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.
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 !!)
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.
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...
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.
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!
I swore at that moment that one day, I'd fly one. And I did.
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.
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!
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....
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.
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.
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.