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A night at the War Museum

A night at the War Museum

Welcome to this latest edition of Aerodrome and our regular look at the fascinating world of aeroplanes and the historic aviation scene in the UK.

In a year which has been different to any other in living memory, many of us have had to change the way we go about our daily lives and as a consequence, things which seemed normal enjoyments in the past have become very special to all of us. The simple joy of spending time with family and loved ones has been put on hold for long periods during 2020 and many of the pastimes we all took for granted up to this point now seem less important somehow. Thankfully, those of us with hobbies and interests still have the ability to lose ourselves in them for a precious few moments, with technology ensuring this doesn’t have to be a solitary experience - it may have even pointed the way to a successful future for all manner of groups and societies in the years to come, driving future membership as opposed to bringing about a decline.

On the subject of Airshows, it really does remain to be seen what will emerge in the years to come and indeed if ever increasing costs and regulation will further impact on the number of events which will survive the restrictions the pandemic has placed on everyday life. In a year which has brought such bad news for the hobby, there was a little flicker of Airshow positivity recently, when the team behind the magnificent Flying Legends Airshow announced that they had found a new venue for this unique Warbird show and that Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire would now be playing host to this world renowned historic aviation event. This came just a couple of months after the distressing news that the show’s 30 year association with IWM Duxford had come to an end, initially causing fears that UK enthusiasts had witnessed their final instalment of this iconic show and further adding to our aviation depression. With this recent news giving us all something a little more optimistic to grab hold of as we head into 2021, I can inform Aerodrome readers that whatever happens, we will be bringing readers a report from the first chapter of the Sywell Flying Legends story, which we very much hope will be taking place next summer.

For this latest edition of our blog, we will once again be making IWM Duxford our base, as we attend what turned out to be their only dedicated Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary photographic event of the year and one which turned out to be very different to the one everyone involved had envisaged. Proving that pandemic restrictions and the British weather can be a dream team when it comes to ruining even the most meticulously planned events, join us for a day and early evening visit to one of Britain’s most historic aviation venues and a photographic record of a most enjoyable few hours.

Just what the aviation doctor ordered

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

There is nothing quite like spending a day at Duxford to blow all those lack of aviation blues away once and for all

Airshow attending aviation enthusiasts have been forced to endure a really raw deal throughout 2020, with almost a full diary of events which were planned at the start of the year completely decimated by the restrictions we have all had to live under due to the global pandemic. Although the heath and wellbeing of the population is clearly far more important than the cancellation of the events we are all so passionate about, we should spare a thought for the country’s museums and historic aircraft operators, along with any number of associated businesses, who have been hit hard by this unforeseen turn of events. Many of these rely heavily on the income derived from visitor attendance and with most events cancelled and people forced to stay at home, these much needed funds have simply not been available and they now face a very real battle for survival.

With funding very much in mind, several of the country’s highest profile historic aircraft operators have been forced to launch public funding appeals, in the hope that the much needed income generated will allow them to still be in existence when Airshow events start to take place once again. Clearly, they will all be grateful for every penny, received in donations, but with so many needing help and each organisations outgoings massively exceeding any income generated, this really is a serious situation and one which may unfortunately claim one or two casualties.

From the perspective of the enthusiast, we can actually be quite a resourceful bunch when it comes to finding a much needed aviation fix when we need it most and when lockdown restrictions permit, we are always open to experiencing new aviation related opportunities if and when they present themselves. Britain’s museums did reopen following the first significant national lockdown restrictions, but only under strict social distancing rules and by prior booking, so that they could understandably control the visitor numbers heading for their sites, keeping staff and visitors as safe as possible. Nevertheless, once reopened, most museums reported extremely encouraging levels of public support and those people who did manage to pay a visit were happy to spend money, which will be crucially important over the months to come.

With regard to the Airshows and specially arranged events we all enjoy so much, these also proved to be a little thin on the ground this year to say the least, with most major shows falling victim to the pandemic, with the notable exception of the Shuttleworth Collection’s innovative ‘Drive in Airshows’, and Duxford’s new ‘Showcase Days’. The huge shows at Cosford, Duxford’s Flying Legends and the Royal International Air Tattoo were all cancelled, but enthusiasts will be hoping that all three will be making triumphant returns in 2021, although this is far from a certainty at this point and we will all have to keep our fingers well and truly crossed. Several well organised enthusiast events have taken place during the year and may possibly point the way to how the post pandemic future may look for us all in years to come - fewer attendees paying a premium for much closer access to a smaller number of aircraft.

