View Full Version : First Airshow Remembered
21st Oct 2003, 17:19
What's the first airshow you remember going to and what aircraft can you remember seeing flying.
Mine is RAF Uphavon, 1962, aged 5.
The only aircraft I can remember flying was a flypast of 3 Lincoln's.
The other earliest recollection I have is seeing Fred's Five, the Royal Navy display team flying 5 Sea Vixon's, but not sure what airshow, it could have been Lee on Solent in 63 or 64.
John (Gary) Cooper
21st Oct 2003, 17:47
Farnborough Air Show 1953/54?, the year after John Derry was killed in his DH110, not quite sure of the date.
DH Comet was the highlight for me
21st Oct 2003, 17:55
Finningley in 1955-56?. Nine Lincolns doing an airfield attack, themselves attacked by Meteors and Vampires, the first Valiant (silver) in the static. Para drops by a Beverley. Some really brightly coloured USAF fighters, F-84s I think.
21st Oct 2003, 18:17
Well you lot were old men when I went to my first.
Farnborough 1974 with my Dad to see Concorde, the SR-71 and the C-5. I still have a couple of very bad photos somewhere I think.
21st Oct 2003, 18:31
I remember going to that Farnborough as well.
I seem to remember a little boy in shorts with a runny nose pointing to Concorde and asking his Dad if that was a Spitfire, WAS THAT YOU ?
21st Oct 2003, 18:44
Must have been 1952, just before the demise of the VRs.
Stoughton Aerodrome, Leicester. (Now known as Leicester East or even Leicester Airport.)
The place was crawling with Sea Furies (1833NAS) and Fireflies from RNAS Bramcote, Meteors from 504 (City of Nottingham) Sqdn. based at Wymeswold and a couple of Vampire FB6s (?) from Honiley. There was also an NF11 - don't know where that was from.
The rest of the display was made up of Austers, Chipmunks, a BAC Drone, a Dart Kitten and similar.
Great day for a young kid who'd cycled five miles there for the privilege.
Sleeve Wing. (You can see now what prompted that !!)
21st Oct 2003, 18:55
North Weald, sometime in the 60s. Dad took some photos and I remember seeing a Vickers Valiant there.
Genghis the Engineer
21st Oct 2003, 19:13
According to Mr and Mrs Genghis Sr. my first airshow was Leuchars at about the age of 3. Apparently I slept through all the jet noise, then woke up and started crying as soon as the noise stopped. Strangely, I still feel the same when aircraft noise stops, particularly if I'm still flying.
Earliest I can remember with any clarity was an Old Warden air-day when I was about 9.
21st Oct 2003, 20:16
An airshow at Wilson Airport, Nairobi around 1970/71. Can remember KAF Caribou doing an assault landing, aerobatics in a Beagle Pup, a mass parachute drop from a Police Air Wing Dak (with one unfortunate landing in the neighbouring Nairobi Game Reserve and being retreived by a Bell 47) and a Chippy chopping up bog-roll, sorry, streamers, with the prop and dead-sticking after the stuff choked the carb intake - I was all of six or seven!
First in this country was the IAT at Greenham Common 1976 - KC-97 in the static most memorable, 25th birthday of the Hunter, plus Upper Heyford's F-111s were in residence while UH got a facelift. Rothmans were there, think poor old Manx Kelly had been lost by then. Peter Philips flew the Islander - and there was the B-17, BoBMF, Mossie, etc, etc...
21st Oct 2003, 20:38
Earliest I remember was either Biggin Hill (late 80's) where my only real memories are of a French Navy Super Frelon taking off rather close to us from the static park and blowing dust into my eye. Those things are huge but from an eight year old's perspecive they're like VTOL 747s! Of course I cant forget the Vulcan that day.
Apart from that, around the same time was Alconbury (although I think that was 1991) watching a display by the USAFE. Very low cloudbase I seem to remember. Best thing was the Herc with the Fulton arms (is that right) that picked up downed pilots. U-2, A-10s etc.
21st Oct 2003, 20:48
My earliest would have been one of the first Duxford shows in the late seventies. I'd have been about eight or nine. The one thing that still stands out was an RAF Jaguar. I stood roughly where the AAM is now and watched him scorching in at about 100 feet from what is now the M11 end, thinking "Wow, how can that be so fast but so quiet?"
And then as he got level with us, I heard him. Oh boy, did I hear him! :eek:
I swore at that moment that one day, I'd fly one. And I did. :ok:
21st Oct 2003, 23:34
1957 Myrtle Beach SC, Shaw(?) AFB Open Day. Got a cockpit sit in an P/F-80 in the static park.
Wasn't near as exciting as first airplane ride the same year in a friend of family's Piper Tri-Pacer.
In the early 50s (AD) I was at a display at Liverpool Speke and the so called Birdman (I think he was French) jumped to his death.
