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.