2nd May 2014
I wouldn't normally go to Duxford on my motorbike with a weather forecast of cloudy, windy, rainy, coldy, but something in the back of my mind said go. So I went. A bit quiet in the morning with just the BAS Twin Otter going off for a three hour flight to the north. Things picked up in the afternoon with the OFMC Spitfire/MH434 returning from ARCo to it's parking space in hangar 2/west and after that the engineers went around to hanger 2/east and pulled out the two Mk1 Spitfires and took them down to ARCo. Meanwhile a variety of GA aircraft from the flying club at Coventry Airport dropped in for a visit during which the Twin Otter returned and the Avro Anson 19, based at Old Warden, flew a few circuits off the grass runway and after landing and swapping crews returned back to Bedfordshire. Lighting conditions were far from ideal for photography but it did make for some dramatic cloudy conditions.
Camera Used: Sony Alpha A57 SLT + Sony16-105mm/f3.5-5.6 Lens & Sony Alpha A58 SLT & Sony 70-400mm G SSM/f4.5-5.5 Lens
26th May 2014
Forgot it was a Bank Holiday which explained why the A14/M11 was quiet for a Monday morning and there were plenty of visitors to the museum. Around 10.30, DC-3/'Whiskey 7' fired up and along with a Yak-52 camera ship flew off to the American Cemetery and Memorial at Madingley and back over Duxford for an air-to-air photo shoot before the DC-3 headed south to Clacton and on to Germany. Classic Wings were out and about during the day and a formation take off by two of the silver Tiger Moths caught my eye. Early afternoon and the Catalina and B-17/'Sally-B' were out on the grass airfield side. The Catalina had an engine run and later flew off for a test flight and was still away when I left around 4 o'clock. Sally-B had an appointment over Madingley and then on to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby for the American Air Day being held there before returning back to base about an hour later.
4th May 2014
A very busy day at Duxford with the Classic Car Show being held around the Land Warfare Hall end of the site and visitors still queuing to get in gone mid-day. The two Mk.1 Spitfires, with a Vans photo ship, took off 15 minutes after the museum had opened and returned about 35 minutes later with a very nice slow and sedate aerobatics routine over the airfield. Early afternoon and Charlie Brown took off in the HAC Spitfire. Despite the sun shining and being quite warm, there were high thin clouds which diffused the light and wasn't at all good for photography.
9th May 2014
A quiet day at Duxford and the forecast rain didn't arrive but the wind did get up and kept the adrenaline flowing on my motorbike ride home. Late morning and the TFC Mk.V Spitfire/EP120 was out on the grass for an engine run and early afternoon EP120 went up for a brief test flight. In hangar 2, the TFC Corsair was jacked up at the rear and with Sally-B out of the way, ARCo now have room to store most fleet. With what looked like work going on to repair the wind damaged roof of AirSpace, the unfortunate Victor is back outside again.
11th May 2014
Due to the weather forecast for today being somewhat wet and very windy, I had already decided not to go to the Shuttleworth air show at Old Warden which was a good call as the flying side of the show was cancelled. From about mid-morning onwards, refugees from Bedfordshire slowly migrated to Duxford to get their fix of more aeroplanes. First thing and Bulldog T1/XX543 took off for the long journey down to Old Sarum airfield for an event that was taking place there. Spitfire XI/MH434 was also supposed to be flying down to Old Sarum but after a brief appearance outside mid-afternoon, was pushed back into the hangar. The only other action was B-17/Sally-B which had a low power engine run but the pilot training day planned for tomorrow has been cancelled due to the adverse weather and is now set for the reserve day on the 15th May. There were a few showers that passed over Duxford and the wind was gusting to a very blustery 30+ Knots.
12th May 2014
OFMC Spitfire IX/MH434 was returned from ARCo to its parking space in hangar 3 following the application of black & white D-Day stripes on Friday. As per the originals these were applied free hand with the aid of a piece of string for the straight lines. Having been taken out of hangar 2 on Friday, for a display at the Shuttleworth Collection air show on Sunday which was eventually cancelled due to the adverse weather, the T.28 Fennec was returned to hangar 2 having sat outside all weekend down at ARCo. Flying was a bit sparce today, even though the weather was a vast improvement on the day before, but a Piper Super Cub from Old Warden was doing circuits on the grass strip against the rain threatening grey sky.
14th May 2014
TFC were out and about early with the Mk V Spitfire/EP120 having had an engine run before the museum opened. Early afternoon and the TFC Hellcat was outside for an engine run. During the afternoon, the Classic Wings Rapide/HG691 went for a short test flight following its rebuild and after an initial first flight yesterday, the Sabre went up for another flight and after about half an hour to the north, returned with some aerobatics over the airfield. A few helicopters were around as well with a Puma flying through in the morning and another Puma in the afternoon. A Qatar registered Eurocopter EC155B1/A7-HMD was doing some circuit training followed by an S-76C/G-HARA.
