P-51B ‘Berlin Express’ Flies to UK from the States – IWM Duxford, Cambs – 4 July 2017

A North American P-51B Mustang fighter named ‘Berlin Express’ has flown from the US to Duxford tracing the route it flew in 1942; via Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland. Many aircraft did the same as part of the build up of forces in wartime UK, usually in large groups. Some failed to complete the journey. ‘Berlin Express’ was accompanied by a Beech King Air. The P-51 it represents came to fame when reportedly flying UNDER the Eiffel Tower during a dogfight in 1944. Pilot Lee Lauderback made the 5470 mile flight so that the Mustang can take part in the Flying Legends airshow at the weekend and RIAT a week later, the first time this early mark of P-51 has flown in Europe since the war. Following its arrival at Duxford the long range tanks were removed in preparation for display practices.

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Duxford Air Festival – Sunday 28 May 2017

The first airshow of the year at IWM Duxford offered a very varied and full flying programme spanning from Great War to present day military machinery, with much in between. Undoubted highlight was the Rafale of the Armee de l’air which outshone the RAF’s Typhoon, though the latter is still a powerful routine. There was a distinct lack of warbirds for a Duxford show, but that made for a more varied event. The Sea Vixen had displayed on the Saturday but suffered a wheels-up landing back at base after a hydraulic failure, and the MiG-15 was scrubbed at the end of the show.

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Flying Legends – IWM Duxford – 12 July 2015

The world renowned warbird-only airshow took place over the weekend of 11 and 12 July. Whilst the Saturday enjoyed good weather (as did Headcorn for its Battle of Britain show) the Sunday turned out very grim with frequent rain showers, making photography testing. The following is a selection of salvaged images from that day:

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VE Day 70th Anniversary Airshow – Duxford – 23 May 2015

This show was always going to be remembered for the public display debut of ARCo’s Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF, but it offered a great deal more, with HAC’s Hawker Fury also debuting, and a number of other new schemes and rarely seen aircraft – such as HAC’s Hurricane in Polish Sqn. colours, the beautiful ‘Mystery Ship’, Norwegian Spitfire Foundation’s Mustang ‘The Shark’ (previously a regular at UK airshows as ‘Old Crow’), and for many a final chance to see a Sea King display before the type is retired from service. Ground events focused on the VE Day theme, with visitors encouraged to join in with the celebrations. Sadly the weather remained overcast for most of the day, just about breaking for the final acts of a highly original and enjoyable flying programme.

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Duxford, Cambs, UK - 23 May 2015. Marking the seventieth anniversary of VE Day and seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a Bristol Blenheim Mark I fighter carried out its first public display after many years of restoration. It is the only flying Blenheim in the world. Blenheims were in service with the RAF at the outbreak of World War Two, and this one was joined by two Mark I Spitfires of 1939/40 vintage recreating a sight possibly not seen since that era.Other flypasts and ground events also marked VE Day

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Flying Legends – IWM Duxford – 13 July 2014

Further continuing a catch-up of the year’s airshows, this selection from the Sunday of Flying Legends illustrates the far from ideal weather of the day. The show wasn’t a classic, but few will forget the various Spitfire and Mustang sequences.

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The D-Day Anniversary Air Show – IWM Duxford – 25 May 2014

A somewhat delayed photographic look at the D-Day anniversary show at Duxford in May. The event focused on representative aircraft covering all of the aspects of the invasion, including a precious few that were actually involved seventy years ago. Modern sport gliders substituted for the troop carriers of the war, but otherwise the display consisted of examples of types from the period plus modern aircraft with links to those involved. A number of aircraft have had invasion stripes applied for the commemorations, with those on the Grace Spitfire ML407 purposely painted in an accurately rough fashion typical of the time.

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