4th March 2014
Highlight of the day was a flight by the 'Silver Spitfire', flown by Cliff Spink on his first outing in SM845, and he took it up to RAF Wyton before returning to Duxford with some aerobatics over the airfield. Once he has completed his familiarisation flights, the Spitfire will be heading North to Humberside Airport to join the rest of the war bird fleet based there. With the tower closed, as they upgrade the avionics, the airfield is basically shut to visiting aircraft unless they are Duxford based, commercial, military or pre-booked beforehand. Apart from the Spitfire and some Duxford based GA types taking to the air there was still a lot of flying with a group visit of Piper PA-28's and a pair of RAF Puma helicopters and an Army Air Corps Apache passing through as well.
Camera Used: Sony Alpha A57 SLT + Tamron18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Lens & Sony Alpha A35 SLT & Sony 70-400mm G SSM/f4.5-5.5 Lens
26th March 2014
I wasn't intending going to Duxford, with the possibility of showers most of the afternoon but as I hadn't been since Monday and wont be back again til next Monday, I was going to have a quick visit and be home before the showers set in. When N3200 came out to play, that plan went out the window. John Romain took it up for its first post restoration flight and circled the airfield while carrying out handling and stall checks. Satisfied with those he came in for a few passes for the ARCo/HFL workers gathered outside. Unfortunately a hail storm covered Duxford at the same time and JR flew off until it had passed. 15 minutes later he returned with a few more passes and a touch down on the grass. On the way home I ran into another hail storm and I found out my padded motorbike gear wasn't as waterproof as I though it was.
9th March 2014
A very nice spring day out at Duxford with wall to wall sunshine and a slight breeze blowing. In hangar 5 work is continuing of the F-15 with the fuel tanks receiving a bit of TLC now. The Halifax nose has re-acquired its pair of Griffon engines. Hangar 3 and finally the blue cockpit cover is off the Silver Spitfire/SM845. Hangar 2 and the TFC Carbon Cub was out in the sunshine for a brief period this morning and work has started on flat packing the P-40B for its trip back across the ocean. The propeller was being taken off when I left. In the conservation area of AirSpace, the Spring Quilt Show was on its final day. With the Control Tower still undergoing refurbishment, a limited information service is being provided for Duxford based operators and the airfield is closed to visiting GA as to keep the level of traffic reduced, there was a GA visitor in the shape of a very nice 1952 built Cessna 170B/N2366D from Turweston. The only other flying was Mark Linney taking the Stearman up for a local flight and a bit of aerobatics on his return. Just as well there wasn't much flying there was a horrible haze about.
11th March 2014
After what turned out to be the hottest day of the year, so far, on Sunday it was back to a woolly hat and gloves as a cold easterly wind was blowing across Cambridgeshire. Not a lot of changes with the paint stripping continuing on the P-51 in 5 hangar and with the quilt show over, the Victor is once agin back under cover in AirSpace. The Shackleton is still sitting on the jet pan. A bit of non-warbird flying with a Cessna and twin-engined Senneca both doing circuits with the crews landing for a tea break and a Bell 429 dropped in for fuel for the helicopter and hot drinks for the crew.
18th March 2014
After spending Thursday/Friday in London and the weekend with the parents in Doncaster, it was nice to get back to Duxford for a bit of sunshine, cold wind and rain. The paint stripping on the P-51 and F-15 fuel tanks is continuing in hangar 5 and there there has been a bit of an aeroplane shuffle in hangar 3 with the Mk.1 and Mk. XVIII Spitfires parked next to each other showing the differences between the two airframes. One looks nothing like the other. The Shackleton is back in AirSpace Conservation Area for the stub wings to be removed before the short journey to hangar 5, when there is room. Highlight of the day was the de-construction of the TFC P-40B prior to it going into the container for its trip to Chino.
20th March 2014
The poor Shackleton was back outside again minus its Rolls-Royce Viper auxiliary jet engines which were sitting on a trolley in hangar 5. Next to the Vipers was an engine pod from a Grumman Hellcat that I believe had been in store on the north side of Duxford. At the M11 end of Duxford, the F-86 Sabre was sitting outside of ARCo having emerged from its winter servicing. Outside The Fighter Collection at hangar 2, the P-40B fuselage was loaded into the container late afternoon with the wings having been loaded the day before.
21st March 2014
Being Friday I wasn't expecting much to be happening at Duxford but the weather report had sunshine for most of the day. Pity to waste it. Mid morning and the Silver Spitfire/SM845 was pulled out of hangar 3 and into the sunshine with the prospect of it going flying in the afternoon. Mark Miller had his Rapide outside for the first time this year for some engine runs and then a few circuits from the paved and grass runways. I had a late tip off, not as painful as it sounds, that a Spitfire was on its way in and ten minutes later from the north a Spitfire Tr.9 flew into Duxford from Waddington with the last solo flight by Paul Day in MJ627. He later went up as a passenger with John Romain who took MJ627 for a handling flight with the last ever flight by Paul Day in MJ627. Between it landing and getting airbourne again, Cliff Spink took SM845 out for a spin. As is the way with the weather at Duxford, when the war birds come out to play the sun goes and hides away. Trying to photograph a silver/grey aircraft against a grey cloudy sky can tax any auto focus systems going.