13 Valiant which was used as a primary trainer during the Second World War for the US Army Air Corps and was nicknamed 'Vultee Vibrator' by student pilots who flew it. This aircraft is owned by 'Early Birds Foundation' and based in the Netherlands.
Another interesting display item was the North American NA-64 Yale which was an advanced trainer aircraft that was built for the French forces during the WW2 but before France surrendered to the Germans any undelivered aircraft were bought up by the British Purchasing Commission and transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan between August and September 1940. Germany also captured a few which they used for all types of flight training, from basic flying to advanced fighter tactics.
Also displaying were the Harvards :- Harvard Mk.IV 'Taz' & Noorduyn Harvard Mk.IV (G-CORS) trainer aircraft.
Three Sea Furys also took to the skies:- Duxford based Hawker Sea Fury T.20 (WG655), Navy Wings Hawker Sea Fury T.20 and Air Leasing Ltd's Hawker Fury Mk.II (G-CBEL) which is in the colours of one of Hawker's Sea Fury prototypes.
Two Yakovlev aircraft also featured in the flying display with a Yakolev Yak 3 (G-OLEG) and a Yakolev Yak 9 (HB-RYA). These were Soviet fighters during WW2 with the Yak 3 being relatively small & light with a high power-to-weight ratio giving it excellent performance and the Yak 9 being a very capable air superiority fighter which was able to take on the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and Messerschmitt Bf 109G fighters and later was also used also by the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War.
The 'Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron' brought along their superb T-33 Silver Star and their MiG-15UTI 'Red 18' aircraft which added some jet noise to the display.
The B-17G Flying Fortress 'Sally B', which is the last flying B-17 in Europe, flew alongside P-47D Thunderbolt 'Nellie' (G-THUN). Thunderbolts of the USAAF 78th Fighter Group flew from RAF Duxford in support of the D-Day invasions in June 1944.
The Fighter Collection displayed their Wildcat FM2, F8F Bearcat and Corsair FG-1D and the Great War Display Team brought along their WW1 replica aircraft.
Another interesting aircraft in the display was a De Havilland DH-9 (E8894). The DH-9 was a British single-engined biplane bomber developed and deployed during the First World War. This particular aircraft made its maiden, post-restoration flight at Duxford on the 13th May 2019, piloted by Dodge Bailey. This DH9 is one of two that can be seen at IWM Duxford and the only flying First World War bomber in the world.
The display also featured a massed flypast of Spitfires in diamond formation as well as a superb solo display from Spitfire MH434, in tribute to legendary display pilot Mark Hanna.
Thanks to the 'Imperial War Museum Duxford' for putting on another great airshow.