2nd April 2013
Just before the Easter holidays the new ‘Historic Duxford’ exhibition opened to the public in the old Watch Office building in front of Hangar 3, telling the story of Duxford as a military airfield between 1918 and 1961 with displays of historic objects, and interactive and audio-visual presentations. In the ‘Green Corner’ is a re-creation of the Watch Office from the late 30’s. In hangar 2/North the Catalina and B-17 are slowly having their panels replaced after winter servicing and should soon be back outside again. With the weather getting slightly warmer, there were a few visiting aircraft today and the Classic Wings Harvard did a nice little aerobatics display, if a little on the high side, and after I had left The Old Flying Machine Company Spitfire/MH434/ZD-B returned to air following its winter maintenance.
Camera Used: Sony Alpha A57 SLT + Sony16-105mm/f3.5-5.6 Lens & Sony Alpha A35 SLT & Sony 70-300mm G SSM/f4.5-5.5 Lens
3rd April 2013
After a brief warm spring day yesterday, strong winds and associated wind chill returned but fortunately I had a third pair of gloves with me so managed to keep my finger sufficiently warm to hold and operate my camera. Just prior to the T-28 taking to the skies, a pair of Air Harrods Sikorsky S-76 helicopters did a few circuits and landings. Meanwhile in Hangar 3, the Nieuport replica was receiving a bit of TLC.
5th April 2013
Rumour control had it that the BBMF Hurricane would be flying today and following the arrival of the BBMF Chipmunk from RAF Coningsby with two crew on board, the game was afoot. After a check flight in Harvard/G-KAMY, the BBMF pilot took the Hurricane up for a 15 minute second post restoration flight early afternoon. Air Harrods were back again but with a single S-76 this time.
8th April 2013
Early afternoon and the Catalina emerged from hangar 2/west into the cool spring afternoon after its winter maintenance. It was also an opportunity to grab some pictures of the other residents in the west end of the hangar. The Airco DH.9 has been moved from AirSpace to join the Strikemaster in hangar 4 and probably has nothing to do with a Health & Safety review that cleared the chemicals used in hairspray's etc from having adverse affects on the gathered airframes during the L'Oreal Roadshow taking place in the AirSpace Conservation Hall tomorrow.
10th April 2013
First visit of the year to Duxford without having to wrap up in thermal underwear, although I did have my woolly hat and gloves, but by the afternoon there was bright hazy sunshine, very warm and I came away with a red face from sunburn and not wind chill. The HAC Spitfire V was sitting in the ARCo compound and that was soon followed by the BBMF Hurricane. Mid morning and the BBMF silver and dayglo Chipmunk touched down with two crew on board. John Romain took the HAC Spitfire for its first post restoration flight and while away the Hurricane departed for its home base at RAF Coningsby but the Chipmunk developed a problem and was still at Duxford when I left. The Catalina had a brief visit onto the airfield when it had a low rev. engine run. John Romain went flying again when he took the T.28 Fennec for a very brief flight later that afternoon. Highlight of the day was The Fighter Collection Gladiator II moving from hangar 2 down to ARCo where John Romain was going to perform the initial engine runs as he has experience of aircraft with Bristol Mercury engines. The aircraft last flew in 2008 and should be flying again very soon. Apart from that, a quiet day at Duxford.
16th April 2013
A new exhibit for the museum arrived on a low loader yesterday from Middle Wallop. Westland Lynx AH7/XZ194/V ex Army Air Corps. Although the conditions were very blustery ,pilot training for the Catalina crew continued with a bit of a display but lots of circuits and landings. Everything is prepared for the lifting of the wing of the Harrier prior to its move down to IWM London.
18th April 2013
As part of British military co-operation with French counterparts, the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop invited a contingent from the French 3rd Combat Helicopter Regiment (ALAT/French Army Air Corps) to the UK to take part in training and exercises. 6x Gazelle Light helicopters, 1x Puma Support helicopter are taking part. The visit of the ALAT is to familiarisation them with the UK Low Flying System and its regulations as well as navigation training around southern England and Wales. Part of that training included a cross-country transit through London airspace including Heathrow, London City Airport and Stansted for a short visit to Duxford before proceeding on to RAF Shawbury.
20th April 2013
With wall to wall blue sky and sunshine I ventured down to Duxford on my new motorbike and nice it was to be back on two wheels again. The HAC Spitfire had left Duxford at nine thirty for the south coast and the 'Fly With A Spitfire Experience' where members of the public can fly, in a helicopter, along side the Spitfire for an air to air photo sorties. Meanwhile back at Duxford the OFMC Spitfire was put through its paces by Lee Proudfoot with an excellent dispaly over the airfield. The Navion, which had developed a fault during a visit earlier in the month, was now fixed and departed for Earls Colne. During the morning there was a bit of a GA fly in with the jet pan becoming packed with parked aeroplanes which then departed during the afternoon.
23rd April 2013
There has been a bit of a shuffle around of airframes on airliner row at Duxford. The Herald has been moved to behind 3 hangar, for the time being, and the BAC 1-11 has been moved into its place and the Ambassador has been moved off the hangar base into the space previously occupied by the 1-11. They are now lined up in chronological first flight order.
26th April 2013
Showers were forecast for today but not the hail storm that arrived at Duxford and had GA aircraft holding off from landing until it passed through. The Gr.9 Harrier has now had its wings clipped and is cradled and ready for its move down to IWM Lambeth. The only warbird flying was the ARCo T9 with Cliff Spink in the rear seat and the BAS Twin Otter has returned to the ARCo compound from its jaunt to the Arctic with a few additions to the airframe. Following the first flight of the year of the TFC P-40B yesterday, the P-40F was out on the airfield in the sunshine/rain/hail for an engine run so could well be airborne soon. An Army Squirrel helicopter dropped in and the crew had lunch while running up and down the runway in the sunshine/rain/hail was a Lotus F1 race car doing straight line testing.
28th April 2013
Now that I have a new motorbike I don't have to rely on public transport so can now get down to Duxford on a Sunday where more action seems to happed than on a Saturday. Out on the airfield, the Catalina was having a low rev. engine run on its repaired engine and B-17 'Sally-B' also had a low rev. engine run but 4x and the associated smoke screen that goes with it. Nick Grey took the TFC P-40B for a flight with 5 minutes of aerobatics over the airfield. The ARCo Harvard, 'Taz', was flying with Classic Wings and was up and down all day. Amongst the GA aircraft that flew in was a Gazelle helicopter in a colour scheme I remember well from my youth when I lived at and they operted from RAF Ternhill in Shropshire in the early 1970's