(ABOVE) Homeward bound after a successful weekend in the Czech Republic.

The biennial airshow at Roudnice Nad Labem, north of Prague in the Czech Republic, has, over the past 10 years, become something of a regular 'must see' amongst the Breighton 'Set'. As a result good friendships have been forged with a small group of locals who organise the sight-seeing itinerary for their British visitors; a heady mix of aviation, cultural pursuits and alcohol! Naturally, the hospitality is reciprocated at Breighton during non-airshow years!

This year's event, held June 25th-26th, was set to mark the end of the Second World War with Breighton's warbirds pretty much taking centre stage alongside the Dutch B-25 Mitchell bomber, a Swiss T-28 and genuine DB powered '109 (sadly the latter was a no show). Other highlights set to appear included 2x Mig 21's - a type at the very end of its service life (these would be teamed up with the Mustang for an unbelievable formation piece), numerous Soviet designed/inspired helicopters, the latest Czech military hardware in the sombre shape of a three-ship Saab Grippen display, RAF Odiham's Chinook and RAF Wittering's Harriers. However, before enjoying that little lot, I had to actually get there... not by 737, but by P-51 Mustang courtesy of Taff!

(ABOVE) Fresh out of Breighton looking towards the Humber estuary. (BELOW) Forward view for the next few hundred miles - on finals into Liège for fuel with the canopy pulled back - cool, fresh air at last!

(ABOVE) The Mustang's faster cruise speed meant that we were the first into Liège, however, Brian and the Hurricane were only about 15 minutes behind.

The plan was to fly south to Dover and cross the Channel to Calais - that explained the Mae West, Taff explained that ditching in the sea wouldn't be an option and we'd be taking to the silk should we find ourselves in difficulty... gulp! Thankfully the vest and 'chute were not needed and we continued, as planned, across France towards Belgium.

3 and a bit hours after our dawn take-off from Breighton we approached Liège in Belgium, around half way distance between Breighton and Roudnice. The tower requested a flypast, but only after a hovering Belgian Army Augusta helicopter cleared the field (Liège is part military airbase). The chopper pilot was having none of it, realising that his fortunate position would give him a grandstand view of Taff's spectacular arrival, a very enthusiastic "Woooooow! Very nice, thank you!" crackled through the headset as the helicopter departed.

(ABOVE) Fueling-up and setting off again. 5 minutes out and we catch up with Brian - a quick wave and that's it until we reach our destination.

(BELOW) On the ground at Roudnice - before we had time to catch our breath a video crew were taping a minicam into the Mustang, Taff happily obliged and took the Mustang back into the air - I must get a copy of this video!!

(ABOVE) Left - Brian recruits a prime candidate for the Buchon post! Right - Saturdays huge crowd await the Rebublic's president.

(ABOVE) This wasn't the oddest formation piece at Roudnice, but it was the most exciting! The MiG-21MF's from 211th Tactical Squadron based at Cáslav Air Force Base are due to be phased out this year. (BELOW) The Mustang and B-25 on press day.

(Below) Some of the other participating aircraft.

Ae 270

L-200 Morava

MIL MI-24

Aero C-104 S (Jungmann)

Yak 11

Albatros

T-28 Trojan

Pilatus P2

German Pizza delivery!

(BELOW) Preparing for the paired fly-by and departure from Roudnice - the Hurricane just visible as we cut the corner to catch Brian up. In no time at all we're alongside, Brian prefers the right hand (perfect for the picture opportunity at the head of the page) side so we swap places and close up for the run in (note ten degrees of flap on the Mustang on the last image).

(ABOVE) Left - Amazingly theatrical hills and mountains surround the airfield at Roudnice, apparently formed from limestone that has been forced upwards by movement beneath the Earth's crust. This particular example has a ruined building at its peak. Right - We opted to fly above the clag and on to the promised broken cloud over Liège - 200 miles later and we were getting cabin fever! Luckily Taff spotted a hole in the cloud and ably demonstrated the agility and speed of our charge by spiralling through it and into the German valley below - can we do that again please!!!

(ABOVE) Over the Thames estuary and... (BELOW) back to Breighton for one last fly-by and the end of a truely epic journey!

Many thanks to Taff and Brian for allowing me to share in their aviation adventures, thanks to the Breighton Service Crew - in particular to Les for making getting to and from the airfield a doddle, and to Andy and Dave for putting me up in their hotel room.