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Where? Duxford - UK
...for the very first time
After all the military airshows that I have attend this year so far I decided that it was time for a change, I decided to take a step back in time. I was looking for some warbirds. In Europe you do not have to search a lot, there is only o n e place to go: Duxford.
With its Flying Legends airshow, organized by "The Fighter Collection" and the "Imperial War Museum".
So I booked a flight and rental car and off I went. The drive to Duxford does not take along time from Stansted, the only thing I had to pay attention was not to become a ghostdriver after the first roundabaout…
2 Highlights as a Surprise
I already arrived at Duxford on Friday afternoon and was really astonishedabout how much the IWM has changed since I have been there for the last time, about 6 years ago. Shortly afterwards I saw the first warbirds: a Mustang, a B-25, a … ??? What? A P-39 Airacobra…??? Never knew that a flying example existed in Europe. Of course I did not know as this example arrived only some days before the show and now belongs to the TFC after a long restauration in Chino, California. The slim warbird was one of the highlights of the show. After taking some photos of that highlight I turned around and found another rare warbird that was just unloaded from a container: a, errrrm…, well, some kind of Polikarpov fighter. Discussion at the campingsite in the evening revealed it as a Polikarpov I-15bis, the only flying example of this type in the world, based in Norfolk, Virginia.
The showdays in Duxford are also a bit different. You do not have a static display as you will find it elsewhere. If you are looking for static aircraft you can have a look around in the museum. All the warbirds are parked on the flightline as they will all be presented in the air. An impressive line-up of more than 30 fighters and bombers was really worth the 3 pounds extra to take the flightline walk in the morning. Doing the walk you can step a bit closer to the aircraft and take some nice photos of the aircraft and the men and women walking in adequate uniforms. The jazz music that is in the air all the morning just adds the extra touch to step back 60 years in time.
The Flight Display
Finally at 2pm the flight display started. 7 Spitfires hurled through the air and performed, at least for me, the most stunning display with good low passes for the crowd. Than for the next three hours there an uninterrupted sound of piston engines was in the air. If you were standing at the right place along the crowdline the take-offs passed directly over you and you couldeven feel the massive power that keeps all the metal in the air. I think that my photos will describe the rest of the flight programm a lot better than what I could write now. Enjoy them and if you should go to Duxford next year as well remember to put your camera away for the mass fly-by called "Balbo" with all the planes and bombers of the flightline and listen to the uncomparable sound over Cambridgeshire!!
… and for sure it has not been for the last time!!
P-39 Airacobra & P-40
A-1 Skyraider & P-47 Thunderbolt
Avenger, Gladiator & Nimrod
B-25 & B-17 Flying Fortress
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Published: 16 April 2007