Classic Aviation

Classic Aviation

Monday, 4 June 2012

Duxford Jubilee Airshow Review

Order Of Appearance

Eurofighter Typhoon / RAF
Boeing B-17G "Sally B" / B-17 Preservation
Harvard Pair / The Fighter Collection & Aircraft Restoration Company
Westland Lynx / Royal Navy
RAF Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight - Avro Lancaster, Supermarine Spitfire & Hawker Hurricane
Grob Tutor / RAF
Hawker Trio - Nimrod (Fighter Collection), Nimrod (Historic Aircraft Collection) & Hurricane (Historic Aircraft Collection)
King Air B200 / RAF
Shorts Tucano / RAF
F-16 Fighting Falcon / Belgium Air Component
SBach Duo / Red Bull Matadors
Westland Sea King (Role Demo) / RAF
Gloster Meteor T.7 / Classic Aircraft Trust
Dragon Rapide / D & M Miller
Avro Anson / Classic Aircraft Trust
Chipmunk Pair / Aircraft Restoration Company & A Grounsell
Bucker Jungmeister / G Brander
Socata TB30 Epsilon x3 / French Air Force
BAe HAwk T.1 / RAF
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.V / The Fighter Collection
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX / Old Flying Machine Company
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXT / Air Leasing ("Grace" Spitfire)


A powerful sun hung over the historic Duxford airfield with very little cloud to protect the spectators from it's effects. Of course in airshow terms this is perfect condition with only a slight breeze it was an ideal day for any participant.
When a show can boast the original schedule to be full and in order; you know it has been idyllic conditions. Dubbed the "Jubilee Airshow" the connections were few and far between with participation very typical of any Duxford show. Though the program and commentators alike endeavored to make Royal connections and relay some history between the aircraft present - to the pure Aviation enthusiast or Royalist it may have seemed a bit futile. Where was the bunting? Balloons? Or anything other Jubilee paraphernalia. Ah well. On with the show.

Kick-starting the show with aplomb was the RAF (a Royal connection if ever there was!) with their Eurofighter Typhoon; this year coming direct from 6 Squadron rather than a display team. With the crowd on their feet and watching in virtual silence the RAF's front-line multi-role aircraft brought the show season to DX, the virtual freedom of the display airspace used by all participants, taking advantage of the great weather.
A firm Duxford favorite is the enigmatic Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Sally B" who followed the power of Typhoon with an elegant World War Two bomber display. From front-line bomber to fighter-trainer came next with a pair of Harvards brought to the show by home-teams The Fighter Collection and The Aircraft Restoration Company.

The Royal Navy's contribution to the Jubilee event was the versatile Westland Lynx solo display. The pilot giving a crowd stopping performance of the helicopter's abilities and maneuvers.
You always know when the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight are in town when their announcement brings utter and impeccable silence to the flight line crowd. Hearing six Rolls-Royce engines prowling somewhere to the North all eyes were scanning behind to catch the first glimpse of a truly patriotic sight. Only a few performers have the permission to over-fly the crowd and once again the Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane of "The Few" tribute used the control tower as reference to do so. Conducting the ceremony in their usual style of solos and formation flying the trio had the crowd, once again, on their feet - leaving to a rapturous applause.

The Grob Tutor provided an interlude of the spectacular until, arguably, the sexiest sight of the afternoon was brought before the audience in the form of a Hawker trio. The avid aviation fan could be forgiven for being disappointed that today was not HAC's Hawker Fury debut, but, the sight of Hawker Nimrod I (The Fighter Collection), Hawker Nimrod II and Hawker Hurricane (both Historic Aircraft Company) should surely have appeased any sadness!

The colorful scheme of the RAF's Shorts Tucano gave more color to the event closely followed by a typically breath-taking routine from the Belgium Air Component's Lockheed Fighting Falcon F-16.

Pilot skills were demonstrated by the newly formed Red Bull Matadors of which fans of Red Bull Air Racing fans will be all too familiar. Tight formations and blood rushing maneuvers had the crowd focused on the skies. The RAF's Sea King gave a role demonstration of it's personnel rescue role. The audience scrambling to see the stranded gentleman on the airfield waiting to be airlifted to safety.

Going into the closing hour of the show transportation was on everyone's minds in the contrasting types of de Havilland Dragon Rapide and Avro Anson. The differences of shapes, size and power made for a very interesting display.

Training types followed the Anson as the Chipmunk pair took the stage to show some simple but effective formation flying - the kind of which RAF recruits would conduct 90+ hours on before moving on the their specified training program.

Breaking from the Jubilee theme, and in historical terms beating the Royals with a stick, was Bucker Jungmeister from G Brander. The German trainer was pointed out to have competed in the Berlin Olympics, however, it is unlikely to feature in London 2012!

As the trio of Spitfires fired up for what everyone knew was the finale there was a welcome 'main land' Britain show debut for the French Air Forces' Patrouille Cartouche Dore display team flying three of their Socata TB30 Epsilon advanced trainers. Showing that the French can put on a display show comparable to the likes of which the UK, Italy, USA etc. usually boast about.

 As the PCD came back in to appreciative applause the long-standing Hawk T.1 display rolled in for the usual exhilarating performance, using the open airspace to demonstrate the jet-trainer's abilities, and showing why it has been (and will be with the T.2) the RAF's first choice jet-trainer of modern times.

With that came the arrival of the shows centre piece finale; the trio of Spitfires comprising of Mk.Vb EP120 (The Fighter Collection), Mk.IX MH434 (Old Flying Machine Co.) & Mk.IXT ML407 (Air Leasing "Grace" Spitfire). There is nothing more epitomising of the British spirit than the Spitfire and they provided an apt closing to the so-called Jubilee airshow.

To view the full set of photos from the show please visit here: Duxford Jubilee Show 2012 Photos

Despite some signal problems our Twitter service from airfield was greatly received and many people re-tweeted our posts - a big thank you very much to everyone who did so! The service will continue (conditions and signal dependent) at the RAF Airshow at Cosford on June 17th. To view the tweets from the Jubilee show visit here: Classic Aviation Twitter

1 comment:

  1. Agree with you about the "Jubilee" theme being stretched beyond its limits, but I think it was just a branding exercise. I thought the Jungmeister was a very apt inclusion, to celebrate the House of Saxe-Coburg!