Classic Aviation

Classic Aviation

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Thunderbirds for Waddington!

It has been confirmed that the USAF Thunderbirds display team have been confirmed for the entire weekend at Waddington International Airshow 2011! This stunning formation aerobatic team fly the iconic F-16 Fighting Falcon in immaculate Red, White & Blue schemes. A true American hero tribute team, they will be well received on these shores!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

End Of Days

The 15th December 2010 will go down as a sad day in the history of the RAF. The Harrier jump jet was retired from service. This legendary aircraft must certainly now be considered a classic jet and we hope a historic operator will take it upon themselves to operate one on the civil register.

Earheart found?

Amelia Earhart 

Legendary aviator Amelia Earhart went missing en route to Howard Island on July 2nd 1937. In 2010 it has been reported that a bone fragment, believed to be from a human finger, has been found on a Pacific Island. A group of researches are extremely hopeful the fragment belonged to Earhart; having been found in an abandoned campsite along with many women's 1930's artefacts. A University are attempting to extract human DNA from the piece, will get any finding verified, and then begin the process of matching the sample to that of Amelia.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Zero heading to the UK??

In the January issue of FlyPast Magazine there is an article regarding the Old Flying Machine Company and, in particular, Spitfire MH434. Towards the end of the issue it has been reported that OFMC are in process of acquiring a new aircraft, hinted at being on loan, along the same sort of lines as their Spitfire and Mustang.
This aircraft has to be of financial value to such a small operator; and it is suggested in the article the company is still functioning purely on the income of it's aircraft. The real juicy part of this report, from an enthusiasts point of view, is that they describe the aircraft as "hitherto never before seen in the UK". 
Thinking as to what this machine could be that is a) financially muscular b) never before seen in the UK and c) able to be operated by OFMC obviously rules down the number of options.
Never seen before in the uk most certainly rules out some exciting types including P-38 Lightning, B-25 Mitchell and de Havilland Mosquito - though they would have financial pulling power they have all been seen before in the UK. Likewise Me109 or Hurricane which would complete a classic trio of fighters for the OFMC.
Some never-before-seen could include Me262 (new build) or Commenwealth Boomerang but the financial power of these aircraft is questionable for non-enthusiast income.
Classic Aviation money is on the OFMC attempting to acquire a Mitsubishi Zero - this, to our conclusion, fits the requirements of the OFMC nicely.
Please, feel free, to leave your thoughts or offer any alternative suggestions! Pictured are OFMC's current aircraft Spitfire MH434 and Mustang "Ferocious Frankie" based at Duxford.

P-47G lands!

On 1st December 2010 a photo was posted on the Fighter Collection blog of their P-47G Thunderbolt resting on it's undercarriage. No further details have yet been released. Pictured below is the aircraft before restoration and during Classic Aviation's latest visit.

"Swamp Ghost" at POF!

The long journey of B-17E "Swamp Ghost" is nearing the end as she has now arrived at the Planes Of Fame Museum! Subject of a legal battle for many years, the airframe has been looted and subject to a lot of weather, it will now reside at POF for the forseeable future.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Venom for Kiwi

de Havilland Venom FB.4 J1799 is back on the New Zealand airshow circuit after 10 years of being grounded. The former Swiss jet is now under new ownership.

Mustang in Holland

P-51D Mustang "Trusty Rusty" had a successful engine run on November 17th at Lelystad, Netherlands. Early Birds Collection hope to start test flying soon..... UK enthusiasts hope it will be at Flying Legends 2011.

Meteor T.7 tests

On November 10th Meteor T.7 WA591 under-went engine tests at Kemble, Gloucestershire. It is expected to join Coventry based Classic Flight (formerly Air Atlantique)

Kawasaki down under

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien fighters are being produced by Precision Aerospace Productions for Jerry Yagen's Fighter Factory. An initial limited production run of three has been planned. As well as fabricated parts many originals will be used.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia

Jerry Yagen gets "Chuckie"

B-17 Flying Fortress "Chuckie" has been purchased by Jerry Yagen's Military Aviation Museum at Virginia Beach. It is currently being readied  for the delivery flight to Virginia.

Corsair back from the deep!

Vought F4U-1 Corsair has been recovered from Lake Michigan after being submerged for 67 years. It is now the oldest known Corsair in the world; it boasts the early production "birdcage" canopy. BuNo 2465 will go on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola, Florida.

