Monday, 15 September 2014

14/7/2013 Flying Legends air display at Duxford

Glorious summer weather for the second weekend running, and a nice day for a motorcycle trip. So I find myself heading out into Cambridgeshire for an air display at Duxford. This is exactly the sort of thing I bought the bike for, although it comes in handy for going to some gigs, and going to work has never been so much fun! There is no better way to get to an event like this - apart from flying in obviously. But this would actually be quicker going direct - and no queuing to get in or out either, unlike for the car drivers. And even if I was in a mega-expensive Ferrari or whatever it wouldn't be a quick or as much fun as a superbike - it's the nearest you can get to flying without leaving the ground. London to near Cambridge in under an hour - you aren't going to do it any other way. Shit - I'm starting to sound like some two-wheeled Jeremy Clarkson!

This particular air display has a theme - nothing after the late 1940's and no jets. There are some 1930's biplanes from Britain and Germany, but most of the other aircraft taking part are from the following decade.

 The French are represented with this Morane, although it's in Swiss markings.

Also on the French theme is this very rare Curtis Hawk 75.

The Germans are well represented too, although strictly speaking these Hispano Buchons are Spanish built versions of the Bf109.
3 German aircraft in this picture, but you'd be hard pressed to recognise the Fiesler Storch in the air.

I didn't get any pictures, but also present were a Junkers 52, Me108, and a Bücker Jungman.

The Russians had a Yak 3 and Yak 9
Also a Yak 11 and later Yak 50s in the Aerostars  formation display team.

No air display is complete without a Spitfire - this a a very rare Mk1.

The evolution of the Spitfire is well illustrated with this later MkXIV. There were actually six or seven Spitfires flying at this event, as well as two Hurricanes.

From the other side of the Atlantic is this very rare P-51C Mustang. There were five P-51s flying today in total.

Another rare aircraft is this P-47C Thunderbolt.

If you were unlucky enough to find yourself in the drink you might get rescued by one of these Catalinas - ones like this actually used to fly from this airfield on Air Sea Rescue missions.

One of the things I love about this event is the chance to sometimes get close enough to these vintage to be able to actually touch them - after the air display is over and people are leaving some of the aircraft that are based at this airfield are towed back through the barriers into their hangers. This is what's happening to the Gloster Gladiator above.

It's always interesting to have a look round inside the hangers afterwards and things on the museum side are constantly changing. It's fascinating to watch how things have progesssed since my last visit in the restoration hangers as well - both for the museum and the aircraft that are being restored to fly again. There is so much to see I could happily spend a whole day here even if there wasn't an air display on.

It was a wonderful day out in the sun and the weather really couldn't have been better. It's good to get out of town for a while and the atmosphere at events like this is always good. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been to something like this what effect it can have - it's one of the few things that can actually get me quite emotional and it's not easy to explain why - I'm not even entirely sure myself. 

If you are driving it's good have have a wander round the museum and flying hangers to kill some time and let the crowds leave so you don't have to queue to get off the site - no queuing if you are on a motorcycle though! Unlike probably everyone who went to this event on four wheels - I thoroughly enjoyed my journey home too! And got home a lot quicker too...

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