Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Last of the Few

This dramatic documentary provides an engine-roaring insight into the sky bound travails of the Battle of Britain memorial flight. We look at the men, the Merlins and the machines that comprise this prestigious team.

In the immediate post-war era, it became traditional for a Spitfire and a Hurricane to lead the Victory Day flypast over the city of London. From this annual aviation commemoration, the idea of forming a collection of flyable aircraft arose. Initially intended to remember the Royal Air Force’s major battle honour, the Battle of Britain, it later broadened its scope to commemorate all of the major aviation campaigns of the Second World War.

In 1957, our fearless flyers first joined forces, and the Historic Aircraft Flight was born at Biggin Hill. The aircrew on the flight is comprised entirely of volunteers, all of whom perform their primary duties on such front-line types as Typhoon, Jaguar and Boeing E3D AWACs or on training aircraft such as the Super King Air. The organisation now occupies a well earned place among the best-known historic aircraft collections in the world. It maintains a Lancaster, a Dakota, five Spitfires, two Hurricanes and two Chipmunks – all in perfectly flyable condition.

On the 50th anniversary of their union, we watch them fly the world’s most famous planes at the 2007 Biggin Hill Airshow. In their Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters, they recreate the desperate and crucial aerial battles of summer 1940. It is a dramatic opportunity to explore the RAF’s astounding history, and a chance to remember the plucky pilots who outfought a determined enemy in southern England’s war-torn skies.


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