Focke-Wulf 190 takes to the skies!

On December 1st 2010 Steve Hinton, world renowned warbird pilot, took Flying Heritage Collection's Focke-Wulf 190 to the skies. This is the world's only authentic and original Fw190 fitted with a BMW 801 engine - a very complex machine. It has now been completed after leaving an english workshop in 2009.

From FHC's Facebook group:
We are excited to report, yesterday afternoon (December 1), the Flying Heritage Collection’s Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5 flew for the first time since 1943. Warbird test pilot Steve Hinton lifted into the skies for a 20-minute maiden flight to test all major systems. Hinton reported that the vintage fighter passed its trial flight with flying colors. “The plane is very light, fast, and responsive,” reported Hinton. “This lived up to the history books.” Future flights will take place though December, and soon, the rare vintage aircraft will be on its way to Washington State to be put on display at the FHC.

 Photo courtesy of Jim Larsen and Air Classics magazine.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Shuttleworth in the snow!

With the country seeing many inches of snow the scene was set on picturesque Old Warden for these stunning photos - all courtesy of Shuttleworth Collection and Dave Scott. Join their Facebook Group at this address!/ShuttleworthCollection

If ever you wanted to see a Po2 in it's natural environment - this was it! 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Nimrod back in the air!

After being grounded with the rest of the Fighter Collection fleet; Hawker Nimrod I G-BWWK took to the skies for a test flight at just before 1pm on the 24th November 2010. Not regularly seen in the skies it is hoped that one airshow soon, possibly flying legends, we could witness this aircraft in the air along with HAC's Nimrod and Fury (nearly completed restoration) and Shuttleworth's Hind and Demon to provide a stunning spectacle.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Bearcat tests!

Friends Of The Fighter Collection blog,, has reported that the operator's Bearcat (G-RUMM) undertook a couple of test flights on 18th November at 13:50. Nice to see the winter cold isn't putting of Warbird operations!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Spitfire making progress

The Shuttleworth Collections Spitfire Mk.V is making progress in it's major overhaul. The wing skins have now been fully removed and the skeletal structure is in process of being cleaned inch by inch.

Provost in for annual!

The Shuttleworth Collection's Piston Provost has gone in for the annual inspections. Picture courtesy of Shuttleworth Collection.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

P-51C Airbourne!

Warhawk Air Museums' P-51C "Boise Bee" has returned to the air after many years of restoration. Picture coutesy of Tony Speer vua Facebook

Engine change for well worked girl!

Shuttleworth's Sea Hurricane has under-gone a swap-out of it's Merlin III engine. The spare was already owned by the collection and the original will go for complete overhaul - an overhaul it definately deserves!
Pictures courtesy of the SHuttleworth Collection!/notes/the-shuttleworth-collection/sea-hurricane-engine-change/451640884475

Po-2 purrs into life!

The Shuttleworth Collections Polikarpov-2 underwent engine runs on the 19th October 2010. Hopefully she will be in the air very soon!
Picture coutesy of The Shuttleworth Collection!/notes/the-shuttleworth-collection/po2-engine-runs/447674854475

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Draken back on the scene!

The world's only airworthy SAAB Draken J 35 is back in the air after being grounded for two years owing to "out of date" explosive cartridges in the aircraft's escape sequence.

Spitfire's Galore!

Recent months have seen no less than three Spitfire's enter the public eye around the world. Historic Flight Foundation's IXe SL633 flew again on October 15th with John Romain at the controls, flying out of Washington in the USA.

In New Zealand; Tr.9 MH367 returned to the skies on September 10th with Keith Skilling at the controls. It is owned by Doug Booker.

Finally in the USA the Commemorative Air Force's FR.XIV flew again on August 21st and took part in the Wings Over Camarillo Airshow 2010.

Focke Wulf's galore!

Original Focke-Wulf Fw190A-5 0151227 owned by Flying Heritage Collection and Flug Werk Fw190 owned by Dan Kirkland are well on the way to flying status. The most exciting being the former which will be the world's only original flying Fw190. Gosshawk Unlimited is currently completing both projects.

Spitfire crash

Biltema owned, former Fighter Collection, Spitfire FR.XVIII SM845 crashed upon landing at Tynset, Norway; killing experienced Warbird pilot Bertil Gerhardt.

Firefly to fly!

