The museum itself was somewhat busy with visitors, mainly coach loads of school children and there also appeared to be some sort of corporate event going on. A group of people were massed on the AirSpace balcony that overlooks the airfield and occasionally a Bedford truck or executive coach would arrive and wisk them away to another part of the site.
The only major change in the museum aircraft collection has been in the north side of Hangar 5. During the week, the Republic F-105D-6-E Thunderchief/‘Super Hog’, that had been tucked up in a corner of the hangar for several years was moved outside and secured to two low loaders and departed on Thursday 17th June for its journey to The Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow. When flown by the USAF, one of the pilots of this very aircraft was of Polish decent and called his aircraft the ‘Polish Glider’. The FMA Pucara and Mil 24 Hind helicopter have been slightly repositioned and the vacant area in front of them has now been filled with the remains of the Mitsubishi A6M-3 Zero.
Sitting in the north side of Hangar 2 at the moment is a Mk IX Spitfire/SL633(G-CZAF) finished in the Czech Air Force markings of JT-10 that this very aircraft carried in 1946. The engine side panels have been missing since it arrived as they were having some artwork applied to them by Col Pope, one of
the engineers of ARCo/HFL. As he was about to fit one of the finished panels, he very kindly let me photograph it first.
Apart from Taz and Classic wings, other flying on the day consisted of two Sikorsky S-76 helicopters that arrived early on for a splash and dash. By mid day a C-47A, in the markings of 315211(N1944A)/J8-B/92nd TCS/439th TCG/USAAF and based at Kemble, appeared from the west, touched down and parked up on the Jet Aircraft ramp. By coincidence, what sounded like an American family just happen to be in the right place at the right time. They asked if the older gentleman they had with them could have a look inside the C-47 as he used to fly in them during the war. After a check with Air Traffic to enter the pan, the OK was given and he was duly shown inside the aircraft by the crew. Well done to them for taking the time for what I’m sure would have made the old gentleman’s visit to Duxford very special.
After the wall to wall to wall blue sky and sunshine all week, I pick the only day to visit Duxford when there was wall to wall cloud with rain forecast for late afternoon. Still, it wasn’t cold but reasonably warm considering the conditions.
The ARCo/HFL Canadian Car Foundry Harvard lV 1747/G-BGPB “TAZ” was up and down all day earning its keep carrying passengers and two of the Classic Wings Tiger Moths could be seen flying in pairs just to the north of the airfield.
Early afternoon and Mk 1a Spitfire/JZ-E/AR213(G-AIST) was rolled out of the workshops after its annual check up, and parked on the hard standing in the ARCo/HFL compound. I was informed that it would be departing at around 16.00 in the company of the C-47 as they were flying down to Kemble for the air show that weekend. I hung around keeping an eye on the ever darkening clouds.
Sure enough by 15.45, as the C-47 crew were walking out to their aircraft to complete their pre flights
and start up and Jonathan Whaley was doing the same with the Spitfire, it started to drizzle. As the
C-47 began to taxi, followed by the Spitfire, the drizzle had turned to light rain and both aircraft departed Duxford in what I thought were rapidly deteriorating conditions. I managed to get a decent shot of the
C-47 in the air but the auto focus on my camera couldn’t find anything to focus on as the Spitfire flew
past as it was just to dark. I made a quick dash for the exit but by the time I reached the bus shelter outside the visitors centre, it had stopped raining.
(Click thumbnail for larger image. Click top right of image to close.)
The French camouflaged T-28A Fennec 119/(N14113) also went flying. Twice. The first display pilot took it up and threw it around the Cambridgeshire sky for a short while and parked with engine running, the pilots changed over for a second display routine. The Tr.9/QV-I/PV202 and Mk XVI/CR-S/TD248 Spitfires were already parked on the grass outside ARCo/HFL and were soon joined by Mk IX/TL-B/PL344, but alas they were being cleaned and fuelled for flying on the Saturday.