August 5th - Duxford Spitfires, Merlins and Motors

Spitfire flies in for a display later in the day

de Havilland Dragon Rapide

Very attractive Catalina flying boat

Tiger Moth

Harvard, used to train pilots before they got into Spitfire and Hurricane

The two faces of Sally B ...

... aka Memphis Belle

Spitfire line-up on the apron, nearest to the camera is the Grace two-seater. A non-flier, even though it was apparently refuelled during the afternoon. I flew this aircraft six years later in 2018.

WW2 fighter pilot Sqn Ldr Jim Beamish (I think that is what his ID said although I can't find a record of him). Eyesight still so good he could read a page of standard print without glasses. Behind him is Mk9 MH434, designation B ZD, featured in John Sergeant's 'The Spitfire: Britain's Flying Past' shown on BBC TV.

Polish markings on the second from the right ...

... and the one this end was an early Mk1 with black and white under-wing paint

Initially used to try and prevent them being shot down by our own side, it also made them an easy target for the 'opposition', hence the change to pale blue across the whole of the underside

Spitfire cockpits, early on the left with hand-pumped undercarriage (black lever on the left with ball end), powered on the right

The static Merlins

Getting ready

Puffs of oil smoke on starting

Back two cylinders this side not firing properly

Second one fires up, much bigger initial smoke cloud ...

... but was running better than the first one, at full chat it blew the line of barriers behind it down!

Both together made a helluva din, my ears were singing at the end

A YouTube video from the day, unfortunately only one running:

Another occasion with three Merlins, two running, one with a contra-rotating prop. High-rpm running about 2 mins in:

At last the flying gets underway

Another good cloud on starting

a bit less from the second one

Some nice moves ...

... then back to the apron

Only a handful of people waiting immediately after the display so a moment to remember ...

Then one of the organisers offers to take some pictures of us both

This is not a mock-up, but a genuine flyer as can be seen here (photo by 'AJCDuxman')

Finally the display from the Mk1, nicely showing the under-wing paint job ...

... before he joins the group on the apron again.