Saturday, 29 June 2013

Manston Air Show Part 1 - Catalina & Mitchell

Last weekend was the Manston Airshow....a proper airshow not some affair with bouncy castles etc along the front at Margate BUT a proper airshow based at the airfield for the first time in 20 years. Now with the demise of the Biggin Hill Airshow this was going to draw the punters enthusiasts and families alike from miles around and so what featured mostly in the press was the 9 mile tailbacks and reports of people actually missing the show due to being stuck in 5 hour queues! I found cycling the best option and singing 'The only way to an airshow is by bike' I sailed through the traffic (had one offer of £100 for the 1981 Claude Butler in blue, no way!)
The star of the show was of course the fantastic Avro Vulcan but today I will start with two of my favorite American twin engined aircraft the 'Cat' and B25. Sadly for the majority of the show goers they missed the Catalina start up and take off as she was a 'static' for the day but we stayed until the show closed and watched her depart, a fantastic sight and the white colour scheme looked good against the cloudy backdrop of the sky.
This PBY is owned by the Catalina Society and is based at Duxford, it was built in Canada as a Canso A amphibian for the RCAF and spent the war from 1943 on anti submarine patrols . Post war it remained in service until 1961 as a freighter and air sea rescue plane. It then became a 'fire bomber' and finally was purchased by Plane Sailing and started displaying at airshows in the UK in 2004. In 2005 it was repainted into its current scheme. It was great seeing it fly and was Hazels aircraft of the show....yup not the Vulcan or Hunter!
The B25 Mitchell is owned by  the Royal Netherlands Historical Flight and joined the SKHV fleet of prop driven aircraft in 2004 after being the flagship of the Duke of Brabants Air Force for a number of years.
The information about this plane on the web site is in Dutch and little information can be gleaned from the airshow guide but wiki gives a good summary of the B25 and its operators including in Dutch Service.
Defensive twin .50's in the tail could they have defended the airplane from an attack from the rear and slightly above? 
A very spirited display was given the pilot really threw this 'crate' around the stormy skies here is a shot    with bomb doors open. Next posting will feature the 'eavy metal' on display.


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Nice to see these plane still flying .. how long can you keep a WWII aircraft flying

As some point I would imagine either the cost or the scale of the refurbishment stops them in their tracks?

legatus hedlius said...

A friend of my father in law owns a Spitfire and after a number of (not that many)hours the engine has to be completely overhauled and the plane re-certificated for airworthiness.

I've seen that B25 in action but the Catalina! Fabulous!