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No Waddington show - what happens now?

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No Waddington show - what happens now?

Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:07
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No Waddington show - what happens now?

Like everyone, I was disappointed to learn that there will be no show at Waddington next year. It seemed inevitable given the plans for the station's runway. What did disturb me was the tone of comments made by organisers, which suggested that the show might not return at all. I couldn't help feeling that this was inevitable too. A year's lapse is a good way to proverbially drop the ball and abandon the show business completely.

If the rumours that the Station Commander doesn't want a show are true, then maybe we should be asking the RAF what they think about this? Okay, if he doesn't understand the value of displaying taxpayer's assets to the taxpayers, he's clearly a fool, but there's no point expecting a "no show" man to put his support behind a show. Surely, we should be asking why the RAF cannot stage a show elsewhere?

Scampton's a wreck, Coningsby is busy and too far from the major road networks. Cottesmore is closed but potentially suitable. So is Wittering. Then there's Finningley - under civilian control but pretty-much dormant. One would think that some sort of arrangement could be made to take the show back to Finningley, and allow the civilian operations to continue during the event - it's not like this hasn't been done elsewhere.

Fundamentally, it depends whether the RAF still wants to have an annual showcase. Maybe they are going to claim that their efforts are now directed towards RIAT Fairford? If so, it's a pretty shabby business for the millions who live to the north. Likewise, RIAT isn't about the RAF at all (and it is arguably an over-priced show that is way past its sell-by date).

So what happens now? Will all the disappointed enthusiasts continue to moan until they realise that the Waddington show isn't coming back? Or should they direct their frustration to the corridors of Whitehall, and ask the RAF what's going on here?
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:13
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A statement was released a day or two back saying that, with the loss of Leuchars too, the RAF were undertaking a review of their entire airshow participation.

"The RAF Waddington International Air Show is a unique opportunity for the Station to engage with our visitors to showcase the work, people and capability of the RAF and its partner organisations. I am immensely proud of the effort Station personnel have contribute to this year’s Air Show both in the months leading up to the event and on the day. It is very much regretted that due to essential work due to be undertaken to refurbish the runway at RAF Waddington, the Station will be unable to put on an Air Show next year (2015). Due to this work and the movement of the RAF from our other air show location (RAF Leuchars in Scotland), the RAF has decided to complete a full review of its air show commitments; the results of the review will be announced in due course."

http://www.waddingtonairshow.co.uk/news/
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:15
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It hardly seems worth the effort for Tonka, a Tiffie and any trsnsport type that can be spared. Fact is that while many of us remember with fondness the packed pans of the '70s and '80s those days are gone.


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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:21
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no waddington airshow

For me the obvious choice is Cranwell, the airshow has no business on an operational station, seriously strapped for manpower. Cranwell is a Mon to Fri base with little or no op involvement, the organisational work would benefit many OJARS and provide trg oportunties for the holding officers, cadets and students. Waddington in future years could be a staging post for aircraft displaying at Cranwell. Seems too sensible to me, so no doubt it won't happen!
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:32
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Cranwell is probably unsuitable. The runway is fairly modest, parking space is modest too, but it's also a fairly long way from the A1. The only realistic site is probably Cottesmore. Leeming would probably work but it's probably too far north, unless one takes the view that it "balances" the loss of the Leuchars show.

I guess the planned review will tell us where we stand. I think we can all predict what the outcome of the review will be. Doubtless they will claim that RAF participation should be confined to appearances at other shows not staged by the RAF. This is no great loss in itself because the RAF already provides so little direct participation in its own show. It makes no difference if the same level of participation is simply exported to another show that isn't organised by the RAF.

