Air Show season at Duxford started as always with the Spring Air show and
this time commemorating the 70th anniversary of the United States Army Air
Forces’ (‘USAAF’) arrival at Duxford; “Remembering the Mighty Eight”!
It was in April 1943 that the 78th Fighter Group of the
US 8th Army Air Force landed at Duxford.
This was the red line through the show with the centrepiece or pièce de
résistance, the Eagle Squadron.
The Eagle Squadron was formed in the early stages of war in 1940 with
Americans volunteering to join the war theatre in Europe, before America
themself got dragged into War with the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on
December 7th, 1941.
The Eagle Squadron was presented by a 4-ship formation;
- Republic P-47 Thunderbolt “Snafu” of
“The Fighter Collection” (TFC) piloted by Steve Hinton;
- North American P-51C Mustang “Princess
Elisabeth” of “Comanch Warbird” specially transported over from the US,
piloted by Dan Friedkin;
- Hawker Hurricane Mk.X “AE977” - ‘P3886’,
owned by Peter Monk piloted by Paul Bonhomme;
- Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a “AR213” -
‘P7308’ of the “Aircraft Restoration Company” (ARC) piloted by Ed Shipley.
They opened the show with some beautifull 4-ship
formation fly-by’s after which they split up in a 2 times 2-ship
formation; the P-47G with the P-51C and the Spitfire with
The P-47’s and P-51’s were called “Little Friends” during the
bombardements of Germany because of their long-range capabilities
defending the hugh bomber formations; B-17G “Sally B” could not be missed
and she took off to join up with the Eagle Squadron for some fly-by’s in
formation. A fantastic sight and sound!
Besides legends in the sky, we were able to meet with a legend on the
ground, who had flown the legends in the sky; tripple Ace Colonel Bud
Anderson. He flew with the 357th Fighter Group on the P-51 Mustang
(amongst the famous “Old Crow”) out of RAF Leiston. He did 2 tours of
combat, survived 116 missions and shot down 16 ½ enemy aircraft. He has
deserved his spot in the Aviation Hall of Fame which he received in 2008.
We were treated near the end of show with the cherry on the cake; The
Eagle Squadron in formation with the 9-ship Red Arrows. They only did one
fly-by led by the slowest airplane of the pack; the Hurricane but what a
sight; a real tribute to the Mighty Eight and the Eagle Squadron.
The Eagle Squadron broke off and landed after which the Red Arrows showed
ones more that they are the best of British as they say but also the best
of Europe and even beyond. It was their first show to the home crowd of
the 2013 season.
Not speaking on the other displays would really not be doing them any
justice since they all performed a fantastic show of aerobatics, close
formations or simply showing their grace in the sky!
Let the pictures speak for itself!
It was a fantastic weekend close to 20° and a lot fo sunshine. You had to
be there to believe it!
You can find more information on the upcoming events at IWM Duxford on
their website: http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford.
Our sincere thanks to the organisation and the cooperation of Esther
Blaine and her team providing us lots of information, the opportunity to
take pictures of the flight line and to meet Bud Anderson.