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The beautiful 1943 Grumman Tigercat
was the first twin-engined fighter in
service with the US Navy, designed for use
on Midway-class carriers. It wasn't a very
successful marque in that respect, and few
were built. This beauty was photographed
at the WW2 Battle of Britain airfield of
Duxford, in Cambridgeshire, a few years
ago, on the fateful day that the P-38
Lightning crashed. The crowd had been
hearing the sweet music of the Merlins and Gryphons as about a dozen Spitfires finished
their display, sending up the hairs on the back of one's neck. Next, a flight of Mitchells
were taxiing towards the runway for take off. But suddenly the runway was ablaze with
flame and aircraft bits. The Lightning - up after the Spitfires - had failed to complete a
loop and had hit the deck at well over 200 mph. The airshow went into slow motion -
nobody seemed to move, and nobody quite knew what had happened at first. But two
pilots were now dead, and the runway was unusable; a wheel had bounced through the
side of a lorry on the nearby M11. There'd been a number of fatalities at airshows
recently, and some were arguing that it wasn't really an acceptable risk any more...
A few weeks later, a Mk IX Spitfire, that most glorious of aircraft, crashed at another
airshow, somewhere in the West Country. And it was because of Ministry of Defence
jitters over the number of recent 'civilian' deaths that I wasn't allowed to fly to RAF
Leuchars in Scotland in a Tornado whilst making a film on the Empire Test Pilot's School
at Boscombe Down. My pleas ("Please! Oh, please!") fell on deaf ears.
The beautiful 1943 Grumman Tigercat was the first twin-engined fighter in service
with the US Navy, designed for use on Midway-class carriers. It wasn't a very
successful marque in that respect, and few were built. This beauty was photographed
at the WW2 Battle of Britain airfield of Duxford, in Cambridgeshire, a few years ago,
on the fateful day that the P-38 Lightning crashed. The crowd had been hearing the
sweet music of the Merlins and Gryphons as about a dozen Spitfires finished their
display, sending up the hairs on the back of one's neck. Next, a flight of Mitchells were
taxiing towards the runway for take off. But suddenly the runway was ablaze with
flame and aircraft bits. The Lightning - up after the Spitfires - had failed to complete a
loop and had hit the deck at well over 200 mph. The airshow went into slow motion -
nobody seemed to move, and nobody quite knew what had happened at first. But two
pilots were now dead, and the runway was unusable; a wheel had bounced through
the side of a lorry on the nearby M11. There'd been a number of fatalities at airshows
recently, and some were arguing that it wasn't really an acceptable risk any more...
A few weeks later, a Mk IX Spitfire, that most glorious of aircraft, crashed at another
airshow, somewhere in the West Country. And it was because of Ministry of Defence
jitters over the number of recent 'civilian' deaths that I wasn't allowed to fly to RAF
Leuchars in Scotland in a Tornado whilst making a film on the Empire Test Pilot's
School at Boscombe Down. My pleas ("Please! Oh, please!") fell on deaf ears.
The beautiful 1943 Grumman Tigercat was the
first twin-engined fighter in service with the US
Navy, designed for use on Midway-class carriers.
It wasn't a very successful marque in that
respect, and few were built. This beauty was
photographed at the WW2 Battle of Britain
airfield of Duxford, in Cambridgeshire, a few
years ago, on the fateful day that the P-38
Lightning crashed. The crowd had been hearing
the sweet music of the Merlins and Gryphons as
about a dozen Spitfires finished their display, sending up the hairs on the back of one's neck.
Next, a flight of Mitchells were taxiing towards the runway for take off. But suddenly the
runway was ablaze with flame and aircraft bits. The Lightning - up after the Spitfires - had
failed to complete a loop and had hit the deck at well over 200 mph. The airshow went into
slow motion - nobody seemed to move, and nobody quite knew what had happened at first.
But two pilots were now dead, and the runway was unusable; a wheel had bounced through
the side of a lorry on the nearby M11. There'd been a number of fatalities at airshows
recently, and some were arguing that it wasn't really an acceptable risk any more...
A few weeks later, a Mk IX Spitfire, that most glorious of aircraft, crashed at another airshow,
somewhere in the West Country. And it was because of Ministry of Defence jitters over the
number of recent 'civilian' deaths that I wasn't allowed to fly to RAF Leuchars in Scotland in a
Tornado whilst making a film on the Empire Test Pilot's School at Boscombe Down. My pleas
("Please! Oh, please!") fell on deaf ears.

Tigercat

For your own fine-art print of this picture:
The beautiful 1943 Grumman Tigercat was the first twin-engined fighter in service with the US Navy, designed for use on Midway-class carriers. It wasn't a very successful marque in that respect, and few were built.  This beauty was photographed at the WW2 Battle of Britain airfield of Duxford, in Cambridgeshire, a few years ago, on the fateful day that the P-38 Lightning crashed.  The crowd had been hearing the sweet music of the Merlins and Gryphons as about a dozen Spitfires finished their display, sending up the hairs on the back of one's neck.  Next, a flight of Mitchells were taxiing towards the runway for take off.  But suddenly the runway was ablaze with flame and aircraft bits. The Lightning - up after the Spitfires - had failed to complete a loop and had hit the deck at well over 200 mph.  The airshow went into slow motion - nobody seemed to move, and nobody quite knew what had happened at first.  But two pilots were now dead, and the runway was unusable; a wheel had bounced through the side of a lorry on the nearby M11. There'd been a number of fatalities at airshows recently, and some were arguing that it wasn't really an acceptable risk any more...

A few weeks later, a Mk IX Spitfire, that most glorious of aircraft, crashed at another airshow, somewhere in the West Country.   And it was because of Ministry of Defence jitters over the number of recent 'civilian' deaths that I wasn't allowed to fly to RAF Leuchars in Scotland in a Tornado whilst making a film on the Empire Test Pilot's School at Boscombe Down.  My pleas ("Please! Oh, please!") fell on deaf ears.


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Suffolk     Britain     World     B&W     Abstract
Suffolk     Britain     World    B&W     Abstract     Poetic Licence