by Stepen Comber/Center of Aviation Photography (COAP)
Aero Legends hosted the 7th annual Battle of Britain Air Show from Headcorn Aerodrome at Ashford in Kent, England over the long weekend of June 24th through 26th. The airfield, formerly RAF Lashenden, is also home to the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum which features an incredible collection of aircraft components, recovered mainly from WWII crash sites, together with comprehensive histories of the Canadian, American and Royal Air Force squadrons based there from 1943 onwards; a visit is highly recommended.
The farmland surrounding the airfield is also famous for its hops and fruit production, and is well known for supplying the strawberries for consumption at the Wimbledon tennis championships currently taking place. It is a picturesque, patchwork landscape in South East England, over which Churchill’s famous ‘Few’ dueled with marauding Luftwaffe forces during the Battle of Britain.
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” was how Prime Minister Winston Churchill described the heroics of RAF aircrew in holding the Luftwaffe at bay during those perilous months during the summer of 1940. The 2022 commemorations saw a veritable feast of Spitfires and Hurricanes once again fill the skies over Headcorn, with evocative ‘music’ provided by the throaty roar of their Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.
Headcorn aerodrome’s grass runway is perfectly in keeping with the Battle of Britain theme. The crowd line for the east/west main grass runways was located on the south side, offering perfect lighting for photographer and spectator alike, with an attractive, uncluttered background of the countryside beyond.
The four hour air show featured a varied program of participants each day of the event, with the Royal Air Force’s famous Red Arrows aerobatics team opening the performance on Friday. The temperamental British weather played its part, as usual. Whilst Sunday offered the best flying ‘weather’ day, extreme cross winds at RAF Coningsby cancelled the appearance and display of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster.
The display program each day included a biplane ‘Balbo’ comprised of a Stampe, Tiger Moths and a Jungman, followed by a B-17G (Sally B) & C-47 Skytrain pair, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire/Hurricane solo display, and a dynamic duel between a ‘Bf 109’ and Spifire Mk.IX. Aero Legends also fielded two Spitfires. Two Harvards flew, along with a pair of Dakotas. A T-6 Harvard made a solo display, and there was a wing walking routine from two Stearman biplanes. A Yak 3 also performed, but the finale came in the form of a ‘Balbo’ featuring four Spitfires and three Hurricanes!
Once again the Centre of Aviation Photography (COAP) engaged in an air-to-air photography opportunity with some of the participants including Hurricane Mk.I P3717 and Yak-3 F-AZIM, piloted by Stu Goldspink and Bob Davey respectively.
Aero Legends plans a much larger event for 2023, and I for one very much look forwards to this rather special air show and the unique photographic opportunities it offers, both from the ground and in the air.
Many thanks to Steven Comber (and COAP) for this report and the photography within. To learn more about the Centre of Aviation Photography, please visit their website HERE. They are sure to have an amazing lineup of fabulous aviation photography adventures lined up for the remainder of this year and beyond!