The Iconic Spitfire in Action: Where to See it in 2018
7 feb 2018
Thrilling, inspiring and intense - nothing beats the experience of seeing and hearing a real Spitfire soaring overhead. With only 35 of these iconic beauties still in action, it can be a challenge to find where to see one fly. To help you out, we’ve listed the top five air shows across the UK that regularly feature at least one Spitfire in their line-up.
Want to get even closer? There are museums across the country that feature static planes in their collection, letting you get right up to the amazing aircraft that famously won the Battle of Britain. If that’s still not quite close enough, diehard enthusiasts should look up Into the Blue to book an exciting flight experience in a 2-seater TR9.
Until then, here are the dates you need in your calendar to make sure you get to enjoy a Spitfire in flight next summer.
1. Aero Legends Battle of Britain Airshow, Kent
The Aero Legends display shows off an impressive collection of World War 2 era aircraft, including a Tiger Moth, a T6 Harvard, a set of Hurricanes and of course, a group of Spitfires. Their exhilarating flyover is made all the more memorable by its setting, where the Battle of Britain took place so many years ago.
The day includes a once-in -a-lifetime chance to fly in an iconic vintage aircraft, including a T6 Harvard and Thruxton Jackaroo, not to mention unmissable photo opportunities with planes, re-enactment teams and historic military vehicles.
When and where? 30th June - 1st July 2018, at the Headcorn Aerodrome in Ashford, Kent.
2. Royal International Air Tattoo, Gloucestershire
Celebrating planes from across the decades, the RIAT at RAF Fairford is the perfect air show for those interested in international aircraft beyond World War 2. Alongside a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight formation comprising of a Lancaster, a Hurricane and 3 Spitfires, the 2017 line-up included a Thunderbird / Red Arrows combination flyover and even a surprise appearance from a Northrop Grumman B-2A Stealth Bomber.
The RIAT includes exciting attractions to engage the whole family, from the Techno Zone exhibiting the cutting-edge technology involved with STEM topics to the fantastic Autodrome, displaying rare and vintage vehicles. Guests are encouraged to take lots of photographs and ask aircrew any questions they may have about the incredible range of planes on display at the event.
When and where? 13th - 15th July 2018, at the RAF Base in Fairford, just north of Swindon, Gloucestershire.
3. Scampton Airshow, Lincolnshire
2017 marked the first annual air show at RAF Scampton, replacing the much-loved shows at RAF Waddington in previous years. Slightly smaller than some of its counterparts in the south, Scampton hosted over 100 aircraft in 2017, giving enthusiasts in the north plenty to enjoy over the weekend. Among the pack were the P-51 Mustang, a Gazelle Squadron and the Belgian F-16. Spitfires flew in formation alongside the Hurricane, while Breitling Wingwalkers and RAF Falcons also performed for the crowd.
The Scampton base has a rich history, going back 100 years to house infamous aircraft With 2018 marking the 100 years since the RAF was founded, you can expect big things at this air show next year.
When and where? 8th - 9th September 2018 at RAF Scampton, near Lincoln, Lincolnshire.
4. Battle of Britain Air Show, IWM Duxford
One of the most spectacular shows of the season is also one of the last; the Battle of Britain Air Show, at Duxford Imperial War Museum. For this year’s performance, celebrating the airfield’s centenary year, over 40 historic planes took to the skies this year, including Gloster Gladiators flanking a Bristol Blenheim, Hawker Hurricanes, and a breath-taking formation of thirteen Spitfires. The show also celebrates international aircraft, with an entire hanger dedicated to American Aviation history, and flyovers from a Hispano Aviacion HA-112 Buchon (painted as a Messerschmitt Bf 109) and Yakovlev Yak-3 Soviet fighter aircraft.
Elsewhere on the airfield you can enjoy a Home Front Village recreation, 1940s musical entertainment and detailed reconstruction of life during the WW2 era. Dressing up in period clothing is encouraged, and the museum offers a fantastic day out for the whole family.
When and where? 22nd - 23rd September 2018, in Duxford, Cambridgeshire.