Events such as these can be both lucrative for the organiser/aircraft owner and incredibly enjoyable for the enthusiast, although by their nature, may be a little more susceptible to the perils of weather and serviceability/availability of attending aircraft, with the higher attendance costs also increasing expectation pressures to deliver a value for money experience. Despite this, these events can be incredibly successful for all parties and with many owner operators already exploring the concept, they are only going to gain momentum in the years to come.

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

The Fighter Collection’s fantastic Battle of France Curtiss Hawk 75 was one of the aircraft promised for what looked like being a memorable photoshoot event

Desperate for some aviation action before the season finally gave up on the year, I was interested to receive details of an event organised by the team at IWM Duxford, one which held the prospect of a particularly memorable experience. In a year which should have marked the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the one surviving opportunity to do this in style was to join a relatively small number of fellow enthusiasts at Duxford’s ‘Battle of Britain 80th - The night shoot’, a specially arranged event planned to take place in Battle of Britain month (September) and on an airfield which actually launched fighters in defence of the country during the summer of 1940. Promising an intimate aviation experience, the event was scheduled to include a stunning selection of historic aircraft which all possessed links to the aerial duels which took place during the summer of 1940, all of which were being made available for us to obtain a truly memorable selection of images, some of which would be captured on the hallowed grass apron of Duxford airfield itself.

The aircraft scheduled to take part in the night shoot included a rare Battle of France era Curtiss Hawk 75, a Westland Lysander, the world’s only flying Bristol Blenheim Mk.I and of course examples of both a Spitfire and Hurricane. In addition to this and the aircraft which immediately had me filling in my application form, the event also promised the rare opportunity to see the Fighter Collection’s beautiful Fiat CR.42 Falco outside the protection of its hangar, an aircraft which itself possesses a fascinating link to the Battle of Britain - more on this a little later.

As we now know, despite 2020 promising a full year of proposed events to commemorate the Battle of Britain 80th anniversary at Airshows and airfields up and down the country, this Duxford night shoot event would prove to the only one to survive and would surely be the event every enthusiast would hope to attend in this significant, if much changed anniversary year. As discussed earlier, when it comes to outdoor events and aviation related ones in particular, every egg is most certainly not a chick and the weather will always have a say in determining the success or failure of such initiatives, even though it may have benefitted from the most meticulous of pre-event planning. Poor weather actually resulted in the postponement of the original date for this event, as forecast high winds and heavy rain meant that all owners were forced to withdraw availability of their aircraft for the event, leaving the organisers with no choice but to postpone. A re-arranged date for the following month had been circulated and despite a similarly worrying forecast for the new date, the event was given the green light and we all made our plans for Duxford - can you imagine our excitement!

Destination Duxford

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

With so many icons of the aviation world in one location, it is no wonder that people continue to flock to IWM Duxford in their tens of thousands each year

With a hotel booked for the night and cameras all cleaned and ready for action, another early start was required, particularly as I was determined that my first Duxford trip of the year was going to be as blog fruitful as possible. As usual and despite the fact that I have been to Duxford hundreds of times previously, the closer I got to the museum, the more the excitement levels started to raise - it is amazing how this place can do that to you, even after all this time. Unfortunately, I was completely unaware that the A14 slip road off the A1 was closed and my plans to arrive by museum opening time were left in tatters by two ridiculous diversions, which simply took drivers into the countryside and left them to their own devices. The situation was so bad that I actually had to resort to using a map for the first time in years.

By the time I eventually made it to Duxford, one and a half hours later than intended, I was concerned to see that the main car park was almost full, which caused me to curse the dreaded detours just one final time. Once inside and putting my own agenda to one side, I thought how fantastic it was to see so many people enjoying a day out with aviation history and particularly how encouraging it was to see so many young families experiencing the delights of Duxford. My first destination was going to be a rather packed Air Space hangar and the magnificent display of aircraft it houses, spanning a full century of aviation. I didn’t get too far before I spotted my first photographic target - occupying a position at the front of the conservation section of the hangar (at the very front), one aircraft had been positioned as if it was expecting to receive plenty of attention during the day. This wasn’t only because it was a fine example of Britain’s most famous WWII aircraft, it was also because this particular Spitfire had received widespread national media exposure over recent weeks, as it engaged in a series of national Thank U NHS flights over hospitals up and down the nation.

