Greetings from Duxford

Greetings from Duxford, England and the Flying Legends Air Show.

Last Wednesday and Thursday I flew locally with check pilots, the goal being to earn a “Display Authorization” or “DA” for the shows this summer commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. My check-out included a sortie to Humberside where my examiner, a former Air Marshal of the RAF and good friend, Cliff Spinks, delivered a Spitfire and retrieved an ME 109. On the way home we learned that our arrival would coincide with a visit to Duxford Airfield by HRH, Prince William, so we simulated a dogfight prior to landing. Poor Cliff made the ultimate sacrifice for the Fatherland, once again. Returning to the hangar of Aircraft Restoration Company, we noticed Prince William (a tall chap) through the back window of a black Jaguar at the center of a full-on motorcade. Cliff and I offered “thumbs up” without straying too far from the centerline, a challenge in a Spitfire as one needs an extra hand to control it on the ground.

“HRH” translates to “his royal highness,” and “ARC” is “Aircraft Restoration Company,” but asking to return to “ARC” on the Duxford ground frequency does you no good. Apparently “ARC” is a sailing vessel described in the old testament, but “A-R-C” (the letters) refers to a fine aviation establishment at the east boundary of Duxford Airfield. And “POB” means persons-on-board, which must be confirmed even for a one-hole fighter. So now you’re briefed and ready to fly at Duxford.