Shearwater Aviation Fairey Firefly FR.1 PP462 was rolled out at the RCN show at Shearwater Airport on September 11th 2010. Engine runs took place during October and it is hoped to be flown a couple of times before going on display at the Shearwater Museum. Picture courtesy of Shearwater Aviation website.

Stringbag back in the air!

The Royal Navy Historic Flight's Fairey Swordfish Mk II LS326 returned to the air on September 30th 2010. After over a decade off the circuit. Suffering structural and engine problems since 1999, it must have looked at some stages as though we would never see the "Stringbag" again. What a welcome sight she was at the Autumn Airshow 2010 at Duxford, Cambs, as she toddled in over the western horizon.

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Finale

As is custom in the modern airshow circuit; Duxford provided the setting for end of season curtain close. The Sun was perfectly brilliant, and sometimes blinding, that made for great and often unusual photography.
unusually for Duxford the show only included Kennet Aviation's Seafire, as a late replacment for the Royal Navy Historic Flight's ailing Sea Fury T.20, to be the closest resemblance of a Spitfire.
Despite this fact the day was all about her majesty, the enigmatic, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Sally B". Europe's only airworthy B-17 was celebrating her 65th birthday along with all her owners, pilots, staff volunteers and friends. No single airframe can claim to be more deserving of an airshow being dedicated just to them.
The biggest surprise of the day was the wonderful arrival on RNHF's Fairey Swordfish; back in the air after nearly a decade of problems.
The show itself was delivered with the usual Duxford gusto; starting with what could easily have been the finale... "Sally B" was flanked by no less than three P-51D Mustangs in the form on "Big Beautiful Doll", "Ferocious Frankie" and "Miss Velma" and over-flown by two F-15 Eagle's. A wonderful USAAF tribute to one of it's historic ambassadors.
The Trojan T-28 pair added ruggedness to the beauiful spectacle. Entertainment of the unusual nature was provided by O'Brien's Flying Circus by landing their Piper Cub on top of a moving platform along the runway. The Royal Navy Black Cay Lynx pair gave their usual delightful display.
A historic Navy tribute followed the wonderful Sea Hawk in the form of TFC's Sea Fury T.20, Bearcat and Kennet's Sea Fire. A Pitt's four-ship lead by Nick Grace paid tribute to ye' olde Rothman Display Team, a very rare sight at UK arishows.
After a power of strength by the Army's Apache the crowd were treated to a delightful DC-3 two-ship; both D-Day veterans. The show was closed with a true DX favorite in the form of Golden Apple's Sabre; which we all hope is not the last time we see her in UK skies.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fury flies in France

Hawker Fury F-AZXJ has taken to the skies in France after being restored in the States by Sanders Aeronautics. Purchased by Christophe Jacquard; the Fury has been painted in the same scheme as Australian based VH-ORN which has also recently returned to the skies. It joins F-AZXL (pictured) as France's Fury strength.

Helldiver recovered

Curtiss Helldiver 19866 was recovered from Lower Otay Reservoir on August 20th 2010. It will be restored for static display for the National Navy Aviation Museum in Florida.

Thunder City Silenced!

In news that has shook the aviation world; Thunder City, Cape Town, South Africa has cancelled all flying operations. The base was the only place in the world to see English Electric Lightnings and Blackburn Buccaneers; as well as five immaculate Hawker Hunters.
Flying ops were ceased after the tragic death of Dave Stock in E.E.Lightning ZU-BEX following a crash at the Overberg airshow.
The decision has been taken after considering a number of factors including the uncertainty of the current ecenomic climate, problems with the authorities and uncertain income.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Spit airbourne again

Following a landing accident in 2007 Dutch Spitfire IX MK732 returned to the air  on April 29th 2010. John Romain piloted the successful test flight. It appeared at the Battle Of Britain Airshow in September at DX.

Fury rolls-out

Hawker Fury, VH-ORN, is flying again in Australia. The machine was once operated by the Old Flying Machine Company at Duxford. It has been repainted in Royal Australian Navy colours after a two year major operation.

'109 ready to go

EADS owned Buchon/109G-10 composite D-FEHD is ready for flight testing. It has emerged in new generic Luftwaffe colours, minus Swastika, after repairs from a landing accident which occurred in May 2008.

"Fifi" Returns to the air

The world's only airworthy B-29 Superfortress returned to the skies on 5th August 2010. Having been grounded for the last six years owing to engine trouble; "Fifi" now has composite engines from various sources.