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Inspiring the nation, just as it did during the Battle of Britain, this particular Spitfire has become a fund raising focal point for the debt we owe the hard working staff of our NHS, who have been on the front line of the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

The idea to fly Supermarine Spitfire PR.XI PL983 in tribute to the NHS staff who are at the front line of fighting this dreaded pandemic came whilst pilot and owner of the Aircraft Restoration Company John Romain was test flying this aircraft over the local Cambridgeshire area. He noticed that whilst he was flying over villages, people who had been enduring weeks of lockdown restrictions and furlough, all came out into their gardens to wave at his aircraft, as the Spitfire once again seemed to be a symbol of national defiance and hope. For one of these flights, members of the ARCo team painted ‘Thank U NHS’ on the underside of the Spitfire, which quickly brought the aircraft national media recognition. Plans were later drawn up for the aircraft to overfly hospitals the length and breadth of the country, in a mark of gratitude for the incredible work staff were doing on our behalf.

In addition to the flights, the ARCo team also started an NHS Spitfire ‘just giving’ initiative, where people could nominate someone with a donation and have their name hand written on the fuselage of this beautiful blue Spitfire, an aircraft which was unarmed during WWII, flying high speed reconnaissance flights. All proceeds were going to NHS charities and it is estimated that the aircraft would be able to fit around 80,000 signatures on it - what a sight that would be. Clearly, as the aircraft was now familiar to so many people, the Spitfire proved to be a huge draw on the day and she was rarely without a sizable crowd of admirers around her, something which made photography quite a challenge. People were so delighted to have the opportunity to get close to this famous aeroplane, having their pictures taken next to it, with many also looking to see if they could find their name, or someone they had nominated on it. What proved to be the most poignant development was the number of youngsters who were clearly fascinated by the story behind this historic aeroplane, something which will surely continue the amazing legacy of the Spitfire for generations to come.

It was really pleasing to see so many people enjoying aviation in this way and even the fact that people were always getting in my pictures didn’t really seem to matter, in fact, this actually turned out to be a good reason for taking the pictures on this memorable day. Any Duxford regular will attest to the fact that there is always so much to see and do during any visit that you often find that you didn’t manage to do everything you had intended and for me, the Air Space hangar displays are often the ones I miss out and for that reason, I was determined that I would put that right during my latest visit.

My next appointment was to meet up with a friend and aviation celebrity of some repute, but a person who was working hard whilst I was enjoying taking pictures of Duxford’s many historic exhibits. Clive Denney is the owner of Vintage Fabrics, a specialist company which has over 40 years’ experience in the repainting and re-fabrication of historic aeroplanes and over that time, have worked on a huge number of the magnificent aircraft we all love to watch at Airshows. On this occasion, Clive was working on popular Supermarine Spitfire Vb BM597, which is owned and operated by the Historic Aircraft Collection, who base their aircraft at Duxford.

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

It was fascinating to see Clive Denney and his team working on the HAC Spitfire repaint and if people were not standing in these pictures, it would look just like a large scale Airfix kit repaint

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

I was fortunate enough to be allowed a short period of ‘over the rope’ access, chatting with Clive and his team and also given the opportunity to photograph what they were doing. Clive did have an ulterior motive for allowing me to see what he was up to, as I was also delivering a couple of Airfix de Havilland Tiger Moth kits, as when he is not working on the real thing, he likes nothing more than to unwind with a bit of therapeutic modelling. The HAC Spitfire was being stripped in preparation for repaint into a new scheme, but as these details were still embargoed at the time and will be the subject of a future edition of Aerodrome, we will say no more about this just now. Clive was also due to perform a night shoot engine run in the HAC Hurricane at the event I was due to attend, however, he was already a little concerned that the weather information he was getting was putting this in serious doubt. I left Clive wrapping the Spitfire’s propellers in brown paper and went to join the other attendees at registration for our special event.

