Beefsteak

Dates for the diary

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Spring Air Show - Sunday 16 May

Flying Legends – Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 July

The Battle of Britain Air Show – Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September

Autumn Air Show – Sunday 10 October

I'm certainly up for the Battle of Britain Air Show , hopefully , wait for it, 25 , yes 25 Spitfires flying or on static!!!

I'll pass on more news as I get it.

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I went to the Spitfire 60th anniversary airshow at DX in 1996, I seem to recall similar figures at the time, with 20 up in the air at once. I'm surprised that the number hasn't increased, though so many have been exported to the USA since, we have a lack of Griffin engined varieties for instance.

Don't forget the Hurricane, it shot down more enemy aircraft during the BoB than all the other air defences, including Spifires, put together. With a bit of luck there should be at least 5 Hurricanes and possibly, very significantly, perhaps, even the hybrid Blenheim Mk1 flying that day.

Just a word of warning, the traffic trying to get in back in 96 was so bad that all the surrounding roads were log jammed by 9:00am, I was lucky and was on the airfield by 7:00am, some of the old BoB pilots had to walk in.

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Sorry, I had to reply in a hurry as I had to nip out for a meeting, Braintree is log jammed, they have 4 way traffic lights at their most important road junction, it's just taken me half an hour to drive back from the Sainsburies car park just up the road.

You're right, it will be a significant day and if you've not experienced massed numbers of Spitfires and Hurricanes, it's a must. Sitting in the jam I was reminising about previous anniversaries, the first one I recall was the 20th at Cottesmore, it was televised life on ITV, but I was on the fence. In those days the only related aircraft were a Spitfire and the Hurricane 'Last of the Many' at that time still owned by Hawkers and painted dark blue, I'm sure that the Shuttleworth Gladiator and Bristol Bulldog were also there. The station commander was the famous Johnnie Johnstone and Douglas Bader flew himself in in his private aircraft, a Piper twin I recall. He parked up opposite me and I recall him swinging those famous tin legs out of the cockpit and receiving a salute and RAF regiment presentation.

Next one was the 25th at Finningley, same Spit and Hurricane, not quite, we had the retired THUM flight Spits as well, the newly arrived Lancaster, bereft of turrets, and the presence of what was to become Black 6, the Bf 109G.

The 30th, well, nothing, there was probably a more interesting, to me, band on at the Uni.

The 40th was held at Coltishall, every flying Spit and Hurricane in the world was due to fly, no chance, apart from the hideous traffic jams, it was foggy when I got in, the whole thing was a disaster, one of the BoB MkXIX Spits from wherever they were based then, managed to get through the clag and did a single pass.

50th was the business, I went to Buckingham Palace for that one, it was awesome, starting off with every available BoB flight aircraft flying at low level down the Mall, we were treated to mass flypasts by every serving RAF aircraft, Phantoms, Jags, Buccs, Tornadoes, you name it. To finish off we went on to Horse Guards Parade where my little son was unceremoniously dumped into the cockpit of a Mk1 Spit, how cool was that.

Also that year, Conningsby attempted to put up the world record number of Spits, 7 I recall, it was a very hot day, and they'd fleshed out the flightline with a number of static examples from various bases, struggling with engines overheating, they managed one pass.

I don't recall much about the 60th anniversary, the last show at Mildenhall and it chucked it down with rain, the old piston jobs didn't fly, funny I went to many airshows that year but, despite it being fairly significant, I don't recall that much happening.

Thats my bit, I haven't done the usual and published pictures, most of these experiences are on colour slides and video, I have some B & W, do you want to see them?

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I too was at the 50th , in St James's Park, all the royals on the balcony, still alive and seemingly still happily married!!

Just got to get up in the loft to find my old photos of the day

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Sorry, I had to reply in a hurry as I had to nip out for a meeting, Braintree is log jammed, they have 4 way traffic lights at their most important road junction, it's just taken me half an hour to drive back from the Sainsburies car park just up the road.

Was your meeting in the Sainbury's car park Pete? rotfl.gif

Sorry,...just feeling in a devilish mood...

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