Thursday, 22 March 2012

Wycombe Air Park 1971

Welcome, today we are off to a typical small air show  of the early 70's. Its often forgotten that in this period local air shows consisted mainly of light aircraft with the occasional airliner as you could count the number of warbirds to be seen on one hand, with Air Commodore Wheeler's MK1 AR213 ( retrofitted as a MK9) and Adrian Swires MK9 MH234 being the only Spitfire's in private hands , Hawker Siddley had their Mosquito RR299 and Hawker Hart,and that was it, not a Harvard, Mustang or anything else to be seen, unless you went Old Warden whose collection ended at 1939 in those days.  RAF open days, of which you were spoilt for choice and had enough aircraft from Hastings to lightning's to put on a full display without outside help plus the Lancaster still operated by RAF Scampton without a mid upper turret and the memorial flight being  2 hurricanes and 5 spitfires .

So lets be off, we are in the Bedford HA van (based on the Mk1 vauxhall viva) and the camera has been unwisely upgraded to an Agfa Stillette Rapide ( an attempt to get into the instamatic market where instead of winding the film back it fed into an empty cassette , but this limited you to only using agfa film in special cassettes). We rattle our way through the Chiltern,s to High Wycombe formerly RAF Booker for the annual Wings and Wheels display.

We start off  with the Red Devil's Islander G-AXDH.

Not the real thing but I presume one of the Balsa Wood extra's  from the Battle of Britain film made about 5 years previously.

Something sadly missing from the current air show scene is Hawker Siddley's Hawker Hart G-ABMR now confined to the RAF Museum.

Stampe G-AXPW, also note that in those halcyon days before the safety elf's crawled their way out of the mines the public could freely wander round the display aircraft .

Miles Monarch G-AFLW.

Another star of the Battle of Britain film  is this unidentified HA1112 Spanish built merlin engined ME109. Which was on static display only.

Another view of the HA1112, and in the background a bleriot replica from the Those Magnificent Men film.

 And now a real rarity not the T3 that you would first think of (look at the bulged bomb bay) but another film star making its final appearance in the UK is Mosquito B35 G-ASKA / N9797 coded HT-G from its roles in 633 squadron and Mosquito Squadron. Unfortunately it didn't fly in the display. Shortly afterwards it routed via Luton to the Confederate Airforce in Harlingen Texas,  but later made some other Atlantic crossings in a container as part of Doug Arnold's wheeling and dealings in warbirds, finally ending up with Kermit Weeks I believe.

And so as the HA Van rattles its way into the sunset, we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

All photo's available as 6" x 4" prints , please email for details.

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