England’s Goodwood Revival draws thousands of vintage motorsport aficionados from around the world each September, but anyone whose interests include historic aircraft could be forgiven for thinking the event’s main attraction is overhead. While multi-million dollar Ferraris, Jaguars, and Cobras breathe life to the paddock and track, the Revival experience is turned into a 360-degree sensation by Second World War-era aircraft both displayed on the ground and flying above.
The Goodwood Circuit itself winds around the circumference of the historic WWII RAF Westhampnett airfield, so it is no surprise that the Revival takes on a certain aeronautical flavour. The level of commitment, however, turns out to be much more than an acknowledging nod to the past. The Freddie March Spirit of Aviation display is an integral part of Revival festivities, and regularly features historically significant aircraft that were involved in pivotal moments in military history. These aircraft are on display for Revival attendees to examine up close and personal over the entire weekend, while groups of bombers and fighters fly in formation or re-enact dogfights as thunderous intermission between races on the circuit below.
For 2015, the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. This meant a staggering total of 22 Supermarine Spitfires of various sub-types were on hand, as well as seven Hawker Hurricanes and the one and only air-worthy Blenheim Bomber. The Blenheim’s restoration was so authentic that each and every bolt on the aircraft was not only assembled, but produced, in the United Kingdom. Not surprisingly, it received the coveted Freddie March Spirit of Aviation award at the conclusion of the festival. Following the Revival, all of these planes took to the air at once for a dramatic flypast that marked the largest congregation of vintage aircraft since the war itself.
This past Revival was also notable for launching a completely new Aerodrome at the Circuit. In addition to allowing individuals the luxury of landing their private aircraft on the airfield, or booking a flight experience above the West Sussex countryside, the Aerodrome offers a full flight school and maintenance support.
At the Revival, the aircraft are such an essential component that one can’t help but feel a palpable connection between the history of the warbirds and the explosion of increasingly powerful motor racing cars that emerged in the post-war era.
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