Daks over Duxford.

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Benevolens Magister
Aug 24, 2008
Cheshire, UK
As part of the 75th anniversary D-Day commemorations, Daks over Duxford, the first part of the Daks over Normandy event, took place at the IWM Duxford this week (June 4th and 5th), with the aircraft departing for the Normandy DZ on Wednesday evening.
Unfortunately, the weather on Tuesday was bordering on abysmal, with low cloud, rain, and a stiff wind, which resulted in the planned mass para drop being cancelled, although the aircraft did take off, with the 'paras' aboard, to asses the wind conditions, making a few passes over the airfield in trail.
This was disappointing for me, as I went specifically to photograph the drop, but the wind was over limits for round canopy (civilian) drops, especially considering the DZ location, right on the edge of the M11 Motorway, so completely understandable.
I well remember doing military jumps in worse wind conditions, at a much lower altitude, onto much rougher DZ's, and I can truly say that it is not a pleasant experience !

Regardless of the weather, the rest of the show went on, with some of the Daks flying as singletons, and in formation, and the fighters, and other aircraft, also put on some fine displays of flying, in trying conditions, with rain and a strong crosswind, and congratulations must be given to the pilots and crews involved.
The weather did make for difficult photographic conditions, and I'll freely admit that those photos I managed to get are certainly not my best work - by mid afternoon I'd almost had enough, as I was stiff, cold, damp and aching all over.
My only (mild) complaint about this event would be concerning the parking. Normally, at airshows, the VIP and Disabled parking is on the airfield itself, but for some reason (possibly due to staff requirements, being mid-week), this time the Disabled car park was around the back of the TFC hangar, with no direct view of the flight line, and lots of obstructions in the way of stalls, flags etc.
However, that is a minor point, so I'll get on with posting the first few photos, taken in the morning, before the weather really got bad.
These are general shots of some of the first Daks to get airborne to open the show, and note that the Norwegian aircraft, which was due to do it's normal impressive 'solo' act, had to abort and make a precautionary return and landing, on one engine.

I'll sort and post more pics over the weekend, meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these 'tasters'.

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Thanks chaps.

A few more from my morning stroll, showing part of the line-up, including the rare Lisunov, the approaching poor weather, and the Typhoon restoration project, with the airframe and massive Sabre engine.
Unlike on airshow days, there was no 'flight line walk' as such, but there was an 'apron walk', involving a small area of the flight line, where the public could get up close to some of the aircraft, and have a look inside a few.
I didn't bother, as I was already feeling a bit cool, and rather stiff and tired after my delayed journey the previous day, taking nearly five hours to drive what would normally take three hours.

More to come soon.

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Thanks Jeff, and yes, all those round engines made a beautiful sound.

As will be seen in some of the following shots in the next few posts, the weather got worse, with hazy cloud and drizzle making photography tricky, due to the 'flat' lighting conditions. Also, I was located some 600 meters from the runway / display axis, so most of the airborne shots were at quite a distance, particularly those in the circuit, resulting in having to crop images from the center of the frame. Consequently, some of the shots, particularly those when the weather really got bad, are a little soft or hazy.

The next three posts show more of the aircraft on the ground, and in the air, with most of the C-47's and DC-3s, as well as the single, rare Lisunov, and a few rather low passes by one of the C-47s.

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Some formation shots, and representing the Army AOP (Air Observation Post), spotting for the artillery on D-Day and beyond, a pair of Austers put on a brave show in a stiffening wind and drizzle.

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The fighters weren't due to fly on Tuesday, being 'saved' for the cross-channel flight to Normandy, escorting the Daks the following day.
However, as the mass para drop (and the earlier free-fall display) were cancelled due to the weather, the fighters took off, in very poor conditions with drizzle and a fairly strong crosswind, to keep the crowds entertained.
First up were two MkIX Spitfires, the well-known MH434 of The Fighter Collection, and the two seat 'Grace' Spitfire, the latter, originally a single-seat fighter, being the aircraft that scored the first allied victory over Normandy on D-Day, when flown by New Zealander Johhnie Houlton, the aircraft bearing the markings it wore on D-Day.
This pair provided a stunning display of close formation, fast, low passes, in difficult conditions, and all credit to the pilots for their fantastic, and much appreciated efforts.
Apologies for the 'soft' images, due to the very poor lighting conditions.

More to come soon ...............

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Thanks very much, Hugh and Andy.
This was the first time I've used my 'new' cameras at an actual airshow - Nikon D5200 + 18-55mm lens for the static shots, and Nikon D3300 + 55-300mm lens for the aerial stuff, and I'm fairly pleased with the results in poor light, although I have yet to get to grips fully with the focusing modes.

More pics tomorrow.

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