Duxford Showcase Day 2020 Airshow Dispatches S03E05

october 2020 brings airshow dispatches back to duxford for their third showcase day of the year and our final event of the series following the cancellation of the battle of britain air show showcase day number three was the final chance for the imperial war museum to commemorate the battle's 80th anniversary in the air and they did so in style with a five-ship tail chase sequence featuring a pair of hurricanes and a trio of spitfire mark 1as but those weren't the only aircraft of that era the organizers gave us several unusual formations including a combination of catalina and dragon repeat and a pair of p-51 mustangs flying with a hispano gusson this is our pick of the action [Music] [Music] [Music] so hello and welcome back to the imperial war museum duxford for the second time this series but under rather sad circumstances for this is duxford's last hurrah of the year following the cancellation of their battle of britain air show and just a few weeks before the uk was plunged into a second national lockdown and our regular viewers will know all about the showcase days here at duxford for we covered their first show of the year back in august that's in series 3 episode 2 if you want to give it a watch and as with that episode we start with some of the unofficial flying movements that took place throughout the morning just a very brief look though as there was very little flying thanks in part to the terrible weather that we endured for much of the day [Music] and here's james hepner in his extra 300l part of the main flying display but a performance that we featured in that earlier duxford episode so we won't be looking at it in any detail today so on to the first of our main flying acts now and that is a very unusual formation of dragon repeat and catalina these are both aeroplanes we've seen earlier in the series and i did say last episode that i'd tell you about the story of john crookshank the next time we saw the catalina that was before i knew it would be displaying alongside the dragon repeats so we'll save that story for another time we're seeing the aircraft group together because they are the only twin-engine aeroplanes in the flying display so let's talk about those engines the catalina has two r1830 twin wasp radial engines that's an engine manufactured by pratt and whitney from 1932 onwards it's been built in huge numbers because as well as the catalina it powers aircraft such as the c-47 dakota the b-24 liberator the grumman wildcat and even some british aircraft as well the short sunderland and the vickers wellington for example this specific aircraft has actually had some pretty severe engine problems since this show which left it stranded on loch ness in scotland but luckily miss pickup has now been removed from the lake and sufficient funds the tune of 20 000 pounds have been raised for her to be repaired and the dragon repeat is powered by the gypsy six one of de havilland's own power plants designed and produced in-house this was built in relatively small numbers just over 1 100 compared to the twin wasps hundred and seventy three thousand and it was fitted to such aircraft as the percival mugol and the de havilland comet well it produces just 200 horsepower which is only one-sixth of the power produced by the twin wasp [Music] [Applause] and another reason we're seeing aeroplanes flying in unusual combinations is to save time because the organizers knew the weather was going to be immensely challenging on the 10th of october he actually ended up timing it perfectly the rain eased off around about half an hour before the start of the flying display and it started picking up again just as the last aircraft touched down so a wonderful piece of timing and choreography on the part of the flying control committee following that this belgium-based bell 47 flown by the dutchman peter kuipers and he's someone we've seen displaying over the skies of duxford many times most commonly at the helm of the locally based b17g flying fortress sally b but that airplane has been grounded all year there simply weren't enough air shows for it to be worth getting her into the air so instead we've seen peter displaying several other types he flew the yak 50 at showcase day one for example and here it's the bell 47. this classic american helicopter design can trace its routes back to 1945 it was the first helicopter to be certified for civilian use but it also saw military service under the designation h-13 sioux serving with three dozen nations primarily in the observation role although it was also used for training search and rescue and vip transport in the civilian world it was used very much like any other light helicopter personal transport and pleasure flights but it was also employed for agricultural duties and it was a bell 47 that became the world's first live tv news helicopter they were used to train nasa astronauts for the apollo moon landings as well so a multi-purpose design indeed the first fighters of the day starting up for their display now so [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] i apologize for having to shout over the engines of the catalina for much of this performance but following that lovely opening formation pass we go into a solo display from the hispano bouchon the spanish license-built version of the messerschmitt vf109g here painted in the colours of the luftwaffe foreign recognized as one of the best and most advanced aircraft in the early years of the second world war but now being challenged by the mustangs p51d mustang miss helen that's the designation of the mustang during the second world war and tf 51d contrary mary designated in accordance with the american post-war military aircraft designation system t for trainer indicating this is a two-seat dual control aeroplane and f the fighter of course [Music] it's time i think for a little bit more engine chat because once again we have a combination of aircraft grouped by engine type this time a trio of radial engine designs [Music] and it'd be remiss of me not to talk about those power plants particularly once again we've already seen these individual aircraft earlier in the series so powering the harvard is a pratt whitney r 1340 wasp a predecessor of the twin wasp we heard about earlier with the catalina and that's a roughly 600 horsepower piece of kit used in quite a number of aircraft types but aside from the t6 mostly designs that were never produced in particularly large numbers there's a right continental r 975 whirlwind in the yale again mainly used by less successful designs of aeroplanes and that produces a little over 400 horsepower [Music] and in the beaver another member of the pratt whitney wasp family this time an r985 wasp junior and this is an an variant producing some 300 horsepower most later versions produced 450. and we arrive now at the centerpiece of showcase day number three the battle of britain display [Music] so [Music] so [Applause] [Music] [Music] [Music] three spitfire mark ones and two hurricanes one of which are four double one eight the genuine battle of britain veteran it was 80 years ago between the 10th of july and the 31st of october 1940 that the battle of britain raged over the english channel and southern england as the luftwaffe attempted to wipe out the royal air force and paved the way for german invasion it didn't work it was germany's first significant military defeat of the war but it was not without sacrifice 1547 allied aircraft were lost along with 522 airmen for germany the death toll was well over three thousand following the cancellation of the battle of britain air show this was one of the year's biggest commemorations and celebrations of the few the roughly 3 000 airmen that fought and won the battle most of them british but also including 574 pilots from 15 nations poland canada new zealand and czechoslovakia among them many had never seen combat before their average age was just 20 and their life expectancy was four weeks [Music] so [Music] enormously provocative scenes sights and sounds all against the backdrop of this dramatic autumnal sky you can see a longer video of this display without my narration on our youtube channel it is a fitting way in this battle of britain anniversary year to bring to a close series three of air show dispatches next year we'll be at air shows again don't know where don't know when but hopefully it shall indeed be a sunny day goodbye for now you