This is probably the most highly anticipated DVD release of the year. I remember well the huge queues that formed outside Planes TV’s tent after Duxford’s Battle of Britain Airshow has concluded each day! That’s not surprising as I rated the airshow as perhaps the best overall airshow of the year during 2010 thanks some superb displays, not least the 16 ship Spitfire finale.
For this review, Flightline UK was supplied with the Blu-Ray edition in HD but more about that later. Apart from the content of the flying displays, this is a very interesting production because of the way it’s put together. The production is introduced and narrated by Ben Dunnell however much of the commentary soundtrack is taken from the airshow commentary system. In a strange way, I think this improves the production as it’s really like reliving the airshow in your sitting room! Unlike any productions that use a recording of the actual airshow commentary the sound reproduction is good quality. The bonus is that the “Commentary-off” function still works too with a soundtrack free of the airshow commentary.
As ever the footage is superb throughout. There’s some really nice sections including the Hurricane four-ship, Patrouille de France and the Belgian F-16. However, it is the Spitfire finale that really stands out. There’s some really interesting footage from onboard the lead Spitfire (MH434) and the aircraft right at the back of the formation, Spitfire IX TA805. The sequence ends with some interview of the various pilots who all show the enthusiasm for the event as the crowd did.
As we mentioned earlier, we viewed the Blu-Ray edition in High Definition quality recording. HD certainly adds to the viewing experience, but particularly so with the more vivid colours. It is therefore the extra footage from the Autumn Airshow that benefits more from the HD quality recording with it’s wonderful autumnal blue skies an colourful participants.
The Autumn Airshow is recorded in the same manner as the Battle of Britain show and features a number of displays unique to this event. It has to be said the warbirds look absolutely superb recorded in HD as does the Pitts Special fourship and the F-86A Sabre. There are some complementary interviews conducted by George Bacon and further on-board footage with Alistair kay in OFMC’s P-51D Mustang and Mark Linney in the F-86A Sabre.
Thanks to it’s superb content, different approach to the soundtrack and excellent footage, this is one of Planes TV’s best productions to date. If you to ability to watch the Blu-Ray, definitely buy this edition as the footage is superb!