Battle of Britain 80 - ‘The Night Shoot’

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Our rallying point for event registration was another of Duxford’s Spitfires, this time a full scale replica positioned impressively on an RAF roundel in between two of the museum’s historic hangars. Unfortunately by this point, the bad weather had already started to close in

The main reason why most of the attendees were so keen to secure their places on this special event was that it held the prospect of offering something unique in this significant Battle of Britain anniversary year, something which would hopefully live long in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to attend and leave those who weren’t there just a little bit envious. As it transpired, this would turn out to be the only Battle of Britain 80th anniversary event to survive the restrictions this year had brought and the fact that it was taking place at this famous museum site, which had actually launched Fighter Command aircraft in defence of the nation during the summer of 1940, only increased its poignancy in the eyes of the gathered enthusiasts.

Our joining instructions informed everyone to gather in an area between hangars 4 and 5 at 2.30 in the afternoon, ready for a roll-call, briefing and event itinerary, which we all dutifully complied with. Unfortunately, even at this early stage, it was becoming abundantly clear that the weather was going to have an adverse impact on proceedings and the event would be very different to the one we and the organisers had been hoping for. Yet again, the good old British weather was going to take the day, as a storm front was due to arrive a full 24 hours earlier than expected and slap bang in the middle of the proposed night shoot event. Clearly, the event was not going to be able to proceed as planned and as the experience the organisers were going to be able to deliver was very different from the one they advertised, they even offered full refunds for those who wanted to take this option. As I had already committed myself to the event, there was no way I was going to take that course of action and I am so glad that I decided to stay.

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Two of the aircraft enthusiasts were most looking forward to photographing, the Westland Lysander and Bristol Blenheim, both types which were in widespread service at the time of the Battle of Britain

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog
IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

For those who elected to stick with it, which I have to say appeared to be the vast majority of people, the organisers, with the magnificent support of several of the Duxford based operators and a collection of hardy re-enactors and some historic vehicles, did their level best to make sure we would have something interesting to photograph. Several incredibly historic aircraft had been pushed to the front of hangars and with their mighty doors flung open, we were still afforded some great photo opportunities, whilst these structures provided these valuable aircraft with protection from anything Mother Nature might attempt to hurl at them. With the re-enactors doing sterling work in providing unique opportunities and pandering to the sometimes over-demanding wishes of the gathered photographers with constant good humour, the event was already starting to take shape.

The revised itinerary included the opportunity to also take the night shoot inside Duxford’s historic hangars once the museum had closed at 6pm, with the prospect of special atmospheric lighting and the continued attendance of the hard working re-enactors. Interestingly, this opportunity also extended to delegates being able to roam amongst the hangars and exhibits as they saw fit, something which really appealed to me. The final highlight was the chance to photograph the magnificent American Air Museum at night, something which most of us were very much looking forward to doing at the end of what would turn out to be a rather memorable day. Before all that though, I had an appointment with a rather special aeroplane, one which possesses a fascinating link to a little known aspect of the Battle of Britain.

Il Duce’s British Folly

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

TFC’s magnificent Fiat CR.42 was definitely the aviation star which had me heading to Duxford for this photoshoot event, looking resplendent in its Corpo Aereo Italiano Battle of Britain markings

Although not commonly known, many committed aviation enthusiasts will no doubt be aware that the brave pilots of Fighter Command were not only facing the overwhelming might of the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, but also hundreds of fighting aeroplanes which were wearing the unusual colours of Italy’s Regia Aeronautica. Having entered the war in June 1940, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was desperate to ensure his air force would share in what he was certain would be the crushing defeat of the Royal Air Force and the further expansion of Axis influence in Western Europe. To that end, he formed the Corpo Aereo Italiano and sent three wings of aircraft, totalling around 170 fighters and bombers, to take part in the Battle of Britain. Flying from bases in Belgium, the Italians only made one concerted raid against Britain during daylight hours and were so badly mauled by RAF Hurricanes that they quickly switched to night operations. The entire deployment was judged to have been largely ineffective and whilst they failed to shoot down a single RAF fighter, at least 25 Italian aircraft had been lost.