SM520 gets new scheme

Making it's airshow debut at Saturday's Battle Of Britain Airshow, Duxford, was Supermarine Spitfire IX SM520 in it's brand new colour scheme. The Scheme is that of the only two-seat Spitfire to see RAF service. G-ILDA returned to the air after a 6 year restoration on Octocber 17th 2008.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Battle Of Britain Airshow - Duxford 2010

A sun soaked morning greeted the early birds at this year's September show; this year marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle Of Britain. Spitfires and Hurricanes were in attendance en masse in a true tribute to "The Few".
A new Me109 Buchon graced the flight line recently restored by ARCo. Another rare aircraft on the duxford apron was a Norwegian vampire with Mickey Mouse emblem. The sun beaming down made for fantastic pictures.
On the Saturday the gates were shut as the museum reached capacity and the anticipation for the show ahead could be felt all over the airfield.
A pre-show performance from the RAF Red Arrows brough the entire airfield to a stand still.
Oddly the show was opened by aircraft that have no relation to the Battle what-so-ever; TFC's Sea Fury & Bearcat. Nevertheless this was a powerful opening which lead into a well rehearsed routine by ARCo and TFC's Harvard pair. The Belgian F-16, a regular at Duxford and at other UK airshows, added a bit of power, thrust and after-burn to the display.
B-17 Sally B then opened for the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane as the true BoB remembrance took place. Again the airfield came to an absolute stand still as the three aircraft did their routines and fly-bys.
A tranquil break in the form of a Leopard Moth and Hornet Moth; gracefully and effortlessly doing circuits around the aerodrome display line.
ARCo's Me109 Buchon provided representation for "the enemy" followed by a quartet of Hurricanes. Peter Vacher, Hanger 11, HAC and and Shuttleworth's Sea Hurricane made up a beautiful and very rare formation. With the BBMF's Hurricane now on the ground; this left just one airworthy Hurricane in the UK not in attendance (also operated by the BBMF). This was followed by a beautiful solo display by Hanger 11's immaculate Hurri-Bomber. Gladiators took part in early exchanges with the Luftwaffe in the months leading up to the Battle Of Britain and this was represented by the Shuttleworth's example in the air and TFC's on the ground; the only two airworthy in the world!
The RAF came agin the their Eurofighter Typhoon display which was soon contrasted by the Miller family's Dragon Rapide. 19 Squadron, the Spitfire squadron based at Duxford during the battle, then did formation fly pasts in their current type Hawk T.1 and T.2's.
Jungmann and Jungmeister put on a German acrobatic display which was followed by a one minute silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the conflict.
Then for the finale pieces. A unique, rare and magnificant formation of no less than 16 Spitfires of various types and marks. A grand spectacle commemorating the people and machines that took part in Britain's finest hour. "The Few" were truely represented. This was followed by tail chases by the 16 Spits. A great showcase of Mitchell's machine - the sounds can only be described as truely beautiful.
The Petrouille De France closed the show with a well-polished display as light started to fade and display conditions started to deteriorate. A great show from the IWM Duxford that definately paid it's tributes to the men and women that took part, some of whom lost their lives, in the Battle Of Britain 70 years ago.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Spirit Of Little Gransden

High winds threatened to blow away any chance of an airshow. Many acts had to be cancelled because of strong ground winds and moving weather fronts.
The organisers of this Children In Need airshow would not be deterred from putting on a show and they came up trumps! Added to the depleted display were a WACO pair, Nord-built Me108 amongst others. The heavy metal of the show was prvided by P-51D Mustangs "Big Beautiful Doll", "Janie" and "Marinell" who beat up the poor, unarmed, Me108 in the spectacular finish.
The Strikmaster and Vampire provided a bit of noise to add to the array of different acrobatic types. The Spitfire-like Twister-duo put on a good display in difficult formating conditions. The RV8 pair "Riviters" put on a riviting display in stark contrast to the elegant Red Hawks and Glider displays.
Resident Spartan Exectives added the class-factor as well as the usual polished display from Yak-52.
For the first time this year a Flight Line walk was organised. Giving us the chance to get up close and personal with the aircraft in the display. A big thank you for that! Same again next year please!
Much Kudos has to be given to everyone involved for still putting on a wonderful display which other organisers would have been forgiven for cancelling; but they rallied and called in their close friends for support and put a display together well worth going to..and all for an excellent cause.