As part of my Daks over Normandy week , Pt-2 of my blog contains the rest of the UK assembled Dakotas at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
It was early doors for me on the Sunday to take the short trip to nearby Duxford airfield to witness the rest of the USA contingent and the arrival of the European operators of this iconic transport plane the Dakota.
Once on the airfield it was action from the word go as one of the Aircraft started to taxi to the end of the runway, Miss Virginia, in all of its white top and natural metal underside a good start to the day, saying that I noticed later that my ISO settings were set to high, managed to retrieve the detail later on in post processing, good old Lightroom. after that I started walking the full length of the airfield and picking the rest off the aircraft of as I was walking down towards the end of the line up.
The Dakotas were in two rows between gate A and gate C, with gaps in between each aircraft, a zoom lens between 200-3oomm was ideal for this, mind you there were big enough gaps anyway as 7 of the Dakotas were away at Old Warden, this gave you a chance to get good 3/4 side on shots of the aircraft. During the morning a couple of the Dakotas were on a sight seeing mission and air to air opportunities for the lucky ones, those got cash to burn.
Just after lunch the European contingent started to arrive, first in was a C-47 from Denmark, still in its marking’s of the Danish Airforce, very nice indeed, that followed a couple of hours later by a Russian built version of the Dak, Li-2, in the colours of Malev Airlines, this is a rare aircraft to see. Shortly after that another rare Dakota came in wearing the markings of Finnish airlines, then it was the turn of the 7 Dakotas to return that were at Old Warden for their June airshow. By now I had walked down towards the end of the line up to capture some different angles of the 7 returnees , as I photographed them the day before, as with Old Warden they did a 7 ship run and brake before wheels down on base leg for the final landing in turn. Shortly after that it was the turn of the remaining European aircraft to access the approach to runway 25.
Once all of the Dakotas had landed it was a quick walk back towards the exit taking a few more images for my collection as the light this time of day is in your favour, saying that the sun was in and out all day. so it made no odds which way you photographed them. I had a great time at Duxford, probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to see 22 Dakotas, many rare machines indeed in one day, I wish them all well for all the operators that took part in this gathering ,as well as a safe journey onwards to France on the 6th June to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. This is one day I will remember for a long time.