Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Marc Arys - Translation: Marc Arys  © sbap 2016

In September the Imperial War Museum at Duxford presented its 3rd and last airshow of the 2016 season. And what a show it was !
This show, named "Meet the Fighters", gathered a lot of fighters but also some heavier stuff and aerobatic teams. But this show could have been called "Meet the Fighter" (without the 's')…
Indeed, the finale previous to the Red Arrows alone was worth the journey to the mythical airfield of Duxford, which is part of the histroy of the second World War.
Let us start with this spectacular finale made up of 14 Spitfires, ranging from the Mk Ia from the battle of Britain to the Mk XVIII, who knew her glory days with the RAF in the after-war period. After a taxi to the holding point, we witnessed the take-offs of these magnificent metallic birds under the characteristic roar of their 'Merlin' and 'Griffon' engines. A few minutes later the 14 airplanes were together and we were gratified with 3 colorful formation fly-by's thanks to their various color schemes. Followed by a break in boxes of 2 x 4 and 2 x3 airplanes to offer a marvelous show with Spitfires flying all over the skies, giving us a hard to time trying to follow all of them. In short, a breathtaking performance ended by the landing of these beautiful planes.
Alas ! This was only possible on Sunday as the Saturday weather let a great deal of visitors down. Constant and at times heavy rain showers forced the organizers to cancel a great number of presentations or allow only some taxi runs so the visitors still could have a look at the airplanes.

But let us go back to the Sunday show under beautiful summery skies giving the visitors a flying panel ranging from ancient planes from the first World War, through the Cold War period and the between the Wars period, onto the second World War.
To depict the conflict from 1914 to 1918, the "Great War display team" left his fumed and anti-aircraft exploding marks in the skies of Duxford, followed by the Bristol Fighter and the new Sopwith Snipe from Shuttleworth.
The between the wars period was materialised by the Gloster Gladiator, Hawker Nimrod and Hawker Demon. Superb biplanes with already some powerful engines under the hood.
The larger part was dedicated to the second World War with a Hawker Hurricane simulating a shooting training on a towed target. In these times this ungreatful task was done by the Miles Martinet but for this days occasion a good old 'Piper Cub' did the job.
A little bit heavier… The demonstrations of the Avro Lancaster of the BBMF, the Boeing B-17G "Sally B" and the superb Catalina belonging to Plane Sailing.
The Messerschmitt ME109, alias Hispano HA-1112 Buchon, duet, swiftly chased by 2 Spitfires owned by the Commanche Fighters. The Spitifre Mk Ia had this particularity as it was wearing a special livery for the big screen motion picture : Dunkirk. Not to be missed when released !
The Goodyear FG-1D 'Corsair' was also present and flew together with the Yakovlev Yak-3 owned by M. Davy, but this latter landed quite rapidly after a technical problem had developped.
Another superb duo was the Grumman F-8F 'Bearcat' accompanied by the Hawker Sea Fury FB.11, which we had seen some weeks before at the last 'Flying Legends' show.
Following those two powerful planes build at the end of the war and used substantially during the Korean war, we entered a new conflictual period in Europe… The Cold War, opposing the NATO and the Warsaw Pact forces. To depict the fighters of this troubled period, the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron attended the show with the MIG 15 UTI and two De Havilland Vampires, a FB.52 and a T.55. A beautiful demo with a formation fly-by of these three first hour jet aircraft.
In short, history with a big 'H' was once again masterly presented and higly appreciated, with those superb airplanes from past times. Which just shows you have to put Duxford in your agenda without any doubt.
The "Global Stars" were also part of the program with the particularity not only having a 'dotty-smoke' system, adding to the dynamic nature of the show but also regarding the composition of team with various aircraft types including 1 Extra 360, 1 Extra 330 SC and 2 Mudry Cap 232. On the side, the team is led by Mark Jefferies, UK aerobatic champion, flying a solo presentation giving away his adroitness in this field. Their presentation was only flown on Saturday under a milky and rainy sky and this team certainly needs to be seen again in better weather conditions.
At last, we had team awaited for by our British hosts, the "Red Arrows", always in a dazzling shape offering a highly coloured demonstration under a setting sun. Sheer hapiness !
Once again, this September show was a great succes, at least on Sunday, and we can only motivate our readers to have the journey to Duxford during the next show season.

Far more better and more awaited than this written resumé, is our dedicated photographic overview, but due to the richness of the images, the report is divided in three parts.
First part takes you wandering along the flightline, not with the usual 'from profile' pictures depicting the serials and markings of the aircraft much too the 'spotters' like pictures, but rather unusual sights or particular markings of those canvas, woorden and metallic birds.

The second, more traditional part with an overview of the airshow with some images from in between the raindrops on Saturday and of course from the bright summery Sunday show.

The third and last part will take you to meet Her Majesty of the air… the Spitfire with the 14 Spitfires present at Duxford. The pleasure to see them here, is just as joyfull it was for us picturing them !

The SBAP-team wishes to thank heartily Mrs Esther Blaine, Public Relation manager and her team for the always perfect and warm welcome, the detailed visit of the flightline and the facilities granted during our stay at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
Time has almost come for our team to conclude the 2016 season, but be assured that DUXFORD is already entered in our agenda in capital letters.

Many thanks to the media team for the help and support... A Canon yes, but not mounted on a fighter ;-)
Duxford in September...make your choice
A walk in the flightline
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 Discover the airshow
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Her Majesty...The Spitfire
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