Last weekend I went to this Air Show at the former RAF Church Fenton, setting off early with my Father meant that we managed to avoid most of the early queues and bag a decent spot for our chairs at the front. We both made the trip to have the chance to see theVulcan bomber one last time in the air. I visited a lot of airshows with my Dad when I was younger and the Vulcan was always a favourite, it was nice to be able to take a trip again with my Dad to see out the end of an era.
The Air Show was very well attended with plenty of ground exhibits to look at. The Old Air bases is looking a little run down but it is due a major facelift to bring it back as a commercial airport- that said they’ll need to improve its road links too.
The air displays were very good- expecially with regards to vinage jets and WW2 planes. A Meteor, Vampire, MiG15, Jet Provost and a pair of Gnats gave me my early Cold War fix. Staying with the Cold War era it was nice to see a display by two ‘Nam era helicopters – the Huey and Loach, both in civilian hands. Apparently they are looking to adda Cobra to their collection too. Also we saw no less than three marks of Spitfire, a Hurricane, a P51D (Cadillac of the Skies no less) and a P 40 Warhawk (the first time I had ever seen the latter in flight) from WW2 as well as a C47.
The Star of the show was the Vulcan of course, its distinctive shape and roar of engines was the reason 90%+ of the crowd attended probably. As a treat we saw it in formation with the pair of Gnats too (it was supposed to be a trio but a fatal crash in August meant it was not to be so- the formation gave a surprisingly moving ‘missing man’ tribute to their fallen friend).
As we are now in a post Shoreham world some of the displays were a little tamer compared to the remembered air shows of my youth. The Vulcan too suffered from over regulation, the roar of its engines never seemed to last as long as it used to. A few more modern fast jets to excite the crowd (and sate the Futurist in me) would be all I want to see added to the bill- they will be sorely needed now that XH558 is grounded.
Any way enough waffle I’ll get to the pictures- most are off the ground displays- a combination of poor skills and poor equipment meant my flying shots didn’t come out.