Legendary low-flying Spitfire wins Freddie March Concours

Aviation | Press Article 16/04/24

Staged at the Goodwood Revival from 7 – 9 September, the 2018 Freddie March Spirit of Aviation Concours d’Elegance featured an array of stunning aircraft, built up to 1966. In celebration of the Royal Air Force’s centenary, many in the display were military aircraft.

The judging panel comprised Lieutenant Governor of Jersey Sir Stephen Dalton, former fighter pilot Colin McGregor, former UK Military representative to NATO Sir Christopher Harper, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff Andrew Turner and Director of Aviatrice Ltd and Goodwood Aerodrome ambassador Pauline Vahey.

Fittingly at the 20th anniversary of the first Revival meeting, it was Spitfire MkIX MH424, the aircraft which Ray Hanna famously flew down Goodwood’s pit straight below the height of the grandstands, that was awarded top honours. Generously displayed by Sarah Hanna, MH434 is now 76-years-old and has a prolific wartime record, as well an unbroken post-war history. It has been on display at every Revival and flies before an adoring crowd over the annual cricket match at Goodwood House on the Thursday before.

Taking second place in the Concours was the Shuttleworth Collection’s 1939 Westland Lysander, G-CCCM, a beautiful aircraft that was used by 225 Army Co-operation Squadron for clandestine operations during WWII. After being transferred to Canada and the sold privately in the USA, the Lysander returned to its current owners for restoration in the UK. The Aircraft Restoration Company has been preparing the Lysander for its appearance at the FMSoA Concours and only completed their final touches on the Wednesday before the event.

The judges awarded the third prize to another aeroplane presented by the Aircraft Restoration Company, L6739, a stunning 1943 Bristol Blenheim MkI. Extensively rebuilt from an original MkIV, this Blenheim first flew with a new airframe in 1993, following an accident. A second accident resulted in a further rebuild, this time with a new nose and the conversion to a MkI specification, with the Blenheim taking to the skies again in 2014.

Pauline Vahey said; “It was a real privilege to be asked to be a judge. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge to choose one aircraft that embodied not only the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation but also the spirit of RAF 100. It was tough with so many iconic aeroplanes in such good condition, but I hope we chose well and the public agreed with us. I also want to thank my fellow judges for their support and for making it fun.”

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About Goodwood Aerodrome

Goodwood Aerodrome was originally created to assist the War effort. Known as RAF Westhampnett, the busy fighter station was active from July 1940 as a Battle of Britain airfield, through to May 1946.

Now home to some 100 aircraft, ranging from vintage Warbirds to modern rotary and fixed wing aircraft, Goodwood Aerodrome is known for its picturesque setting and is popular with visiting pilots. The Goodwood Flying School provides tuition for those learning to fly, including the PPL, LAPL and FI student, as well as one-off flight experiences to suit a variety of budgets.

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