The Historic Aircraft Collection’s popular ‘At Home’ events for the 2019/20 winter season, broadening the opportunities afforded to historic aviation enthusiasts to view this stunning fleet of vintage aeroplanes up close.
Early October in the UK heralds the curtain call for the airshow season, with activity in the historic scene winding down on the whole as the time for annual inspections and maintenance takes hold until the following spring. These six or so intervening months can be quiet for the enthusiast – it is a very seasonal hobby – or at least it was, as there are a growing number of events of a different nature being held during this ‘off-season’. By far the most anticipated of these are hosted by the HAC at IWM Duxford, who have held their At Home days since 2015. Over the past few years, these events have blossomed and allow unprecedented insight into one of the world’s finest collections of historic aeroplanes.
At home is precisely how visitors are made to feel during these events and for the day you will be welcomed into the HAC team. Each event follows the same format, beginning with visitors being welcomed into the HAC workshop at Duxford with refreshments. Here the team is introduced, from technical and admin staff to engineers, ground crew and pilots, before the designated talk is given. Following this, there is the opportunity to move through to Hangar 3, where the Collection’s aircraft are housed, for a guided tour. Close-up access is granted to each of the aircraft, with steps placed to allow viewing of the Nimrod and Fury cockpits, as well as the opportunity to step onto the wing of the Hurricane and sit in the cockpit of Spitfire Mk.Vb BM597. All the while the team are on hand to chat and answer questions, including HACs pilots, who can give an insight into flying these magnificent aircraft. After some time in the hangar, everyone reconvenes in the workshop for refreshments and a final question and answer session. Spaces are strictly limited to allow everyone the opportunity to engage with the team and for a more relaxed atmosphere – well worth the £75 ticket price.
The special themes for the events in the 2019/20 winter season are listed with dates as follows:
19 October 2019 – DH-9 to the Skies
The return to flight of the DH-9 is one of the most momentous achievements in historic aircraft preservation. The first event of the season will offer the opportunity to hear about the discovery and restoration of the aeroplane by Guy Black as well as unique insight into test flying the aircraft from ‘Dodge’ Bailey. The event will also feature the opportunity to purchase the recently released book on the project and have it signed by both Guy and Dodge themselves.
19 November 2019 – Polish Bomber Squadrons of World War Two
Lesser well known than their fighter contemporaries, the Polish Airmen’s Association Chairman, Artur Bildziuk, will shine a light on the history of the Polish bomber squadrons that flew in Britain.
7 December 2019 – The Polish Heritage Flight
Dave ‘Harvs’ Harvey will give a presentation on his experiences flying the HAC fleet, including anecdotes from displaying the aircraft at some of the world’s most prestigious airshows, flying long distance trips into Europe and even to Moscow, taking part in the filming of Polish ‘Dywizjon 303’ (303 Squadron) movie in 2016 and overflying the opening of the new Polish Airforce Memorial in Normandy in 2019.
25 January 2020 – The role of the Polish Air Force in Britain during World War Two
Strong ties between Poland and the HAC have stemmed from Spitfire BM597’s time serving with 315 & 317 Polish RAF Squadrons during the war. Over the years many Polish airmen have been hosted and past pilots of BM597 re-united with the aircraft, the majority of whom have sadly passed on. The ties still endure to this day, however, as both the Hurricane and Spitfire have attended events in Poland over recent years and the Hurricane is currently resplendent in 303 Sqn markings. Chairman of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, Richard Kornicki CBE DL, will present a talk on the role of Polish airmen in Britain during the Second World War. Incidentally, Richard’s father, Squadron Leader Franciszek Kornicki, was one of those pilots who flew BM597 during squadron service.
29 February 2020 – The 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain
Curator and Historian of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge, Dave Brocklehurst MBE, will outline how the museum’s volunteers will be commemorating the anniversary and will detail the recent acquisition of Heinkel He-111H-16, the ongoing restoration of the Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV as well as several other exciting projects in the pipeline.
28 March 2020 – de Havilland Mosquito
With Retrotec in the early stages of work on The People’s Mosquito, Managing Director John Lilley will talk about the project and the role of 307 (Polish) Sqn who flew Mosquito’s during the war.
Make sure you don’t miss these unique insights into the HAC and subjects relating to their unique array of aircraft. To keep up to date, keep an eye on the HAC website, Facebook and Twitter pages. To book a place on any of the above dates or for more information, either e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01580 830 215. Remember, places are strictly limited, so book early to avoid disappointment!