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SPITFIRE AND MESSERSCHMITT DUEL IN THE FESTIVAL SKY

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 Buchon in wartime Luftwaffe markings

Two iconic fighters from the early 1940’s will take to the air at the Festival  of Flight on 14th June for a duel in the sky above Biggin Hill, a simulated aerial dogfight between two former foes.

The battle will be between a former RAF Spitfire with Test Pilot Dan Griffiths at the controls and a Messerschmitt Bf 109, the type in front line service with the Nazi Luftwaffe throughout World War II.  The German fighter will be flown by Paul Bonhomme, an experienced display pilot and Red Bull air racing champion.

The simulated dogfight will provide a historic re-enactment of the scene at RAF Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 when Spitfires and Hurricanes were engaged in daily combat with the Luftwaffe in the defence of London.

Event Organiser Colin Hitchins says that the pilots in these two famous fighter types will create a convincing and realistic air battle scenario for spectators.

“Operating at low level over the display line, we shall experience the sound and the fury of air combat that was a regular daily occurrence 74 years ago in the skies above Kent between these two types. They are broadly similar in performance” says Mr Hitchins. 

The duel in the sky will take place during the afternoon period.  Later during the day,  the RAF Aerobatic Team ‘The Red Arrows’ will mark their 50th flying season with a full display at the airport where the original team flew their first ever UK display in May 1965.

For further information and for the Festival Ticket Office – www.BHFOF.com

Notes:

  • The Spitfire is an Mk IX owned by Peter Monk and based at Biggin Hill Airport with the Heritage Hangar.
  •  The Messerscmitt Bf 109, known as the Buchon version, is powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine and was formerly operated by the Spanish Air Force.  It was flown for the making of the film ‘Battle of Britain’ in 1969 and is now operated by the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
  •  The Spitfire was the only British fighter to continue in production throughout WWII.  A total of 22,500 were constructed.  The prototype first flew at Southampton’s Eastleigh airfield on 5th October 1936.
  •  The Messerschmitt Bf 109 first flew in September 1935.  Despite a production run of over 30,000 of the type, very few genuine German versions have survived today.