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The first full air display at Duxford for the 2007 took the 25th Anniversary of the Falklands Campaign as it's major theme. The 20th May was the anniversary of the first RAF Harrier action over the Falkands when Fuel Dumps were. Sadly, no Harriers are availible to the majority of airshow organisers for this anniversary nor is the Vulcan...yet. However, Duxford did manage to celebrate the important role that helicopters played in the war as well as some other differing types. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of author.

Classic Duxford
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It's Good for the Skin!
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South Atlantic Veterans
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We will remember them
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Paint it black
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G-HUEY Returns!

One of the few  aircraft stillflying that took part in the Falklands War is Bell UH-1H Iroquois G-HUEY. It was a brand new airframe at the start of the conflict having just entered service with the Argentines at the start of the conflict. When the aircraft finally fell in the hands of the British, Sqn Ldr Rob Tierney (attached to 5th Infantary Brigade) was on the look out of usable helicopters and made use of this particular aircraft to transport troops and equipment. He then flew the aircraft to the ship Tor Calendonia and it was brought back to UK and seen regualarly at a number of airshows in the late eighties. Now fully restored by Kennet Aviation, Rob once again is displaying the machine in this 25th Anniversary year.

The Duxford Spring Air Show was the one of the first in series of major public events to marks the 25th Anniversary of "Operation Corporate," the mission to retake the Falklands. As the Sea Harrier have all been retired and the Vulcan still quite hasn't made it back in to the air, there aren't too many fixed wing aircraft left available to show organisers to represent the conflict resulting in rather a rotary biased line up, and that was certainly the case at Duxford.

The display started with an aircraft that was first used by the Argentinians, Bell UH-1H Iroquios G-HUEY. This aircraft has only just been restored by Kennet Aviation to double the count of UH-1s on the circuit. It was captured in the conflict by Sqn Ldr Rob Tierney who 25 years later is display the aircraft once again. The only other aircraft in the show that was representative of an Argentinian types was curiously Air Atlantique's Canberra B2/6. The Argentinans had Canberras in the strike role during the Campaign and some did fall victim to the Royal Navy Sea Harriers. The RAF too used Canberras, though these were the PR9 photo reconnaissance aircraft that are thought to have operated from bases in Chile. The final RAF aircraft to be represented was the Chinook HC2 which was honouring the role of "Bravo November" in the conflict, the only Chinook to make it in battle. Much of the rest of the Falklands participation came in the form of historic and modern helicopters from the Army and Royal Navy. Kennet Aviation's Westland Wasp HAS1 was joined by the Army Air Corps Historic Flight's Westland Scout AH1. More modern Army helcopters in the conflict were ably represented by the Army Air Corps display team, the Blue Eagles with the Westland Lynx AH7 and Westland Gazelle AH1. The Navy too was represented by the Lynx, albeit with their own display team, The Black Cats with one of the aircraft sporting the brand livery for the team. The Navy also gave a rare display of a Westland Sea King HC4 performing a role demo with Commandos and a Land Rover.

Cats New Coat!

The Black Cats made their first appearance with one of their aircraft in it's new  striking display scheme of a black lynx down the rear fuselage of the aircraft.

Much of the rest of the display was the varied fare we've come to expect from Duxford airshows. Team Guinot gave one of their first displays in their new colours. Their display came something of a talking point when their smoke manage to obscure much of the airfield and their display. B-17G Sally-B, which was taxying along the taxyway, made for quite a dramatic sight emerging from the thick smoke. Another american trainer in the display was the T-28 Fennec of Radial Revelations which produced considerably less smoke!

Also adding colour to the event was the RAF's Tucano T1 flown by Flt Lt Bobby Moore it's red, white and blue chevron scheme which is very pleasing. The only RAF fast jet display was the Hawk T1 display still without it's new display scheme.

As ever, Duxford provided a host of historic displays. Leading the way were displays from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which sent their "standard" display with the Spitfire IIa, Night Stalker Hurricane IIc and the Lancaster B1. Joining them was the Sea Fury FB11 from the Royal Navy Historic Flight replesdant in it's new paint scheme for the 2007 season. The gloss dark sea grey is much easier to maintain than a satin or matt coat though it can may the aircraft slightly more difficult to capture in a photograph.

The Sea Fury was part of a very naval theme for the home based aircraft. The Fighter Collection provided it's trio of "cats" for it's contribution to the show of FM-2 Wildcat, F6F Hellcat and F8F Bearcat. The two former aircraft put on a spirited duo display in the hands of Dave Southwood and Alen Wade. The Bearcat was displayed by Fighter Collection owner Stephen Grey in a typical powerful display of aerobatics. The Bearcat is one of Stephen's favourite aircraft and it shows in his display. The Historic Aircraft Collection flew their newly restored Hawker Nimrod II in what was it's airshow debut. It's a stunning restoration and the aircraft's silver covered wings catch the sunlight beautifully.

Duxford wouldn't be the same without echoing to the sound of Merlins. Joining the Old Flying Machine Company's P-51D Mustangs were a Spitfire IXT from the Aircraft Restoration Company and Spitfire Ltd's Spitfire XVI for a land based section of the historic flying.

The show was concluded with a poignant acts of rememberance for those lost in the Falklands Campaign. It was lead by the De Havilland Canada Beaver AL1 of the Historic Aircraft Flight which represented the Beavers flown by the Falklands Goverment, Many of the helicopters seen earlier in the day followed for a flypast before landing facing the crowds along the grass runway for a minutes silence which was ended by the formation taking off again.

It may have been slightly low key, but Duxford deserves credit for putting together a fitting tribute to the aviating forces that played their part in retaking the Falklands and to those on both sides who lost their lives. Coupled with a solid and varied line-up of airshow favourites it was an excellent way to start Duxford's display season.

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