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  Duxford Spring Airshow - Duxford, Cambridgeshire 26th May 2013


Comment -
This year’s opener at the IWM Duxford commemorated the 70th anniversary of the airfield’s handover to the US 8th Air Force for use as a base for the 78th Fighter Group. This unit flew P-47 Thunderbolts and later P-51 Mustangs on escort missions from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe.

The centerpiece of the show was the display by the Eagle Squadron, a four ship of piston fighters representing the aircraft that flew and fought from Duxford during its time as both an RAF and USAAF station. P-51C Mustang "Princess Elizabeth," a former Duxford resident when owned by The Fighter Collection in the mid 2000s, was shipped in from her home in Houston, Texas. UK based Hurricane AE977 and Spitfire Ia AR213 were both repainted in new markings and The Fighter Collection's P-47G Thunderbolt "Snafu" completed the set in its authentic 78th FG scheme. Flying the fighters were Dan Friedkin, Ed Shipley and Steve Hinton from the US with British pilot Paul Bonhomme leading the formation. If this unique grouping was not enough the aircraft then performed a flyby with B-17G Flying Fortress Sally-B at the beginning of the display before taking off again at the end to complete a pass with the RAF Red Arrows. Awesome stuff!

Other highlights included the return to the circuit of the Golden Apple Trust’s F-86A Sabre after an engine rebuild. This aircraft is the oldest flying Sabre in the world and the only example flying in Europe. The Battle of Britain Memorial also debuted Hurricane IIc PZ865 in new 34 Squadron colours after its overhaul at Duxford by the Aircraft Restoration Company which was started in November 2010. Completing the list of firsts was the debut of former Delta Jets Hunter T7 WV372 now under new ownership at North Weald.

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