It is amazing how far the vintage military aviation movement has progressed in the last twenty years. So many aircraft, once thought impossible to restore, have now made it back into the skies. And while this started with the ‘easier’ restorations involving essentially complete airframes, it now extends to almost any conceivable type of WWII-vintage and earlier. We are living in a golden age of vintage aviation it seems.
When the movie Battle of Britain was made in the late 1960s, just three Hawker Hurricanes were able to participate in the flying scenes, limiting the film to employ the then more plentiful Supermarine Spitfire in the more dramatic combat scenes, and therefore falsely imortalize the elliptical-winged beauty as the savior of the Free World on the silver screen, when actually, Hurricanes scored the lion’s share of Luftwaffe victims during those historic events over British soil in the summer of 1940. This dearth of airworthy Hurricanes has persisted in the decades since that film, due to the unavailability of the specialized steel tubing which forms the key components of the main spars in both the Hurricane’s wings and horizontal tail surfaces. However, with the advent of Hawker Restorations Ltd. in England and the resurrection of the necessary steel alloy and manufacturing tools used in its forming process, this imbalance in airworthy Hawker products is steadily being redressed. There are now 17 flying Hurricanes around the world, with around a dozen more in advanced stages of restoration. Even so, it is still rare to see more than two or three at any given air show, which makes it all the more exciting that seven of the type were present … and flying in formation… at a recent display organized by the Shuttleworth Collection at their home in Biggleswade, England.
The formation was split into two vics of three, appropriately labeled A Flight and B Flight with a lone Hurricane in trail to make up the seven Hurris. The aircraft in attendance were as below. Click the serial number for further details…
|A Flight Lead||Can. Car & Foundry||Sea Hurricane Mk.Ib||Z7015||G-BKTH||7L||880 NAS Fleet Air Arm HMS Indomitable 1942|
|A Flight L/wing||Mk.I||P3717||G-HiTT||SW-P||P/O W.M.C Samolonski 253 SQN RAF|
|A Flight R/wing||Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd||Mk.I||P2902||G-ROBT||DX-R||P/O (later Sqn Ldr Kenneth McGlashan AFC), 245 SQN RAF|
|B Flight Lead||Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd||Mk.I||R4118||G-HUPW||UP-W||P/O Bob Foster, 605 (County of Warwick) SQN RAF 1940|
|B Flight L/wing||Mk.I||V7497||G-HRLI||SD-X||P/O E.B.Rogers, 501 (County of Gloucester) SQN RAuxAF, Kenley|
|B Flight R/wing||Can. Car & Foundry||Mk.XIIa||RCAF 5711||G-HURI||RF-E||Represents 303 (Polish) Squadron RAF|
|Trail||Mk.IIc||PZ865||EG-S||BBMF RAF Coningsby – in livery F/L Jimmy Whalen DFC, 34 SQN RAF SEAC|
Our very own George Land was on hand to capture some of the fun, which we thought our readers would enjoy seeing…