15th May 2014
With my extremities having turned a nice shade of red, it was probably the hottest day of the year so far. It was training day for the crews of the B-17/Sally-B with a couple of flights to Cambridge. The Sabre was airbourne again with another test flight to the north with a display on its return. Having had engine runs yesterday, the TFC Mk.V Spitfire also had a couple of test flights with an aerobatics routine over the airfield on its return from the second flight.
Although there was high cloud cover, the temperature reach 21C according to Duxford Information when a helicopter took off late morning. After the initial test flying by Mark Linney, the F-86 was flying again but with Cliff Spink in the cockpit. Highlight of the day was the re-emergence of the ARCo T.9 Spitfire in new camouflage and markings. Before being converted to a two-seater, PV202 flew in 1944 with 33 Squadron as part of 135 Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, Merville, Northern France. Today PV202 is back carrying the 1944 5R code letters of 33 Squadron.
Another quiet Sunday at Duxford apart from visitors, both public and aeroplanes, taking advantage of the wall to wall sunshine. Mid afternoon and Carolyn Grace flew in with her Spitfire which is due to display in the D-Day air show next weekend.
19 May 2014
The Museum were playing at musical aeroplanes today in hangar 4. The Be.2, that used to hang in IWM Lambeth down in London, was moved into the spot that the Meteor used to be in so the Be.2 and the Bristol Fighter are parked next to each other. The Meteor was moved into the other side of hangar 4 with the rest of the Cold War jets. Meanwhile out on the airfield, the TFC Harvard went up for a flight followed by the Hawk 75 with Pete Kynsey giving a very nice display over the airfield after a shake down flight to the north. The Bearcat had its center line fuel tank fixed and PK took that for a short test flight. There was a rumour that a United States Air Force Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey from Mildenhall had a landing slot booked in the afternoon and sure enough it turned up. It did a touch down on the runway and then came around again for a fast pass before heading off to the south. Stu Goldspink took the Hawk 75 flying twice later in the afternoon.
20th May 2014
Since yesterday the Shackleton has migrated from the jet pan and is parked next to the Victor outside AirSpace and both should be inside in the next couple of days. The ARCo engineers were playing musical aeroplanes with their fleet in hangar 2 with aircraft going down to ARCo and the recently arrived Beech 18 taking their place in H2. At doors open the Bronco arrived and left just after lunch time. Also arriving first thing were the Aerostars and after a 45 minute display routine in the morning they had another 45 minutes formation flying in the afternoon. Following some low rev engine runs during the day, the Catalina had its first flight of the year after the Aerostars had finished and just as a passing rain shower hit Duxford. I called it a day and headed home.
22nd May 2014
The Aerostars were making smoke in the sky above Duxford again this morning with two practice display's over the airfield. Between the two routines a trio of Squirrel HT.1 helicopters dropped in for a short while before heading back to Shawbury. John Romain took the silver Spitfire/SM845 for a test flight to the north and while he was away the Duxford based Piper L-4 Cub performed two practice displays keeping it within the airfield boundary. JR returned with one of the best Spitfire display's I've seen this year. It tried to rain a bit during the day and with a clear patch forming mid-afternoon, the TFC Mk.V Spitfire was trundled out onto the grass for a bit of flying but following a slight technical hitch and a bit of thunder and lightning and eventually a torrential downpour, it was returned back to the hangar.
23rd May 2014
Arrivals and practice for the D-Day air show at the weekend. Plenty war bird's flying but the highlight of the day was the four C-47's. 'Whiskey 7' form the National Warplane Museum, Geneseo, was the first to arrive after it's trip down from Prestwick where it spent a couple of days following its flight from America. Aces High C-47 was next to arrive followed later by Dakota Heritage and the other America C-47 from Tradewind Aviation, Connecticut, which flew a circuit and touched down as a pair. Later in the afternoon all four flew a practice display and a fantastic sight and sound they made. Plenty of gliders being towed by powered tugs which all took off one after the other, flew around and then the gliders released for a massed landing to commemorate the D-Day airbourne landing in Normandy. The Patrouille de France, operating out of Cambridge airport, flew around as a team to the north and then 4 of them flew over Duxford marking out datums and display lines before returning back to Cambridge.
31st May 2014
For a non airshow Saturday, there was a lot of war bird activity. The TFC Bearcat left for Le Ferte-Alais at around 9.30 and when the museum opened at 10.00, Spitfire/P9374 was lining up for take off to an air show in Antwerp but was back again 90 minutes later following a technical hitch. 'Taz' the ARCo Harvard was in hangar 2 parked behind two Spitfires and as it was required for flying on Sunday it unfortunately meant that the two Spitfires had to be parked out in the sunshine so 'Taz' could be extracted from its resting place. The TFC Hawk 75 went flying, once in the morning and once after lunch with a bit of aerobatics thrown in on both occasions. The TFC P-40F also had an engine run. At about 4 o'clock the OFMC Spitfire/MH434 took off on display duty and was due to return 90 minutes later so I didn't hang around for its return.