The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight were up first. A Hurricane 2C and Spitfire MXIV began the demonstration, the relative shapes and speeds of the Hurricane and Spitfire demonstrating just how quickly aircraft development progressed during the war. Next up was the Lancaster. One of only two Lancasters still flying the four Merlins and the unmistakable stubby silhouette of the bomber cast a spell over many of the crowd, even those who do not fully appreciate its importance in Britain’s bomber offensive against Germany.
After the three aircraft landed it was the turn of the Catalina and then the Grace Spitfire. Possibly the most famous Spitfire still flying Caroline Grace’s Mk9 is a favorite of the airshow circuit. This Spitfire originally served with the RAF over Europe and is one of the few WW2 Warbirds with kills to still be flying (it has a Bf-109 and Fw 190 to it credit). After the war it was sold to Israel and converted to a two seat trainer. Restored by her husband, Caroline Grace kept the plane flying after her husband’s death and it is the only two-seat Spitfire still flying.
Finally the Red Arrows produced their usual mesmerizing display to finish the display. The nine aircraft produced their usual tight formation flying before allowing the two syncro pairs to wow the crowd and show why the Red Arrows is still seen by many as the best aerobatics display team in the world.
Good weather and a great variety of aircraft made for a great day out. Farnborough’s future, both as an airport and as a display venue seems safe for now and, if it’s anything as good as this year’s, Farnborough 2008 should be a great show to go to.
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