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Air Display experience

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Air Display experience

Old 14th Oct 2022, 20:32
  #41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Marchettiman
The sight of a BA VC10 settling into ground effect along the grass runway during it's first low pass is a never to be repeated memory.
It was indeed a quite remarkable sight!

(The only other time I went to White Waltham, Richard Branson departed the airfield in the back seat of a Harvard - a bump in the runway and somewhat premature gear retraction almost led to an inadvertent belly landing, possibly ground effect saved the day!)
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Old 14th Oct 2022, 21:45
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My first but sadly not my last air show fatality that unfolded before my eyes, Don Bullock Biggin Hill 1980. I was with my fiancée, now my wife, when the Invader came hurtling down the runway at very low level, pulling up into a barrel roll that went horribly wrong. It looked to me like the wings not half way round, had deformed into a u shape and I turned to my fiancée and said "he is never going to make it". I was so shocked by what I was seeing, I was rooted motionless to the spot and I did not mange to get my camera up to my eye to take a photo. He disappeared from sight into the valley below the road still inverted. There was silence and I hoped that he had managed to complete the roll and somehow fly down the valley. Sadly he did not and a large black cloud of smoke rose into view of those on the airfield. The Invader crashed into the rising ground on the other side of the valley. The following week a friend of mine who was a local copper, was tasked with helping the AAIB find the remains of the crew and passengers, who were on board the aircraft.

Both the fatal accidents I witnessed were at Biggin Hill.

Edited to say I do have good memories of air shows especially at Biggin Hill in the RAF VR enclosure with my Dad in the 60's. 1968 Harrier, Phantom and a Chocolate and Custard coloured Hercules



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Old 15th Oct 2022, 00:28
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Before I was posted to Farnborough, I attended the 1970 airshow there.
Pee Wee Judge flew the Wallis autogyro and pulled up then the aircraft started 'tumbling' and never recovered.
I was posted in to Farnborough as a controller in 1974 and was helping compile the daily flying programme when the S67 Blackhawk helicopter 'got it wrong' and crashed with 2 fatallities.
Some years later at another Farnborough Show, as I walked to the tower after finalising the next days flying programme I glanced up and saw the Buffalo circling over head gently descending. I went in the door and heard a muffled bang behind me which I thought was the door behind me shutting.
Then people burst out of doors and ran up stairs to the tower, so I looked out of the window to see the Buffalo which by then was on the ground with the flames dying down.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 06:39
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Marchettiman
The sight of a BA VC10 settling into ground effect along the grass runway during it's first low pass is a never to be repeated memory.
There's an impressive photo of it which has been posted a few times on PPRuNe. Worth a search for anyone who hasn't seen it.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 08:08
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Pee Wee Judge flew the Wallis autogyro and pulled up then the aircraft started 'tumbling' and never recovered.,
The slow speed of the ambulance driving back from the accident site confirmed the worst.......
.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 08:48
  #46 (permalink)  

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During the time I was at Shawbury for the first time (1979) I took my wife and her parents to a public flying display at Sleap. Don Bullock was warming up the engines of the B-17 “Sally B” at the end of the runway as we arrived. He then took off as I was parking my car. Immediately after lift off he made a very low level, 270 degree left turn then flew straight back over the crowd line at 90 degrees and immediately towards us.

As he crossed the runway, he had so much bank on that the port wing tip actually scraped the tarmac and the nose dipped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. If that aircraft had gone out of control I wouldn’t be here because I had no way to escape. An RAF air trafficker colleague was a passenger on the port side of the aircraft and later confirmed what I’d seen, he said he thought the aircraft was about to crash and told me that there was metal missing after landing.

A classic case of a pilot not knowing his own limitations and those of the aircraft he was flying. I wasn’t too surprised when I heard of the accident at Biggin Hill. I was slightly surprised to learn of his medical history and the fact that he had no current medical certificate.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 09:20
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
There's an impressive photo of it which has been posted a few times on PPRuNe. Worth a search for anyone who hasn't seen it.
Video....