The worry is whether there IS any other event that the RAF could participate in. As it is, it looks as if there's only RIAT - a hideously expensive event that is way too south of a central location, and notoriously difficult to get in and out of. Let's hope we do not get into a situation where the RAF's only "event" is some sort of part in the increasingly questionable RIAT event.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:39
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Fundamentally, it depends whether the RAF still wants to have an annual showcase.
The RAF does have a site for the 2015 showcase - Cosford.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:42
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Mods - could this be merged with the other Wado airshow thread? (mainly 'cause I like the pictures and captions on the other one, - would be a shame to lose them!)
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:43
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Cottesmore is now an army unit, Finningley is a civilian airport, not an RAF unit and Cranwell simply doesn't have the manpower to support an airshow... unless you use personnel from other nearby units.

The air force simply doesn't have the time, money, manpower or assets to support airshows. Sadly, times have changed.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:49
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WH904

The only realistic site is probably Cottesmore.
Agreed, and just who was that noisy hooligan above her 10 minutes ago?!

I shall sell debentures for Chez Al where you can watch in comfort. Pitches for your tents, roll up roll up - buy 'em here.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 09:57
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The dates need looking at too, after all this year has Waddo, RIAT and Farnborough on consecutive weeks that is hardly the smartest organisation.


"Likewise, RIAT isn't about the RAF at all (and it is arguably an over-priced show that is way past its sell-by date). "


Price maybe but the content of the 2014 show is way richer than Waddo.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 10:26
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Content way richer? An F-35 and a Su-22? Hardly a match for a Vulcan, Canberra, three Hunters, three Gnats, a Viggen and a Draken (and all flying, not just sat in a car park)! People who live fairly near to Fairford still think its great but these days its a pale imitation of the days of Greenham Common, etc. I don't know anyone in my profession who even bothers going to the show any more, which says a lot. But it is what it is and its a popular event.

But Fairford is hideously expensive and it's at a venue that most people (apart from the organisers) hate. It's way too far for anyone beyond the midlands and it's a nightmare to get in and out of. It would be pretty disturbing if the RAF threw all its support to a show at Fairford. Once again, it would be encouraging the notion that Britain ends just north of Watford.

Waddington was (is) in a central location, not too far from good road connections, and blessed with plenty of space. Not many other places that tick all the boxes. Cosford's hardly an "RAF showcase" - they haven't got an adequate runway and no parking space.

Cottesmore is easily the most suitable show venue. Okay, it's under Army control but so what? One would hope that we're beyond the days of inter-service rivalry, so one MoD establishment is just as valid as any other.

But one suspects that all of this matters not one jot if the RAF are preparing us to stage a neat abandonment of all shows - which is what I expect. It's a very sad business if we've reached a stage where the RAF can't even manage to stage one decent public event. The folks at Yeovilton and Culdrose must be chuckling
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 10:40
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WH In no way do I want to talk down one verse the other but if you look at the aircraft at RIAT 2014 its stacked including a lot of national display teams - its a bit more than just an F35 and Su-22.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 11:15
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It's the age-old question of what one wants from a show. The general public seem to love RIAT - presumably because there are lots of aerobatic teams. Some enthusiasts like it too, but there's a huge (and I do mean huge) group of people who no longer have any interest in the show. It's no loss to RIAT of course but for an awful lot of people there's no comparison between Waddington's line-up this year (which is admittedly pretty poor compared to the "good old days") and the RIAT show. Like a lot of people, I couldn't care less about an F-35, so the only aircraft worth a look would be the Su-22, therefore it's a no brainer.

