Classic Fighters Airshow, Omaka 2011

Classic Fighters Airshow, Omaka 2011

I see it’s been three weeks since my last post. I’ve actually been very busy, including taking lots of photographs. Most of these however have been paid commissions and the images belong to the client. But I hope to remedy that over the next couple of weeks.

This weekend saw a big event in Marlborough: the “Classic Fighters” air show at the Omaka airfield. On one level one might wonder at the sight of adults playing with extremely expensive toys, or dressing up in uniforms and playing soldiers. But I went over on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’ll start with the stars of the show: the aircraft themselves. There’s a wonderful collection of First World War aircraft, including the classic Fokker Dr.I triplane.

Fokker triplane

Here it is lining up to attack a Bristol Fighter:

Classic Fighters

The Bristol survived the encounter, which seemed to please the crew:

Classic Fighter

Next we saw an “Albatross D.Va“. Like most of these oldies, this was a beautifully built reproduction but actually had an authentic restored Mercedes engine.

Classic Fighter

The commentator pointed out how the planes weave about when taxiing, rather like F1 cars in the warmup lap. This is because the pilot can’t see over the engine and must instead look out first one side, then the other. There were no collisions however. The pilot demonstrating this technique is in a Sopworth Triplehound, which entered service in 1917.


It was a grey day, torrential rain on the way over and occasional light showers at Omaka, but nothing that affected the program significantly.  The viewing was excellent. All of these photographs were taken from the midst of the quite large crowd of spectators. 

Next we came to the plane that I travelled over to see.  More correctly, to listen to.  The sound of a Spitfire going past at high speed, only 50 m or so off the ground, is hard to describe.  For petrolheads, it’s sheer delight. It looks beautiful too.



Its rival the Hurricane looked and sounded almost as good:

Hurricane fighter

This next shot is a sight that was not always welcome:


Incidentally, I was using a long lens with no image stabilisation. To get sharp images it is necessary to use quite a short shutter speed.  Trouble is, it freezes the action too well. These shots look a lot better if the propeller is all blurred out.  This next shot is a good example of the problem:

Goodyear Corsair

The pilots knew these planes were on show and made a good job of posing for the cameras.  Look at this next one:

Goodyear Corsair

Like the Spitfire and Hurricane, this Goodyear FG-1D Corsair was an original, not a reproduction.  Incidentally, the Corsair pilot had a few years on him too.


What a great time he was having!

I think that’s enough for this post.  I’ll save the rest of the planes, plus the people dressing up as soldiers, for later.


enjoyed your Omaka post. I had a personal interest in the Sopwith triplane as it is the type of aircraft my Uncle was flying when he was shot down and killed in Belgium 7 July 1917. I had always wanted to see the sircraft up close.

I hate to be arrogant, but what you said was a Hurricane is in fact a P-51D Mustang. Also the Triplane “lining up a shot at the Bristol” ironically is a British version of the DR.I. Just being informative!! Cheers

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