Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text  &  Pictures : Bruno Ghils © sbap 2012

Under a blazing sun and scorching heat, what is quite unusual, the Duxford airshow (organized by the Imperial War Museum) was held on September 8th and 9th week-end.
For this year very popular and appreciated show by the British people, the organizer had invited some beautiful aircraft and aerobatic teams.
As everybody knows, Duxford is the place where you will see lots of war birds and this year was not an exception. The amount of war birds was a little bit less as usual but, Spitfire, Hurricane, Mustang, Warhawk, Thunderbolt and  “tante Ju” (took out of the museum reserve before leaving for another museum…indeed, they need some place for the future newcomer) took part of the static display and the air display. The static display contained also most recent kind of aircraft and without any doubt also interesting. To be underlined a DC-3 in the Netherland KLM colors, an Antonov An-2, F-86 “Sabre” and a T-33A “Shooting Star” from Norway (in fact a former RCAF aircraft with a Norwegian color scheme a little bit fancy…waiting to be painted in the correct colors). And as usual at Duxford the different solo display and demonstration teams were presented to the public in the static zone. The airshow gave again the possibility to see in flight the best of British aviation like the Tucano, Hawk, Tornado in the role demo, the unique Avro Vulcan, the amazing Aerostars and the Gnat duo recalling the past time of the Red Arrows when they flew this “toy”. To make a comparison between the Gnat and the Hawk was simply a delight!
The only foreign participation this year was a fly by of four F-15C “Eagle” owned by the 493th Fighter Squadron based at Lakenheath…only one pass, not two!...few seconds and back to base…little bit frustrating!
Sunday, but sadly not on Saturday, the Norvegian air Force had sent two F-16AM (included the solo display with his colorful livery) and a Vampire pair.
The most remarkable participation was certainly the four World War I replicas including a wonderful RE.8 and the famous Albatros both belonging to “the vintage aviation Ltd” from New Zeeland. The planes intended to be displayed in museum (they participate in the end of show season before a tranfert to the Royal Air Force museum of Hendon). Such wonders are made to fly, not gathering dust in a museum…
If it was necessary to determine the “best display”, I would gladly give it to the Flight Lieutenant Bird for the Hawk solo display, equal with the four World War I relic pilots. A proof that once again the September edition of Duxford airshow was nicely varied. But the real special price as to be awarded, not to a pilot, but well to the firefighters present at Duxford for their efficiency intervention during an incident. Their professionalism has permitted to avoid a worse and fatal issue when a DH.89 (G-AIYR) coughs fire at start up and by the same occasion save a historic aircraft.
As conclusion: A great airshow with nostalgia (Gnat duo), action (Hawk solo display), emotion (RE.8), Frustration (F-15C), colorful (Aerostars) and little bit fear (DH.89)…Duxford like I love it!

The Static Display

De Havilland Canada DHC-1 "Chipmunk" RAF Tucano
Tucano solo display 2012
So british Folland Gnat T.1 "Red Arrows"
The past and the present
North American T-28 B "Trojan
RAF Hawk
T-bird in fancy Norwegian colors
Antonov An-2
North American F-86 "Sabre"
Bearcat Thunderboldt
Tante Ju will leave Duxford soon... RE.8 engine
De Havilland DH.89 "Dragon Rapide" Wonderful and amazing Albatros
Douglas C-47A De Havilland DH.82 "Tiger Moth"
Close up on the Messerschmitt alia Buchon KLM Douglas DC-3
DH.89 "DRAGON RAPIDE"  HG691 (G-AIYR) from « Classic Wings », the sad story...

On Saturday, we were involuntary eyewitness of an unplanned demonstration when the well-known DH.89 coughs fire. Traditionally, before the airshow, the plane makes couples of sightseeing flights in the area and after a rotation at engine 2 ignitions for the next flight a fire broke out. Was it a flashback, a fuel problems or the extreme heat this day, the investigations will unveil this. Fortunately and thanks to the fast and professional intervention of the fire fighters no one was injured during the incident. The right lower wing is seriously damaged but the reparations are possible and the plane will fly back. Strangely, this plane was also damaged in the same circumstance in July 2005. This DH.89 is a former Royal Air Force aircraft. Owned by different pilot and organizations, the plane was finally acquired by “classic wings” and based at Duxford. The actual livery is one the plane had during his military career. The worst situation could be avoided thanks to the “cool blood” so British of the emergency services. Few minutes later the plane was towed to the side, the apron cleaned and the show could continue. That’s also Duxford!

The damages
Focus on Flight Lieutenant Bird, Hawk Solo Display
The Air Display
Frustration, the Mc Donnell Douglas F-15C from Lakenheath
Tornado role demo
"Sally B" in action
Always a star, the Avro Vulcan
Diamond Jubilee livery for the Tucano solo display
Spitfire Mk I, remember the Battle of Britain
Warhawk Thunderboldt
The C-47A "Dakota" like a day of June 1944
Mustang, a horse in the sky
Swordfish also nicknamed "string bag"
RAF Seaking SAR demo Yellow trainer in blue sky
The "Fennec" in action
Amazing Russian biplane
Biplane family Catalina, the eye of the pacific
Nostalgia...the Gnat duo
Back to the "Reds" in the 60's
Emotion...the RE.8 More than 90 years ago...
Albatros and Nieuport, the enemy of the past
Aerostars, elegance in British skies Pilot is gone, rendez-vous to the next autumn airshow

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