It’s been a while since I’ve had a weekday visit to Duxford and going on a day when it was raining, nothing heavy just steady, cold and dark may not have been the ideal conditions to venture out in. By the afternoon though, there was blue sky and sunshine with a bit of war bird aerobatics thrown in as well.
I must stop pre-setting my camera up for a particular mode of photography before I arrive at Duxford. Because of the rain I was all prepared to have a wander around the hangars with my 11-18mm wide angle lens attached to my Sony A580, as it has a tilt screen and the SLT-A35 does not, to get some low level unusual angle shots.
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The component parts of the IWM B-17, ex ‘Mary Alice’, have now started to migrate back into the American Air Museum. The inner wing sections, the bits that hold the engines, were moved back the day before and were in the processes of being rotated to stand vertical for storage with the help of a couple of small cranes. The rest of it should follow in due course.
By lunchtime, the rain was intermittent and the cloud base lifting and there had been a couple of general aircraft movements out on the airfield. The grey clouds were turning white and the light was getting brighter with the occasional glimpse of the sun through the thinning clouds. By mid afternoon the OFMC Spitfire Mk IX/MH434 was sitting out on the airfield waiting to go on a test flight.
Having missed the photo opportunities on the Saturday with the TFC test flights by not having a long lens with me, I’ve now got my Sony 70-300mm G SSM lens attached to my Sony SLT-A35 and even though it was raining when I left home and the prospect of any flying at Duxford looking non existent, I still packed it and carried the extra weight around as Sods Law would dictate that if I didn’t have it with me then there would be flying. Fortunately I had it and there was flying.
As MH434 was being fuelled, there was the sound of a growling Griffon up in the sky towards the north and from around the corner of the AirSpace building a Mk XVI Spitfire/TD248 hove into view. After a beat up it climbed and then performed a few aerobatics over the airfield before landing on the grass runway and parking up at the ARCo compound.
MH434 fired up and taxied up to the west end of the airfield and following engine checks, departed to the north off the grass strip for some handling checks and display flying before returning for an aerobatics routine over the airfield. Having landed it then taxied back to the top of the airfield and took off again for a circuit of the airfield.
Having parked up for a change of pilots and topped up with, MH434 off again to the north before returning a few minutes later for more aerobatics. I had been standing by the control tower so moved to the M11 end to try and get some topside shots while at the same time ARCo were playing musical aeroplanes in their compound so took some opportunist shots as well.
As the bus splashed down the main road to the entrance gate to the museum, you could see it obviously wasn’t wet enough to stop the ARCo fleet in Hangar 2/North from being dragged outside so B-17 ‘Sally B’ could be extracted from its winter hibernation. It's now sitting it its usual place on the jet pan with its wingtips bolted back on. Unfortunately the bus was running about 15 minutes late so missed that bit but managed to catch the tail end of the ARCo engineers returning their damp aeroplanes back into the hangar.