Best of 2021
With Headcorn's Battle of Britain Airshow and Shuttleworth's drive-in events being the only shows in town in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was absolutely great to get back to an airshow in 2021. The season kicked off with Shuttleworth's opener on May 2nd, my first show since driving out of the Flying Proms there in August 2019! Highlights were Plane Sailing's Catalina opening the event in fine style with an energetic display 'down in the weeds' while John Romain showed off ARCO's Hispano Buchon in temporary JG27 desert camouflage used for the filming of a BBC series 'SAS - Rogie Heroes.' After a grey start, the weather did clear to give intermittent sunshine and blue skies although the slower 600mm end of the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary lens was always going to struggle from our position way back from the usual crowd line due to the need to stay in our car space!
Next up was Aerolegends's Battle of Britain Airshow at Headcorn, Kent on June 26th, cool and blustery grey skies not helping the photography although it was great to be mingling at an event and be able to get closer to the display line. Bearing in mind the next day was written off due to the weather, we were lucky to get in an enjoyable show which culminated in a balbo of 7 Spitfires and 1 Hurricane. What a sight and sound those 8 Merlin engined fighters made as they flew overhead! Other highlights included a display from Sally-B making the most of the intimate size of the venue alongside the display debut of the Silver Spitfire G-IRTY, flown around the world in 2019.
August saw us run the gauntlet of a foreign holiday, navigating paperwork and expensive Covid tests to visit Malta which is an amazing island. Seeing the island from the air as we approached underlined just how small it seemed and how there would have been nowhere to hide from the fighters and bombers of the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica Italiana in World War Two. A visit to the National War Museum allowed us to pay homage to Sea Gladiator N5520 'Faith,' which was followed by a trip to the Malta Aviation Museum on the site of the old RAF airfield at Ta'Qali near Mdina. The museum has a great selection of airframes and is well worth a visit. Please see my interview with museum Director General Ray Polidarno in the Articles section of the website for more details about the museum and their exciting project to build an airworthy Sea Gladiator.
My next aviation adventure was an air to air photo shoot with Battle of Britain veteran Hawker Hurricane MkI R4118 on August 26th. This was out of White Waltham with Mike Collett of Ultimate Aerobatics flying the camera ship, Harvard IIB FE511, and owner James Brown at the helm of R4118. I got some great images, more of which will be published later once a couple of articles have gone to press. It was a great experience and more information as to how you could do the same can be found at the Hurricane Heritage website.
September saw a plethora of events with Duxford hosting a photography 'Fighter Night' on the 4th, a Battle of Britain Airshow on the 19th (a firm family favourite) followed by a trip to North Weald on the 25th for an evening and nightshoot with Peter Teichman's fabulous Russian Spitfire IX PT879. My report from Duxford's Fighter Night can be seen in Spotter Magazine, my picture of Anglia Aircraft Restoration’s Spitfire XIV MV268 G-SPIT running it's mighty Griffon and literally spitting fire winning the Two-Seater Spitfire Facebook page 2021 photo competition!