Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
I recently seen on a website somewhere that RMB Chivenor is hosting an Air Day - does anybody know if this is true. Remember reading of a show a few years back their, being the first time RAF Jet aircraft came back to Chivenor...if anyone can shed any light on the matter that would be great.
Its good to see a few old WW2 'strips' are holding small airshows also in 2004 ie: Boxted airfield (old P47 Thunderbolt base) & Chailey in Surrey i think, but it is nice some of these WW2 airfields / strips are having a sort of nostalgic day open to the public...
The last Chivenor Open Day, with fixed wing participation, as far as I am aware (Not Air Day, as it is a RM base:-)was July 2000. As is always the case, the weather the day before was glorious, with a couple of Hunters demonstrating the 'Blue note' in a pre-match practice, set against a beautifully blue, clear, N. Devon sky.
The actual day was classic warm sector conditions with a limited flypro; Tonka, Tucano, Sea King (of course) Merlin 3, some vintage participation and others, (sorry, can't remember them all). The Red Arrows had to divert into St Athan? due to wx, and one of the team had a major engine snag on the way down with a diversion somewhere else. The Army and RM also done good with some top static military stuff.
As a result of the poor weather, the crowds were well down on expected numbers and financially it was a close run thing. As I recall, the runway was declared unfit for further use by FW soon afterwards, as it was breaking up. I would be suprised if there is another Day like it, as it costs a lot of money to put on.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Yes, ok - sorry. Just that I remember the excellent Chiv air days of my youth with lots of different types of ac and mass Hunter formations etc. Whereas now its usually just one or two fast jest if you're lucky, a couple of helos (who probably display for longer than the FJs - hence the genpubs' gratitude), the Pink Tarts and whichever civvies they can afford. Hardly a particularly impressive occasion for the 'shareholders'?
RIAT used to be the other extreme - so much going on that it was impossible to see everything on static and watch the flting displays. But now even that has received very poor feedback for its weak displays, excessive prices and the 'us and them' culture of VIPs and proles. So much so that the genpub appear to have voted with their feet last year....
Good thing 'bout helos in flying displays is they can get nice 'n close to the crowd and hover in front of the masses (except for Farnboro and RIAT!). The bigger and noisier the chopper (ooh er missus) the better - I think the Scout last year at OW was great and the Yeovilton and Middle Wallop bashes with loads of helos are always appreciated by Mr & Mrs public and their 2.4. Jets these days have to adhere to so many R'nR that they soon become so distant as to be mere dots on the horizon plus these days they're mainly all grey, unmarked and similar.
Display slot time is similar for most solo items, 5-8 minutes average but extending to 3 and a half hours for the Thunderbirds and Pat de Frog.
Although we all seem to have differing views of RIAT, it still does have the "cant do it all in 1 day" syndrome. 250+ statics, 8 hour flying display, ground displays, vendors lets face it its a huge day out. Compare that to paying £20-£30 for a 90 minute football match every week or £200-£500 for a Grand Prix ticket, its still pretty good value.
My folks live in Braunton which is close by....... they tell me that Herc's visit quite often.......
On the topic of Chivenor, a story kicking around amongst the locals is that some high ranking RAF bloke visited Chivenor a few years back for whatever reason and was heard to quote 'What an excellent airfield, what idiot closed it down' ....... to which the reply was 'Actually sir, it was you !'
Ahhhh Chivenor! Those were the days; living in a wooden hut with a coke stove for warmth (and light, if it got a good glow on!). Dropping into the ejector seat bay for a whiff of oxygen to help get rid of the hangover. Running across the main runway in between four-ship take-offs, on a green from the tower, to get to the GCA site. Calling on the Meteor 7 to nip up to North Luffenham for radar spares (usually a tilt motor for the radar antenna)
I was one of the last to leave when it closed the first time (1974) and was very sad to go.