Also I remember seeing a USAF B-29/50 tanker with 3 Voodo's refuelling and they were quite low over the crowd.:ok: :ok:
Weight and Balance
22nd Oct 2003, 08:04
Growing up on airbases, every day was an airshow. The first "official" airshow I remember was about 1960, at CJATC - Rivers Camp to the old timers. Most memorable thing was watching a Tracker fold its wings while taxiing. Other memories include aerobatics by a Chipmunk from the Light Aircraft School, a very shiney and new L182 from AATTS, para drop from several Boxcars (3?), and of course the Golden Hawks. Also flybys by several visitors, including Voodoos and Banshees.
Later that same summer, while visiting relatives in Saskatchewan, I saw the Goldilocks perform at a local fair. That was memorable!
22nd Oct 2003, 12:24
First I remember attending was the 'Air Force Day' show at RNZAF Ohakea in 1981 when I was 5 or 6. I remember hating the jet noise (too loud), watching a Dodge fire tender hooning across the field and being told my father was driving it (or it was the one he drove, I'm not sure just now. If you're reading this Samuel, do you remember?), being brassed off that my elder sisters got to visit the control tower and I didn't, and being terrified by the size and darkness of an F-4's jetpipes (afraid of the dark you see).
20 years and many shows later, at the same place, I was priviledged enough to be about 30 feet off track from the 2sqn Boss' 50ft/480kt final flyby during the ACF disbandment, but that is another thread I think....
22nd Oct 2003, 14:08
I'm busted :O
22nd Oct 2003, 15:28
Gaydon '69? aged 4
Remember vivdly being nearly blown over by some visiting USAF F4Cs as they turned arse end on whilst taxiing out through the crowd. Those were the days!That really got me into aviation!
Some of Dad's slides show some great machines, of interest is a RAE Comet 3B XP915, flying from Bedford's Blind Landing Experimental Unit -a real rarity!!
22nd Oct 2003, 18:20
Duxford, September 1982. We all thought it would be cancelled as it was announced on the wireless on the way up that Douglas Bader had died the night before.
Probably the wettest airshow i've ever been to.
22nd Oct 2003, 19:22
RNAS Lee-on-Solent, 1951, at age five. To be honest I don't remember much about it, but there's a family snapshot somewhere of me (full school uniform including cap) and my father (besuited, trilby-hatted, raincoat on arm) posing in front of a Seafire F.17. I have much clearer memories of the Open Day at Lee that preceded the 1953 Coronation Review of the Fleet, with masses of Fireflies, Sea Furies, Sea Hornets, Attackers. I also remember an FAA solo aerobatics pilot of the time named Kelly, who gave superb demonstrations in a Sea Hawk, including immaculate point-rolls. I believe he was later killed in a Sea Hawk accident near Basingstoke.
SPIT: On the day you posted your message about the French birdman at Speke (his name was Leo Valentin) I was shifting some heaps of books prior to redecorating and came across a long-forgotten copy of his biography, ‘Bird Man’, published in 1955.
22nd Oct 2003, 19:46
BoB display at St. Athan in early 50's - mainly remembered for a fatal accident when a Havard spun into the ground. I also remember them having to push the crowd line back to allow a Valiant to taxi out. The left wing tip still overhung the crowd.
For some reason I have also never forgotten watching an F86 pilot disappearing into the air intake as he did his preflight checks.
There used to be superb funfairs and demonstrations in the hangars. I particularly remember two model Hunters whirling round on a piece of string, driven by compressed air. For 6d. you could fly them by controlling the air supply.
23rd Oct 2003, 01:45
Biggin Hill 1972. It was good in those days!:ok:
23rd Oct 2003, 04:52
My first airshow was Yeovilton 1975 when the pilot was killed climbing out of the Harrier when the ejector seat jettisoned whilst on the ground.
Other early memories of air shows were Greenham Common Aug 1976 for the 25th anniversary of the Hunter with 25 Hunters lined up and Farnborough 1976 with the Concorde G-BBDG, Gulf Air L1011 A40-TY and 5-249 Iranian AF B707.
23rd Oct 2003, 05:30
Roborough (Plymouth) Mid 60's
Shackleton flying with various engines feathered, Vulcan making lots of noise and climbing at what seemed an impossible angle for such a beast, and several Sea Vixens demonstrating the art of air to air refuelling....
None of them actually on the ground of course, as Roborough only had grass runways
Oh, and the sun always seemed to shine (unlike in the 70's)
23rd Oct 2003, 05:46
I was about six when I went to my first airshow (Cosford) and my grandparents took me. It was fab and I decided there and then to join the RF as a pilot. Aaaaahhh the power of the Red Arrows (Gnats in them days) and the Vulcan bomber.
23rd Oct 2003, 15:50
VMC again? You back passing gas?:)
23rd Oct 2003, 16:22
1948 or 49. Yeovilton. Sat in a special enclosure in the front row as my father was flying. He was a test pilot with Westlands. (Strange the things that make indelible impressions, I was curious about the folding chairs and needed a lot of explaining from my mother.)
He was flying a Hurricane, (he had flown them a lot in the war, including a stint in Malta.) Ceiling was about 2,000 feet I think, I remember he did a 'dirty' pass with the cockpit open waving to the crowd and then a low pass with a half loop and roll out disappearing into the cloud base.
25th Oct 2003, 00:56
Open day? Victory celebration? 1st B of B day? 1945?
