2016 Event Review

Duxford, The American Air Show, 28th & 29th May 2016
Location: Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Admission: £29.50 - Advance ticketed event only.
Parking:: £5
Value: Very Good (due to access to the sites Museums)
Rating out of 10: 7
 

P-51Ds vs Me 109

Over the UK's Bank Holiday weekend, Duxford's first event of the year celebrated the newly-transformed American Air Museum with "The American Air Show". Telling the story of American and British collaboration over 100 years showing the impact of the American forces on Duxford and the eastern region from the First World War to the present day. Duxford's additional appeal is to be able to walk around the museums that capture a wide variety of aviation history including the Land Warfare Hall, Airspace (in the main hanger), Battle of Britain Exhibition and the American Air Museum to add to the experience. Many operators are based at the airfield and many projects are in progress within these hangers that can be viewed at close quarters.

As for the flying various themes throughout the display highlighted many of the collaborative historic eras with several standout scenarios. The Second World War set piece with the North American P-51D & TF-51D tail chase with 2 Hispano Buchon (Messerchmitt Bf 109's) creating an atmospheric sound and sight that would have been reflective to many in the area in the 1940's. The Pacific and Pearl Harbour theme included a Mitsubishi A6M Zero Replica, Curtiss P-40F Warhawk & Hawk 75, Grumman FM-2 Wildcat & a Goodyear FG-1D Corsair and interspersed within the display was stories from pilots of that period. Two Douglas C-47 Skytrains from Aces High & Dakota Heritage Ltd put on and excellent close support routine in the Supporting the troops and the Shaft of the Spear scenario.

Tony de Bruyn flew the North American OV-10 Bronco in an excellent and unusual pair's routine with the Shorts SC-7 Skyvan from the Bronco Demo Team, which was a welcome addition to the line-up. Paul Bonhomme & Steve Jones flying as the Red Bull Duo in their German registered XtremeAir XA41, is a masterclass in formation aerobatics that never fails to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. An Insitu-Boeing ScanEagle and a Bell-Boeing CV-22 Osprey joined the static display for the first time at IWM Duxford. With the later open for the public to view at close quarters.

Other acts to mention included the French Air Force La Patrouille de France (Saturday only) with the Red Arrows replacing them on the Sunday, the RAF Typhoon FGR4 making a very spirited and powered display for 2016, an Army Air Corp AugustaWestland Apache AH Mk 1 and a Boeing KC-135 Statotanker, the later making a single flyby with its boom extended.
The Duxford Magic did seem to have been lost slightly due to the new rules brought in by the UK CAA post the Shoreham crash last year. Gone now are the fantastic curved top side passes and dynamic routines that would leave a great buzz at the airfield making way for a more sedate and relaxed atmosphere to the event. That said the organisers, Pilots and Ben Dunnell's excellent commentary achieved a good fast paced show on the Saturday that entertained the much reduced crowd compared to previous years. Leaving the airfield you left knowing that for 2016 (anyway), air shows in the UK will be entering a different phase for both the organisers and pilots. The debate on safety verses entertainment will rattle on throughout this summer's season and I for one hope this doesn't have a negative impact on the Air Show scene.
Thanks must go to Esther Blaine and her team at Duxford for all their support and help on the Saturday and gaining live side access in the morning.
Performers included:

Patrouille de France (Saturday only)

Red Arrows (Sunday only)

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a x 2 - Great War Display

Team Fokker DR.1 - Great War Display Team

Boeing Stearman Kaydet - Golden Apple Operations

North American Harvard - Aircraft Restoration Company

North American Harvard - Aero Legends

North American Harvard - T-6 Harvard Aviation

Ryan STA - P Holloway

Supermarine Spitfire Ia - Imperial War Museums

Hawker Hurricane - Historic Aircraft Collection

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress - Sally B B-17 Preservation

North American P-51D Mustang - Norwegian Spitfire Foundation

North American TF-51 Mustang - The Fighter Collection

Hispano Buchón (Messerschmitt Bf 109) - Aircraft Restoration Company

Hispano Buchón (Messerschmitt Bf 109) - Spitfire Ltd

de Havilland Dragon Rapide- D & M Miller

Piper L-4 Cub - A Acres

Douglas C-47 Skytrain - Aces High

Douglas C-47 Skytrain - Dakota Heritage

Mitsubishi A6M Zero replica - Aérorétro

P-40F Warhawk - The Fighter Collection

Grumman FM-2 Wildcat - The Fighter Collection

Goodyear FG-1D Corsair - The Fighter Collection

Curtiss Hawk 75 - The Fighter Collection

de Havilland Canada Beaver - Aircraft Restoration Company

North American T-28 Fennec - Groupe Fennec

Eurofighter Typhoon - No 29(R) Squadron, RAF Coningsby

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, RAF Coningsby

Hawker Hurricane - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, RAF Coningsby

Bell UH-1 Iroquois - MSS Holdings

Hughes OH-6 Cayuse - MSS Holdings

North American OV-10 Bronco - Bronco Demo Team

Shorts SC-7 Skyvan - Bronco Demo Team

KC -135 Stratotanker (Saturday only) US Air Force

AH-64 Apache No 3 Squadron Army Air Corps, Wattisham

LeVier Cosmic Wind - P. Kynsey / A. Walker

Sbach Red Bull Duo - The Matadors


 
Report and photography by Jason Phelan for The Aviation Magazine

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