Monday, 11 November 2013

The planes! The planes!

Today is Armistice Day. I’ve been to the battlefields of Passchendaele and Gallipoli. Standing there on that ground, you can’t help but get somewhat emotional and even now when I think about it, the same emotions come over me. ANZAC Day has more importance here as our remembrance day, but Armistice Day certainly isn’t overlooked. So to remember this year, a group of us headed to down to Cambridge for the Armistice in Cambridge show as part of our personal remembrance. The theme at the show would be the War in the Pacific and the events were spread over two days.

Before I get into the show, I thought I would post this picture. It has always had a lot of meaning for me. It was taken as the sun set over ANZAC Cove on 24th April 2010, just as I was starting my volunteer work there.

P1010239 Lest we forget.

Now on to the show…. it was a mix of static displays, re-enactments and aerial displays. Of course, we were mainly there for the aircraft :)

The weather had been somewhat dubious during the week, but cleared up for the weekend (so it seemed in Auckland anyway…..). Arriving in Cambridge, we found the weather was somewhat overcast, but it eventually burnt off and the sun certainly started to heat up. The cloud cover made for some interesting photography though.

After standing between Rob and Lee at Classic Fighters and feeling somewhat inadequate was the whole reason why I got my nice new camera – to take pictures of aeroplanes! I’d been looking forward to this :) So…. without further ado, on to the pics from the show!

First up was the Boeing Stearman
Boeing Stearman  Boeing Stearman    Boeing Stearman
Then came the L-4 Grasshopper…
 Grasshopper  Grasshopper 
Next was the Tiger Moth…. who started of with a very impressive feat of flying. According to the commentary, very few pilots are actually qualified (let alone skilled enough) to do this:
Tiger MothTiger Moth  Tiger Moth 
From here, the pilot put on a great show in a great little aircraft. This included a stunt known as the “Falling Leaf”. The stunt was hard to capture in pictures, but is basically a stall where the plane falls, well, like a leaf. Anyway some more pictures of the Tiger Moth:
Tiger Moth Tiger Moth Tiger Moth Tiger Moth Tiger Moth    

An airshow wouldn’t be complete without some crazy stunt pilot. This guy is around 70yrs of age… Here’s the Pitts Special doing its thing:
   Pitts Special Pitts Special Pitts Special  Pitts Special 

Then along came one of the main stars of the show…...the P-40 Kittyhawk! This photo turned out just perfect:

A few more…. the “Roar of the Kittyhawk”
P-40P-40 P-40  P-40


It’s always impressive to see and Frank Parker flies it well.

But…. the Kittyhawk was followed up by that magnificent sound of a merlin engine as Graeme Bethell roared through fast and low. Bought back some memories of sitting in the back of it for my own flight earlier in the year!

P-51 P-51 P-51


Initially, I didn’t like this one, but the more I look at it…. the more I like it, even though I haven’t quite got the positioning right.


Same with this one…. can’t really see much detail on the P-51, but thought it gave a nice silhouette look:
The DC-3 also made a short appearance…

DC-3 DC-3

And with an even shorter appearance…. the RNZAF P-3 Orion (good to see Steve has been busy). With only one pass and lots of dark cloud the photos didn’t turn out very well….

P-3 Orion
The Grumman Avenger was supposed to flying up from Christchurch on the Sunday and this was one of the other aircraft we were keen to see. Bad weather between Christchurch and Cambridge meant this flight had to be cancelled. Disappointing as it also didn’t make it to Classic Fighters. No doubt we will see it at some point though.

The other big draw card for this event were the various re-enactments with quite a range being organised. Huge round of applause to all the re-enactors who put all this together… not only the battles, but all the equipment and display camps etc. Very impressive to see. I’ll just put a few photos of the battles up as I’m hoping to get some software later in the week to play around with turning some of the photos into black and white.
Romans or Norsemen:
Romans and Auxila Clash Romans Norseman Single Combat Norsemen take cover from archers Slave beats Gladiator
NZ Wars – Militia Armed Constabulary:
Militia Militia Mortar FIx bayonets!

Boer War – NZ Mounted Rifles come to the rescue of a British supply camp:
Boer takes aimAlarm! Vickers opens up Dynamite! NZ Mounted Rifles Boers on the defensive

WW1 – ANZAC forces land at Gallipoli (Steam Pinnaces were used to tow the boats with the troops into shore for a landing, similar to what was done during the actual Gallipoli landings:
The landing begins Turkish soldier ANZAC ANZAC Charge!

WW2 – Russian Front:
German forces Russian's charging forward Russian soldier New boots!

WW2 – Western Front:
German MG-34 Allied Troops British Para Allied Troops US Para British Para

WW2 – The Pacific Theatre:
NZ troops land Japanese soldier Allied troops advance 60mm Mortar fires Banzai!

Off course there’s always one…. funny looking “weapon” that US Marine is aiming in the background…..
Lots of great explosions and general pyrotechnics all round :)

Just a selection of pics from the various re-enactor camps and of the vehicles around the place. I tried getting a little creative in places… :)
Katana Roman shield LRDG Truck Carving it up LRDG Carving it up some more German kit German Fallschirmjager German Fallschirmjager Roman Legionnaire German emplacement German kit German emplacement 25pdr Saracen APC 30cal Saracen APC APC Steam Pinnace Japanese soldier WW1 German Trench Russian camp Captured Japanese kit Beer!
Basically just works of art…. if only my modeling skills were as good! The photos are a little dark as I hadn’t turned the flash power back up, but really needed a tripod for some decent photos.
Model Model Model Model Model Model Model


Overall, it was pretty good weekend and $20 well spent ($10 entry each day) for a full days entertainment. Had thought there would be more vehicles there, but not sure they’re allowed after previous noise complaints? May have that wrong though. Event seemed a little disorganised, but the the weather disrupting the flights seemed to be handled okay. Oh, and what happened to the firing of the 25 pounder!?!?

Would we go back…. well for the cost and the fact its not far away, then most definitely.

Would definitely recommend popping in next year if you’re interested. Enjoy and look out for some more pics later in the week.