Anyway a hot day (7 year old overdressed?), traffic jam to get in (petrol rations saved up?), lots of people on foot, or coach trips.
Cant remember any display or static a/c except there was a long line of a/c. Odd that because my a/c recognition was quite good for my age. Had seen a couple of Meteors and knew of the Vampire. Perhaps a/c flying no longer impressed me, having been brought up on the Fens now it was peace time the skies were relatively empty.
Only impression of that day queuing a long time to see in a Lanc . Being not strong enough to move the guns (helped by the guide), so big a craft outside so small inside, lots of bullets belts of them along the sides. Being lifted into the upper turret, that seat must have been the prototype for the Canberra jump seat! Getting across the main spar seemed like scrambling over Beecher's Brook. Of course didn't know what it was just seemed a silly obstacle in the walk way. A radio set and other things, it would another 12 years before I learnt what they did. The cockpit all above eye level and then disappointment at not being allowed in the nose/ bomb aimers position. Then a long way to the ground. Must have been a good day was very tired and the first pleasure trip in dad's car.
I suspect the reason for the sketchy memory was that the one object of the day had been to see where cousin Jim had worked as at that time this was the only way to pay homage to him.
I finally caught up with him this summer in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. (http://www.thai.net.au/photos/Photos.html)
25th Oct 2003, 12:31
My own father is there too.
Yes, I know, I said I saw my father flying in Yeovilton in '48 or '49, I did. My mother married a very fine man after my father was killed in 1945, I am lucky enough to have had two fathers,. both pilots
27th Oct 2003, 04:16
Woodford 1972 or 3?
Took a couple of mates of mine from Australia.
Saw Phantom F4, Lightning ,Vulcan, Mirage, Red Arrows, Hunter.
Standing next to a dad & lad! "dad can planes fly backward's?"
No son! Enter the Harrier!!!!
Best of all, Concorde 002 flypast.......
The Aussies had never seen anything like it. Neither have I!!
27th Oct 2003, 07:31
Shuttleworth Collection around 1960 (I guess). I was only four but we went to so many events at Shuttleworth over the seven years that we lived in Cambridge, I cannot remember them individually.
I would have to wait until I was in my 40s before I understood what those visits meant to my father. As children, we could not understand why the SE5 was so important to him. We knew it from the stories of Biggles of course but it was the machine flown by my father's father, in the RFC in the first war.
By the time my father was taking his children to Shuttleworth, his father was dead and we never knew him. In the early hours of 28th October 1944 (nigh on 59 years ago) a V2.
So, all the air shows at Fairford and Wroughton and Waterkloof Air Force Base, outside Pretoria, South Africa ... all come second to the Shuttleworth collection.
1st Nov 2003, 07:06
On the Sunday a couple of days after my first solo. I thought, hey, I'll go to my first air show now. Trouble was, that was the show at which the Mossie went down. I was learning at EGCC in those days with Dave Duckworth, so I left right away (as did hundreds of others) and drove over to the airport. Luckily Dave was there and free, so we went flying. That saved my flying "career", but I haven't been near an air show since.
1st Nov 2003, 18:14
First display - Baginton 1956
First memories - watching the Stampes and Tigers practice for the Lockheed Aerobatic Trophy from the playground of Baginton Village (Junior) School, when I should have been concentrating on lessons, or so the teacher said at the time........!
1st Nov 2003, 20:05
<<when I should have been concentrating on lessons, or so the teacher said at the time........!>>
Nonsense, Airbedane. Your subsequent career has proven that watching the Lockheed contestants was far more influential. I was a few years behind you (1959) in getting to the Lockheed Trophy weekend. Living in the far south, a schoolboy without transport, Baginton might as well have been on the moon. They were, as you say, magic days.
BTW, do you still want that PA-14 Family Cruiser material? I have it here, and can mail, or maybe you'll be at the SAMS do at Watford on 16th?
USE THE RUDDERS
2nd Nov 2003, 07:44
1981 ish Badminton Airday,
There was a line up of Spitfires there and Douglas Bader was guest of honour.I was 6/7 at the time.
6th Nov 2003, 22:20
Barton July 1996 and RIAT Fairford 1998
Yep i remember that one well too, CirrusMe. I was only 14 at the time the Mosquito went down at Barton. My father was the duty controller that day, i was just a spectator from the tower. I remember what a fantastic display Kevin produced, such a shame. However, it still didn't put me off flying and i aquired my PPL last year aswell as my FISO licence in 2001.
But, the most memorable airshow i can remember being involved in would be the RIAT, Fairford 1998. My father as an air traffic controller has been heavily involved in airshows for many years. He managed to get myself and my brother airside passes with the Follow Me cars. We had been luckily elected to escort the Red Arrows to park after landing. I can never forget the increadable sight of 9 Hawks in sets of three, taxying in behind us through the back window!:cool:
I'd also climbed all over the BBMF lanc and watched a display through the upper fuselage turret aswell as get extremely close to a taxying Stealth Nighthawk, which had to be kept in it's own secretive hangar. We have many fantastic pictures and a video of that memorable day. I have to admit i am extremely lucky and i am evermore appreciative of special airshow days like this one.