Displays | September Air Display, Duxford, 7th September 2002

 

Grumman Avenger taxing for take-off at the September 2002 Air Show at Duxford - Click for Full Image

My favourite aircraft - the immaculate North American F86A Sabre (48-178) at Duxford - Click for Full Image Lockheed T33A/N (42161) 'Silver Star' at Duxford - Click for Full Image
 

The September 2002 Air Show at Duxford was a fitting 60th anniversary tribute to the USAAF personnel who came to Britain during the Second World War. The weather was very good and the sight of Boeing B17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B' flying above Duxford could not fail to stir the emotion. Also participating from this period were the Fighter Collection's Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat and Republic Thunderbolt; Dutch-based North American B25-J Mitchell and a superb Grumman Avenger from North Weald. All looked fantastic and gave impressive displays.

However, there was one aircraft I had come to see; the return to the air show scene of the worlds only airworthy 'A-model' North American F86 Sabre (48-178). Painted in the colour scheme of a Sabre serving in the early part of the Korean War it looked quite beautiful. More importantly this was the first time I would see a Sabre flying; and given that it was this aircraft that my father had spent the majority of his RAF career flying - I was really looking forward to this! The Sabre was due to fly towards the end of the display in unison with another Duxford resident Lockheed T33A/N (42161) 'Silver Star'. However, problems with the T33 eventually resulted in the Sabre undertaking the display itself. This was not too much of a disappointment for me as I have been fortunate enough to see it fly before. In fact, the slight delay due to the T33 only served to heighten my expectation and the sight of the immaculate looking Sabre taxing out to the end of the runway was a somewhat emotional experience - this is what I had come to see and I was not to be disappointed. After watching mainly piston-engined aircraft for the previous 2 hours the Sabre took off and flew at a amazing speed considering it's age of about 55 years. The distinctive slight smoking from the engine was there and I loved every minute of it's flight! I had wondered whether it would be worth the wait but I need not have worried - to be honest if nothing else had flown all afternoon I would not have been disappointed. The Sabre is my favourite aircraft by a long distance!

This was a great day! 

 

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