On returning to Italy, the Corpo Aereo Italiano had not covered themselves in glory as their leader had intended, but had proved to have been disorganised and rather ineffective in the skies above Britain, actually proving to be something of an inconvenience to their Luftwaffe allies. Of the three main aircraft types operated by the Italians during their Battle of Britain exploits, one was actually a biplane fighter and as they would be coming up against a well-equipped and well organised modern air force, it is difficult to see how they thought they would be anything more than bit-part players in this crucial aerial struggle. The biplane fighter in question was the Fiat CR.42 Falco (Falcon), admittedly a particularly handsome aeroplane, but one which was a victim of the changing face of air warfare at the time. Similar to the British Gloster Gladiator, the CR.42 represented the absolute pinnacle of biplane fighter technology at the time of its introduction, but this unfortunately came when the world’s major air forces were already introducing the first of the fast and extremely capable monoplane fighters, such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Hawker Hurricane. Although undoubtedly an excellent fighting aeroplane, the Fiat was at a serious disadvantage when pitted against the fighters of the RAF, even though the British pilots would have been careful not to underestimate the biplane, because when it was flown by a good pilot, the Falco could still be a tricky and highly manoeuvrable opponent.

As one of the most interesting aircraft restoration projects to be found anywhere in the world, the Fighter Collection’s stunning Fiat CR.42 Falco has been the subject of a painstaking 23 year restoration, one which has the ultimate aim of seeing this magnificent aircraft taking to the air once more, the only airworthy example of the aircraft to be found anywhere in the world. The aircraft has been presented in a scheme which was used on one of the Corpo Aereo Italiano fighters which flew during the Battle of Britain and was brought down following combat with RAF Hurricanes during the Italian’s heaviest daylight raid of their deployment in November 1940. The aircraft on which this beautiful scheme is based crashed near Coulton Railway Station in Suffolk during the afternoon of 11th November 1940, with the pilot luckily only sustaining superficial injuries, but with his aircraft faring much worse. On inspection, the aircraft was found to have numerous bullet holes in its fuselage and tail, although it is thought that damage to the aircraft’s propeller is what actually caused it to crash land. The wreckage was later taken to Farnborough for evaluation.

This magnificent Fiat CR.42 Falco wears the markings of an Italian aircraft which took part in the Battle of Britain

A truly beautiful aeroplane, the Fighter Collection’s Fiat CR.42 is one of only four examples of this capable biplane fighter still in existence

This magnificent Fiat CR.42 Falco wears the markings of an Italian aircraft which took part in the Battle of Britain

The TFC’s Falco is actually one of 72 Fiat CR.42 fighters which were supplied to the Swedish Air Force, where they were designated J11 (Jakt means Fighter). One of the most capable aircraft in Swedish service at that time, this particular aircraft crashed into a snow covered hillside during a low level training flight in 1942, with the unfortunate pilot not surviving the incident. The aircraft lay undisturbed where it came down for forty years, until discovered by aviation archaeologists, who recovered the airframe using a heavy-lift helicopter in 1983, with the renovation of the aircraft started soon after. The project was bought by the Fighter Collection in 1995 and it was brought back to the UK, where an full evaluation for proposed restoration to flying condition was undertaken. As this ambitious project progressed to airframe assembly during the summer of 2018, enthusiasts were delighted to see that this famous Fiat had been finished in this magnificent Battle of Britain scheme and definitely prompted many thousands to make another visit to Duxford, just so they could marvel at it in person. In fact, the aircraft would be a star attraction at the 2018 Flying Legends Airshow, where it was placed on static display in front of the TFC Gold Enclosure for the duration of the show - unfortunately, due to my working at RIAT that year, this was the only Flying Legends show that I ever missed.

For that very reason, it was this aircraft and the opportunity to photograph it outside its hangar and on the airfield at Duxford that had me immediately applying to take my place on this Battle of Britain 80th anniversary night shoot event and had it actually taken place as intended, would have undoubtedly been the highlight of this rather unusual 80th anniversary year. As it transpired, the hideous weather forecast meant that this stunning aeroplane, which is one of only four CR.42s still in existence, simply could not be risked and my hopes had been dashed once again. We did, however, have the opportunity to photograph the aircraft in the next best location during the afternoon, pushed to the very front of the TFC hangar and unobscured by other aircraft. To be honest, this opportunity was still worth the ticket price alone in my book, meaning that everything else on the day was something of a Duxford bonus. Also positioned in this same area of the airfield was the Fighter Collection’s extremely rare Curtiss Hawk 75 and the Bristol Mercury powered Westland Lysander IIIA (which was being displayed with its new wheel spat bomb racks for the first time) and Bristol Blenheim Mk.I which both belong to ARCo and are aviation classics in their own right.

