A D-Day Celebration theme at this year's Duxford summer air show

By Juri Keyter

The 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings are celebrated all over the world this year, and the Imperial War Museum Duxford Summer Air Show was not any different. Duxford was selected as the departure point for an estimated 100 paratroopers dropped over Normandy on Sunday 2 June as part of the commemoration, and I was privileged to be invited by the organisers to go airside to witness the preparation and boarding of the DC3 and C-47 troop carriers before they started their 90-minute flight to France.

The Red Devils, the elite display team of the British Parachute Regiment was the official start of the air show program.

The display I anticipated for weeks before the show, the Dassault Rafale, was next on the line-up. Man, this is a fantastic aircraft. Maybe I am a little biased because of our South African history with the Dassault Mirage, but it has all the lines I expect from a fighter and the display was simply awsome.

But, you come to Duxford for the WWII aircraft, the Merlins, the Griffons, everything that roar and smoke, and the first warbird, a Curtiss P-40 was the first to meet this expectation.

A P-36? I think this is the first Curtiss P-36 Hawk I have seen.

And to see the Curtiss P-40 and the Curtiss P-36C in formation was a priceless experience.

Of course, the icons of WWII never fail to impress. Spitfires, P-51 mustangs, a P-47 Thunderbolt, the famous B-17 “Sally B”, a B-25 Mitchell, a DC-6, even a Swordfish. Where else can you go to see a Swordfish???

The famous Red Arrows closed the show with another breathtaking performance. It is early in the season for them, but their performance is already faultless and I can't wait to see them again at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July this year.

Next Duxford air show is the Battle Of Britain in September and I can't wait!!

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