The Duxford Jubilee Air Show
F-16AM Fighting Falcon solo display. Photo by Bruce Martin
Sunday 27th May saw thousands of visitors arriving at The Imperial War Museum's Duxford Airfield to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's sixty years on the throne (Diamond Jubilee). With almost perfect weather conditions visitors were able to view Duxford’s iconic aircraft before taking their places to watch the air display. The air show had a royal theme because many of the aircraft attending were used by members of the Royal Family, either operationally or to learn to fly.
The flying display got off to a fast start with one of the RAF's fastest jets being put through its paces. The aircraft (a Typhoon) was from No. 6 Squadron based at RAF Leuchars in Scotland. The Typhoon was shortly followed by the B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B, along with a pair of Harvards.
Other aircraft included the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane from The Battle of Britain Flight from RAF Coningsby, the Grob Tutor and the King Air from RAF Cranwell. The Short Tucano painted in its red, blue and white jubilee colour scheme carried out a well coordinated display which was followed by a stunning display by a F-16 Fighting Falcon from the French Air Force. The big yellow helicopter which was parked out on the grass was from B flight 22 Squadron based at RAF Wattisham and gave a display of search and rescue before departing back to Wattisham. In fact this is the type of aircraft that Prince William flies from RAF Valley in the search and rescue role.
Another aircraft which is always welcome at Duxford is the Gloster Meteor T7 over from Coventry and flown by Dan Griffiths who enjoys putting this 1950's training aircraft through its paces. More classic aircraft included the four-ship formation made up of the Avro Anson, de Havilland Rapide, and a pair of de Havilland Chipmunks, in fact the red Chipmunk WP903 was the aircraft that Prince Charles learned to fly in. A first for Duxford was a display by The Patrouille Cartouche Dore from the French Air Force, followed by the BAE Hawk T1 from 208(R) Squadron. Duxford’s air show would not be complete without the sight and sounds of the Supermarine Spitfire and the waiting crowds were not disappointed, what a fine end to a good day's flying than a three-ship formation of this iconic aircraft being put through their paces, over what was seventy years ago the Spitfire's home base.
Images courtesy of Bob Franklin, Bruce Martin and Chris Cannon