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  Biggin Hill International Airshow - Kent, 8th June 2008


Review - Taking place over the weekend of June 7,8, the Biggin Hill International Air Fair celebrated the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force. Held at the famous Battle of Britain airfield near London, the show had a good mix of modern and historic types, and took in the full sweep of aviation from the early pioneers to today's front line combat aircraft, including the mighty Eurofighter Typhoon and the impressive RAF airpower role demonstration.  Indeed, on the Sunday the public saw the role demo for the first time with all the participants operational!

The pioneering days of flying were represented by Mikael Carlson flying his Swedish based original Bleriot IX monolane, a license built example manufactured in Sweden in 1910 and powered by an original 50 horsepower, 7 cylinder 1908 Gnome Omega rotary engine.

Second World War machines included a formation of North American built airpower in the shape of Hanger 11 collection P-51D Mustang G-SIJJ Jumpin Jacques displaying with the Duke of Brabant Air Force TB-25N Mitchell N320SQ. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight also attended, Battle of Britain veteran Spitfire Mk.IIa P7350 accompanying Lancaster I PA474 and Hawker Hurricane II LF363 while Griffon powered Spitfire F.XVIII SM845 G-BUOS closed the show in fine style.

Fans of piston propliners were rewarded with the sight of Air Atlantique's Douglas DC-6A G-APSA in British Eagle colours to commemorate the civilian side of the Berlin Airlift which occurred 60 years ago. Eagle was the biggest civilian contributor to the Berlin Airlift, flying out of Blackbushe and then Hamburg to the beleaguered city. Making its second public appearance in the UK after a flypast at the Southend show a week before, the Douglas machine put on a spirited display showing the power and manoeuvrability available from the aircraft's four 2,100 horsepower Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp R-2800 engines.

Moving into the post and cold war era classic jets took to the skies, the first display being from the Royal Navy Historic Flight's Hawker Sea Hawk FGA6 WV908. The RAF was represented by Air Atlantique's Gloster Meteor NF.11 WM167 G-LOSM which flew in formation with Delta Jets Hawker Hunter T.7 XL577 before the pair split for individual displays. Rounding off the jet classics was another North American type namely F-86A Sabre G-SABR which put on a spirited show with Cliff Spink at the controls.

In addition to the extensive RAF presence, modern military fans were treated to an impressive display from the visiting Armee De L'Air Mirage 2000B from EC.002 while on the rotary side the Indian Air Force's Sarangs Helicopter Display Team made their UK public debut in their four colourful HAL Dhruv machines.

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