Huw Hopkins – Deputy Editor

The rapturous purr of Merlin engines along with the sight of Spitfires wheeling and dancing in a summer sky have a tendency to capture the imagination of young and impressionable minds. This was certainly the case with me at the 2003 edition of The Fighter Collection’s annual Flying Legends airshow at Duxford, when that afternoon’s aerial displays sparked in me something of an obsession with historic aviation – one which has lasted over half of my 25 years.

An endless production line of plastic model kits soon followed, as did ever expanding bookshelves. As my interest gathered pace I became conscious of the human stories behind the aircraft and their wider historical context; the pioneering aviators who made the first tentative steps into powered flight and turning man’s dream of flight into reality, the trailblazers pushing the envelope of performance and broadening horizons with ever longer flights, contributing to shrinking the world inconceivably in such a short space of time, and the knights of the air taking to the aerial battleground as aviation revolutionised conflicts irrevocably. Delving into the past and attending airshows really began to make this history come alive.

Through immersing myself in these events over the following years I also became aware of the driving force behind the aeroplanes that I saw fly, a dedicated and distinct preservation scene comprised of incredibly driven people in various organisations; restorers, engineers, owners, pilots, airshow teams, museum staff, historians, photographers and enthusiasts – I have gained huge respect for the numerous feats they have achieved and continue to strive towards. The myriad organisations and individuals pushing the vintage scene into the future are vital to safeguarding the history, in order to educate generations current and future, as well as to provide a lasting living memorial to the achievements and sacrifices of the people involved in aviation, both in war and peace.

To that end The Vintage Aviation Echo serves as an output for my interest in aviation history and as a platform to better support the preservation scene – in some small way – by highlighting the fine work it accomplishes, as some small thanks for the continued enjoyment it provides me with.

If you ever take an interest in what we produce – if you may learn from it, feel enthused or are inspired by it – it will all have been worth it.

Huw's Articles

P-51B ‘Berlin Express’ begins transatlantic crossing

P-51B ‘Berlin Express’ begins transatlantic crossing

Comanche Warbirds’ P-51B Mustang Berlin Express has departed its base in the USA and is currently undertaking a mammoth 5,470 mile journey across the North Atlantic to star at Duxford’s prestigious Flying Legends airshow. Final preparations were made in the days leading up to this epic voyage. A successful warm-up flight in Ed Shipley’s hands saw the… Read more

Shuttleworth Camel makes maiden flight

Shuttleworth Camel makes maiden flight

On the afternoon of Thursday, 18 May 2017 The Shuttleworth Collection’s Sopwith Camel F.1 reproduction took to the skies for the first time, marking the culmination of a 22-year project. Read more

Shuttleworth Camel makes maiden flight

Shuttleworth Camel makes maiden flight

On the afternoon of Thursday, 18 May 2017 The Shuttleworth Collection’s Sopwith Camel F.1 reproduction took to the skies for the first time, marking the culmination of a 22-year project. The Camel was manufactured by the renowned Northern Aeroplane Workshops (NAW) of Batley, West Yorkshire and has the distinction of being the last aircraft to be constructed… Read more

3 Hurricanes for Old Warden

3 Hurricanes for Old Warden

The arrival of recently restored Hawker Hurricane Mk.II P3717 at Old Warden aerodrome on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 marks the first time in many years that three Hurricanes have resided at the same airfield. Read more

3 Hurricanes for Old Warden

3 Hurricanes for Old Warden

The arrival of recently restored Hawker Hurricane Mk.II P3717 at Old Warden aerodrome on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 marks the first time in many years that three Hurricanes have resided at the same airfield. The Shuttleworth Collection’s unique Sea Hurricane had been the sole example of the type based at Old Warden for almost two… Read more