A pleasant Duxford evening meander

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Using long exposures and a small LED light, it was possible to get some unusual photographs of Duxford’s exhibits during our wander around the hangars at night

Once the museum had closed and all the regular visitors had been cleared from the site, we were given the opportunity to explore the various hangars at our leisure, some choosing to remain with the main group, whilst others (like myself) elected to do our own thing. Looking for interesting pictures to take in the dimly lit hangars, this opportunity was only made possible by the sterling efforts of the museum staff and volunteers, who really are deserving of a special mention. Each one of them were patient, courteous and wherever possible accommodating of our requests and I am certain that thanks to them, most people came away from the event with a fantastically unusual set of images.

Having spent some time taking pictures of the aircraft on display in Hangar 4 (the Battle of Britain hangar), I headed back to the conservation hangar to see how much progress Clive Denney and his team had made on the HAC Spitfire Vb. On my own in an extremely dimly lit hangar, I managed to get one or two long exposure pictures for the record, before packing away my stuff and preparing to head down to the American Air Museum, which is the exact moment when the heavens opened and rainfall of biblical proportions began to fall on the hangar roof, the like of which I had never heard before. Can you imagine if we had all been out on the airfield and been caught in that? At that point, we were certainly all quite glad that the event had moved indoors.

Under these circumstances, the only thing for it was to hunker down and wait until the rain eased off. Sitting on a bench opposite the imposing bare metal behemoth which is Handley Page Victor B(K)IA in the dark was quite a strange experience, but as an aviation fanatic, I felt quite at home there amongst the exhibits. With nothing but old aeroplanes for company and the only sound being the downpour hitting the roof outside and the odd water drip coming from the roof gully, this proved to be quite a therapeutic few minutes - a bit of an aviation zen moment. Eventually, the rain did let up a little, so I made a late dash for the American Air Museum at the far end of the airfield, seemingly finding every puddle along the way and giving the waterproofing on my coat a real workout. Arriving later than most, I just had enough time to make a quick circuit of this spectacular museum, before our time was up and we were instructed to gather our things and prepare to be escorted to the exit, thankfully with the headlights of a couple of cars to light our way through the standing water.

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

A final selection of images taken during a memorable ‘Battle of Britain 80th - The night shoot’ event. Again using my little LED light, it was possible to throw up some rather interesting Spitfire shaped shadows

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog
IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog
IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

All masked up and ready for paint, Clive clearly thought that the cannon housing made a rather convenient paper towel holder. Have you ever seen HAC’s magnificent Spitfire looking like this?

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog
IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

In to the American Air Museum and if you are shooting classic aeroplanes at night, surely the products of the famous Lockheed Skunk Works should be front and centre

IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog
IWM Duxford's Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary night shoot event review on the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Although the event didn’t exactly go as planned, the organisers did their level best in extremely trying circumstances and what could have been a huge disappointment actually turned out to be a memorable success. I really hope that everyone involved in putting on the ‘Battle of Britain 80th - The night shoot’ know just how much their efforts were appreciated by all in attendance. The opportunity to see the magnificent Fiat CR.42 and spend some time in Duxford’s world class museum at night and in very small groups was a fantastic experience and one I would definitely be interested in enjoying again. I strongly suspect that events similar to this will only become more popular in the years to come, particularly as they offer a much more intimate aviation experience than the hustle and bustle we are used to at the average Airshow event. Having enjoyed myself so much, I have to say that it definitely left me wanting more of the same and dare I say, might even be a more appealing option for a great many enthusiasts than an Airshow. We look towards the future of historic aviation events with some interest and how the pandemic restrictions will have impacted long term.

I am afraid that is all we have for you in this latest edition of Aerodrome, but we will be back in December with more aviation related content for your enjoyment. If you would like to send us a selection of your own pictures, or suggest an aviation related subject you would like to see covered in a future edition, please use our aerodrome@airfix.com address, where we will be delighted to hear from you.

In between new editions of our blog, the aviation related conversation continues over on the Airfix Aerodrome Forum and we can also be contacted on either the Airfix or Corgi Facebook pages, in addition to Twitter for both Airfix and Corgi - please do get involved in the discussions and let us know what you think about Aerodrome.

The next edition of Aerodrome is due to be published on Friday 18th December, where we look forward to bringing you even more interesting aviation related features.

Thank you so much for continuing to support our Aerodrome blog.


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