4:20 in the Sea Fury today. Completely and utterly fantastic! The acceleration on takeoff is fantastic, it feels like the plane leaps into the air. We did a couple of low passes at cruise power, and just by diving from 1500 feet in the circuit we attained 300 kts! Our route was Kjeller outside Oslo, via Wilhelmshaven for a fuel stop, and to Duxford. Utterly spectacular all the way! We cruised at 30 inches MP and 1900 RPM, that gave us 220-230 kts IAS and a fuel burn of 65-70 gph. Max continuous is something like 56 inches and 2600 RPM, which should result in spectacular speed and spectacular fuel consumption!

I’ve known this for a while since I started flying vintage planes, but it was nice to get confirmation in the Fury: I am sorry to have to shoot down all those who claim Oleg’s flight models in the IL-2 series to be the best of all time. They are completely rubbish. The Sea Fury is completely and utterly stable, and with the help of servo tabs, the control loads are light at all speeds. There is almost no adverse yaw, so there is surprisingly little use for the rudder other than during takeoff and landing. In many ways it flew like a jet. No wonder, since the Fury in many ways was the link between piston fighters and the first jets. In IL-2, planes will instantly flick the moment you pull a little too hard. No feeling of stability whatsoever. And no feeling of power. This plane just screams POWER the moment you open the throttle!

Pilot in command was John Dodd, captain at British Airways and experienced Sea Fury, Mustang and Spitfire pilot.

As we flew over the Netherlands we talked about how it would have been to fight in these machines. The Sea Fury isn’t that far removed from a Tempest, which was what Pierre Clostermann flew. If you have read The Big Show you will know that he was stationed in the Netherlands in 1945, and flew around the area we passed through, in his Tempest. Just imagine going flat out downhill at 500 mph trying to catch a V-1!

All in all a fantastic experience! And it just reaffirmed my goal to one day fly a Spitfire or a Mustang solo.

In all my years I've never seen the like. It has to be more than a hundred sea miles and he brings us up on his tail. That's seamanship, Mr. Pullings. My God, that's seamanship!