The incredible sight of a private collection of World War 2 aircraft doing a simulated strafing of St Barths airport
What’s even cooler than owning a superyacht?
Try a private collection of World War 2 fighter aircraft, in pristine working condition and still up for overseas strafing missions.
A daily air show is a feature of the St Barths Bucket superyacht regatta, courtesy of the owner of the Andre Hoek-designed 180ft ketch Marie. This is his collection of war birds, and this year he again brought them from the US, piloted by the Texas Flying Legends.
Every day they fly in formation over the island of St Barths and make a strafing-style fly-past of the airport, which is in any case one of the most dangerous in the world with a steep descent though the notch between two hills. The planes come in at speed and swoop to propeller altitude before climbing steeply back out round the back.
It’s quite a sight, as this video clip above shows.
Marine photographer Tim Wright got these great photos of the aircraft that really capture how low they fly.
To get here, the planes have to fly 2,200 miles from their US base to St Maarten. They join forces with four additional WW2 aircraft from Lewis Air Legends of San Antonio, Texas, making one of the largest fleets of war planes to travel overseas since World War II ended.
The bureaucracy that had to be overcome to get them here is a story in itself: permission from four different countries and reputedly an Act of Congress, not to allow them to leave the US, but to permit these ‘instruments of war’ to re-enter the country again afterwards.
The planes include:
- A B-25J Mitchell Bomber, made famous by the Doolittle Raiders attack on mainland Japan four months after the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbour
- A TBM Avenger 3E torpedo bomber, once flown by Houston native and former US President George Bush
- An FG-1D Corsair, the powerful carrier-based fighter that greatly reduced enemy airpower during World War 2
- P-40K Warhawk
- An A6-M2 Model 21 Japanese Zero, one of only a few Japanese Zeros left flying in the world that was the symbol of Japanese airpower in World War 2.
Above: Last Samurai A6M2 Model 21 Zero.
Blasting over St Barths airport. Quite a crowd on the hill!
This is the Wild Cat FM-2P (we think)
A great shot of the Whistling Death FG-1D Corsair
This is the Aleutian Tiger P-40K Warhawk coming in at speed.
Spectacular climb back out of the airstrip, which is very short…
Another shot of the ‘Last Samurai’ – again showing how low it was being flown
The ‘Betty’s Dream’ B-25J Mitchell