Naturally it's a case of each to his own, but I'm trying to explain why the loss of Waddington's show is such a sad move for a lot of people. I think there might be a temptation to think that by putting their support behind RIAT, the RAF might imagine nobody would be too saddened by the loss of Waddington's show. My point is that this wouldn't be the case - there are thousands of people who haven't got the slightest interest in going to Fairford.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 11:16
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Airshow options

So the public still want to see the military hardware their taxes pay for, have a good day out, be inspired to want to join up, etc, but the RAF struggle to find bases to host airshows, hard pressed servicemen to work them, and the whole infrastructure needed to run them.
Surely one of the answers must be to look at the popularity of the shows held at coastal towns such as Scarborough, Cleethorpes and many others. Here the public get to see an airshow but without all the problems of hosting an event like the show at Waddington has become. The towns can have the fun fairs and the whole host of stalls selling stuff, you could even add in the military ground displays to some extent, but this would be achieved without the burden on the individual station resources. Of course the airshow itself is reduced in size and complexity by a number of factors, and would be unlikely to attract the 70,000 plus that flock to Waddo each day, but potentially more of them could actually reach a wider audience.
Main thing missing I can see would be the experience of getting close up to the hardware itself, and for those of you who like me have spent many years working in and around them donít forget the impact of your first experience of getting up close to real aircraft you have only ever seen flying in the distance. We took a couple of my sons mates with him to Waddo this year and their comments as we arrived and walked through the static on Alpha Dispersal made it all worthwhile.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 11:45
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Eastbourne has a great show every August. Take a picnic and sit on the downs. Great view and usually good weather. Oh and it's free!
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 11:54
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Surely one of the answers must be to look at the popularity of the shows held at coastal towns such as Scarborough, Cleethorpes and many others. Here the public get to see an airshow but without all the problems of hosting an event like the show at Waddington has become
The problem with that as you mentioned is no static..... the other one, you would still require an Airfield somewhere with secure parking for the participents both from the UK and abroad..... so you might as well hold it at the said Airfield..

As for Cosford, went a couple of years back and to be honest it wasn't worth the fuel getting there, the display was nothing to write home about, in fact it was poor, in its defence it did rain, the advantage is you have access to the museum when wet, but having been round it a couple of times that wasn't an advantage to me...

The fact Waddington Sold out tells you the Public wants to see the show continue, and let's not forget.

Any surplus funds generated are donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Association and to local charities and worthy causes. To date, over £2,800,000 has been raised for these worthy causes
Sponsors - Waddington International Airshow 2013




Now you chaps are aware we have several burger stalls located around the site..


Note how the crease in his jacket makes it read as fall ons. how apt.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 11:55
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The air force simply doesn't have the time, money, manpower or assets to support airshows. Sadly, times have changed.
And to think, back in the 50s, no fewer than 70-odd RAF stations held Battle of Britain At Home Days...

BATTLE of BRITAIN WEEK ó ends with R.A.F. At Home Day and the Abbey Thanksgiving Service (FLIGHT, 26 September 1952)
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 12:14
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The seaside shows do seem to be the way forward, even if they're pretty disappointing in terms of getting up close to aircraft. If the CAA pushes the absurd safety issues any further it'll probably be better to watch these shows from France.

I've moaned about this saga before, but I still think the way forward would be to make one show much more about seeing the RAF (and Nato) in action. Not aerobatic performances (leave those to the Reds). There's a lot that could be done if the RAF had the will. I don't accept that it's all about costs and logistics - how come Culdrose and Yeovilton don't seem to have any problems?

I can't help thinking that the whole saga is simply a symptom of the way the RAF is these days. The "chiefs" down in Whitehall just don't seem to be the same people who were there many years ago. They don't have the same imagination, will, interest, call it what you will. Public Relations is now simply something that they want to outsource as a means of making money. I don't think they have any real interest in the issue any more - and Waddington is probably just the latest victim.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 13:36
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Boscombe Down has previously provided airshow facilities... which were very good. A long runway, static display on the N/S runway; all one needs to do is import more personnel to stage the event.
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Old 10th Jul 2014, 13:52
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There used to be great displays almost annually at North Weald back in the fifties and sixties. No longer RAF obviously, but a great venue from the historical angle. Plenty of parking available on market days, so no probs for an air show I would imagine. Good access from the M11 and M25 ( when running!) A great airfield with a long runway and a great resident organisation called "The Squadron" the place gets my vote.
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