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Every year, the Chateau Impney Hill Climb is proud to welcome the RAF to the event, and 2018 was no different. In 2018 we were treated to flypasts from the C-47 Dakota and a Hawker Hurricane.
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain, or ‘Dakota’, was a US aircraft and was an adaptation of a civilian plane. With additions such as a cargo door, a hoist attachment, and a strengthened floor, it become one of the most extensively used military transport aircrafts amongst the Allies and was so successful that it is still in active service today. The C-47 was used for dropping paratroopers, and this was particularly noticeable in the D-Day landings of June 1944. Approximately 50,000 paratroopers were dropped by C-47 during this crucial manoeuvre.
It is believed that the nickname ‘Dakota’ came from the British and Commonwealth troops who flew these planes on ‘lend-lease’. It came from the acronym Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft- DACoTA.
The Hawker Hurricane was a British built single seater aircraft, manufactured during the 1930s and 1940s. In total, 14000 Hurricanes were manufactured before the end of production in 1944. It was the RAF’s first monoplane fighter and first fighter to exceed 300mph, and so was quite revolutionary in its design. The aircraft was also produced en masse in Ontario, Canada, following the Munich Crisis in 1938, when it became increasingly apparent that violence could erupt. Planes were then shipped from Canada for the Battle of Britain.
The Hurricane is often overshadowed in the public memory by the Spitfire, but in fact was responsible for 60% of the total losses sustained by the Luftwaffe during the conflict.
Both of these aircrafts now form part of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flights, which were launched after the Second World War to ensure that the surviving planes would be kept in the air. The Lancaster Bomber was the most successful heavy bomber of the war, and we were lucky enough to be treated to a flyover from one of these fantastic machines in 2017. The Hurricane also visited the Chateau Impney in 2016, alongside the Spitfire.
Over the years, we have enjoyed a variety of aerial entertainment in the shape of both the Red Devils and the Red Arrows. The Red Devils are the official display team of the Parachute Regiment, who jump from a height of 13,000 feet, and perform a number of impressive manoeuvres before opening their parachutes to land before the crowds. The Red Arrows equally delighted crowds, as they performed iconic flyover in their instantly recognisable red aircrafts.
At the inaugural Chateau Impney Hill Climb in 2015, we were proud to present Rich Goodwin and his Pitts Special S2S 'Muscle Biplane'. Rich, a former Royal Air Force pilot, had extensively modified his distinctive biplane to give it enhanced capabilities, allowing him to perform a unique and extraordinary brand of aerobatics. Spectators enjoyed incredible moves such as the double-hammerhead, complete torque rolls, high-alpha passes and the amazing Tower of Power.
To find out more about the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, visit the RAF website.
Please note that all air displays are subject to good weather and optimum flight conditions.