Duxford Air Festival, IWM Duxford, 26th & 27th May 2018

May 30, 2018
Written by: Rob Slusar

Summer is here (more or less) and that means Duxford opens my air show season.

This particular visit is my first to the museums May show, probably my first of 3 or 4 around the country this year.

The Show

In the run up to the show, there was a lot of criticism from regulars about the quality of the lineup that was presented. Whilst this show wasn’t loaded with War Birds, or very much from the RAF participation, there were a number of acts which many hadn’t seen before.

Whilst it was quite acrobat heavy, displays from the Austrian Schlepp, the Franch Rafale C and the Patrouille de France really stood out.

The Pictures

After a lot of thinking and justifying, for this air show season, I invested in a new Tamron 150-600. This show was my real chance to test it out.

I have spent a lot of time since the last air show season studying other photographers and trying to learn my camera to improve my images, which last year I felt were a bit amateur. This year, I think I have started to find my groove with it.

I went to both days, but rather than separate them into each day, I decided to compile together my favourite ones into one post.

It might be a bit picture heavy, but I hope you like them.

The day started off pretty dreary. It was foggy and wet. I decided to spend a little bit extra and walk down the flight walk whilst it wasn’t busy to try and capture some static shots. This Hawker Sea Fury T Mk20 in it’s storage position is one of my favourites.

Another Hawker Sea Fury T Mk20.

A closeup view of one of the Chinook power units. The Chinook was surprisingly popular amongst the static options.

P-47 Thunderbolt aka “Nellie” was one of the displays a lot of people were most looking forward to.

It was Nellie who opened the show on both days. Annoyingly, it was during the most challenging light.

Boeing PT-17 Stearman’s of the AeroSuperBatics display team.

It was the perfect weather for wing walking. You’d need a strong stomach mind.

The first offering from the French Air Force, Equipe de Voltige in the form of an Extra 330SC, flown buy Capitaine Alexandre Orlowski. Capitaine Orlowski was 2015 World Aerobatics Champion.

The Chinook was the only offering from the RAF on this occasion, and was only around for the Saturday.

I do enjoy the Chinook displays however. A chopper this big shouldn’t be able to do what it does. An amazing bit of kit.

Pitts S-1D’s of the Trig Aerobatic Team.

Finishing a loop.

A Duxford Show isn’t the same with out B-17 Sally B.

Despite some initial engine trouble, she took the skies and gave us her every graceful display.

Even amongst people who don’t know much about aircraft, people know Sally B. She is a local celebrity, and long may she fly.

One of a number of T6 Harvards. This yellow one was my favourite. Mainly because of how the yellow looks against blue sky.

Practicing slow shutter speeds on this Harvard. Quite pleased with it.

The Great War Display Team with their collection of replica WW1 Bi and Triplanes are always a nice addition.

I’ve longed to get a picture of them with the pyrotechnics. This time I succeeded.

This was an ultra rare visitor in the form of the Farner Werke Schlepp C-3605.

Originally used as a target tug by the Swiss Air Force, they eventually became to slow for modern planes. Many, like this one, were fitted with Turbo Prop engines. In order to balance the plane, the nose had to be extended by 6 feet, giving it its slightly odd look.

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina.

This was one of my luckiest shots. The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair doing it’s final pass, whilst the Hawker Fury FB Ml II and the Sea Fury T Mk 20 dived in to start their display.

Hawker Fury FB Ml II and the Sea Fury T Mk 20.

Hawker Fury FB Ml II.

Goodyear FG-1D Corsair.

One of my all time favourite war birds. The Douglas C-47 Sky Train.

This one from Aces High is painted in it’s Normandy invasion markings.

The second Hawker Sea Fury T Mk 20 for some reason flew separately to the other Furies.

It was satisfying seeing 3 Furies in one day.

Fairey Swordfish. This is the oldest of its type still flying. Out of date when the war started. but it more than made it’s mark.

Used widely from carriers in the Atlantic, these slow machines were crucial in the battle against the Bismark and U-Boats. Being so slow they were hard to hit, and it was this fact and a bit of luck which meant a Swordfish landed the crippling blow to the rudder of the Bismark, allowing the navy to exact their revenge for the sinking of HMS Hood.

The obvious star of the show would be the fast jet in the form of the French Air Force’s Dassault Rafale C.

I have seen this beast before at RIAT, but with a fresh paint scheme for 2018, I was still excited.

This shot of the Rafale I think is one of my favourites from the weekend.

Going vertical with fluff.

The final offering from the French was their display team the Patrouille de France.

This is the first time I have ever seen this display team, and is one of the reasons I bought a ticket for this weekend.

Much like our Red Arrows, their close jet formations are thrilling.

I was so close to getting both in focus. I’ve tried this with multiple display teams in the past, but this is the best I have achieved. So far anyway.

A little underside action.

Closing the show on both days is the one thing a show at Duxford can’t be without. A Spitfire.

Duxford’s Mk 1a Spitfire is a veteran of the Dunkirk mission. It was it’s first and only flight of WW2 as it was shot down. Crashing on the beach with the pilot taken hostage it succumbed to the sea.

it was rediscovered in 1986, and after a full rebuild it flew again in 2014.

Wow, that is an epic load. In truth, I kept about 120 photos from the weekend, so these are just a taster and my favourites. You can get a look at them all here and here.

Hopefully that will keep you going for a while. I’m heading off to Slovenia for a few days, so hoping to get some pictures of the country while I’m there.

Until then. Thanks for looking.

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