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  Lydd Airshow - Ashford, Kent 2nd September 2007
 

 

Review - The air battles of northern Europe 1944-45 returned to the skies on the weekend of 1st/2nd September as the second Lydd airshow got underway in deepest Kent. In an evocative set piece Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally-B, escorted by Rob Davies in North American P-51D Mustang ‘Big Beautiful Doll’ symbolised the mass formations of the American 8th Air Force that took the daylight fight to Germany. Eventually outnumbered and outflown the Luftwaffe still inflicted heavy casualties on the intruders and was represented by the Real Aeroplane Company’s Hispano ‘Me109’ Buchon G-BEUW in the colours of JG27 flown by Cliff Spink. Shaking off the fighter escort the ‘Me109’ made a firing pass at Sally-B leaving the bomber trailing smoke from both left engines. The Buchon then broke away hotly pursued by the P-51D and Spitfire MKXVIe TD248 G-OXVI flown by Al Pinner representing the shorter ranged RAF fighters that did their best to cover the USAAF bombers on the outward and return legs of their missions.

This set piece was typical of the quality of the show, which attracted 25,000 visitors over the two days. On the historic front the Great War Display Team brought five machines to the Kent skies including Fokker Dr1 Triplane G-CDXR replica built by John Day in 2005/6. The aircraft is currently in its first full display season with the team and allowed an interesting comparison with the team’s Sopwith Triplane replica G-BWRA as the British machine stayed glued to the unfortunate Fokker’s tail during the display.

On the ground two veteran WWII bombers sat side by side, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster Mk.1 PA474 and Boeing B-17G ‘Sally B’ providing a rare photo opportunity, the BBMF displaying at the show with the Lancaster and Spitfires PR.XIX PM631 and Mk.Vb AB910. Rotary power was provided by the Army Air Corps Historic Flight’s Blue Eagles, including Sioux AH.1 XT131 and Alouette AH.2 XR379. Plane Sailing’s PBY-5A Catalina also put in a welcome appearance while warbird jet heavy metal was provided by the irrepressible Hawker Hunter F.58A ‘Miss Demeanour’ owned and flown by Jonathon ‘Flapjack’ Whaley.

Lydd itself was opened in April 1956 by the Duke of Edinburgh being the first new airfield to be opened after the end of World War Two. Silver City Airways based their fleet of Bristol 170 freighters at the airport soon after and flew thousands of cars and passengers to destinations across Europe before the advent of cross channel hovercrafts and ro-ro ferries meant that the service was no longer economically viable, the last Bristol flying from Lydd in 1970. At present the airport is owned by London Ashford Airport Ltd and has ambitions to become a major regional hub for Kent.

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www.lyddairshow.co.uk