Low flying from a BA VC10 back in 1977 at White Waltham #lowflying#flying#lowlevel#vc10#britishairways#ba#flying#fyp #foryou#uk#british#aircraft (tiktok.com)
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 09:45
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I remember the Brands Hatch Harrier very well. I was at Clearways, not far from it's pad. The pilot was David [or was it Dudley?] Carvell [ex Red Arrows I believe]. My memory is that he completed his display, blowing programmes and hats all over South Bank, then disappeared... He returned two minutes later from my right at Huge speed, as said below the level of the control tower, then a 90 degree right turn with massive 'G' slipstream etc. and it was this pass that caused all the paddock problems, including a pole going through, I think, the Tyrell transporter. Autosport described this pass as 'If you hadn't started smoking yet, now was the time to start.' The reporter was hugely impressed!. The pad was on the grass near Clearways, and during the race, Eddie Cheever had brake problems entering South Bank bend [it may have been called Surtees bend by then] and Cheever stopped not too far away from going underneath the Harrier. Seen many displays. This one was certainly in the top five that I had seen.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 12:39
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Some of the earlier message about various air-show accidents and incidents got me thinking ...

Biggin Hill, 1970-something - Bell JetRanger doing pleasure flights takes-off into the undersides of a landing Tiger Moth - I was there
Mildenhall, 1979(?) - Italian Frecce Tricolori G91 crash - I was there
Mildenhall 1983 - T34C crash - I was there
Mildenhall 1986 - RAF 'Vintage Pair' crash - I was there
Fairford 1993 - two MiG-29s crash - I was there
Fairford 1997(?) - Italian G222 messes-up the landing and the nosewheel collapsed - I was there
Paris Air Show 1999 - Su27 crash - I was there

I think I'm cursed ... or maybe I am the curse!
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 12:53
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I remember the Don Bullock Invader at Biggin Hill.
I was walking down the valley to my car as I was on nights at Gatwick so had to leave early. The aircraft disappeared behind some houses at a horrible nose down angle and then a moment of silence before the explosion.
A woman near me asked "Do you think any one is hurt" I replied, " not any more". I think all on board were killed instantly.
I stopped going to airshows for many years after that.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 14:01
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During my squandered decade in Washington, D.C. I was a regular attendee at the Joint Base Andrews Air Show, the largest in the U.S.A. Literally hundreds of aircraft on static display and more than seven hours of non-stop air work each day for three days. I saw the F-117 and B-2 up close and personal for the first time, though each was heavily guarded and surrounded by a painted perimeter on the apron which stated "Use of Deadly Force Authorized." Types I never knew existed were there, and flying demonstrations of the AV8 Harrier, V-22 Osprey, F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, and F-16 Fighting Falcon were astounding. My five-year-old daughter and I were privileged to have front row show center box seats due to my then wife's position as Speaker's Liason to the Pentagon. Unforgettable to watch the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels during the same CAVU afternoon. The only casualty of the day was one of the 2,000 paratroopers launching from C-141 Starlifters; he landed on the ground control radar and had a few goes on a merry-go-round before his risers were cut. He waved at the crowd and I and my little one were relieved.

On the bus back to the Capitol, my beautiful little Fiona turned her sparkling blue eyes up to me, then she asked: "Daddy, can we go back tomorrow?" And we did!

Last edited by cavuman1; 16th Oct 2022 at 00:29. Reason: Add Text
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 14:05
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Originally Posted by Haraka
Pee Wee Judge flew the Wallis autogyro and pulled up then the aircraft started 'tumbling' and never recovered.,
The slow speed of the ambulance driving back from the accident site confirmed the worst.......
.
I saw two pilots who were manning the emergency helicopters run towards the crash. They stopped when a few feet away and didn't approach either the pilot or the wreckage obviously realising there was no way they could help him.

Last edited by chevvron; 15th Oct 2022 at 15:35.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 14:10
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GEEZERS. Very like my experiences, missing the G.222 and the SU.at Paris. I can add the P.38 at Duxford, and the Firefly at the same Venue.. and a fatal collision at Oshkosh. Sad days. My wife was trying to convince me that it was my presence that was causing them.. Awful moments, but seems much safer these days, though I dislike seeing very close formation work.
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 14:29
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JEM60. I was there too! He was Fl.Lt Dudley Carvell. The Royal Engineers laid a hard base at Clearways and cleared the crowd so that he could approach. Having landed he stayed to watch the race sitting on top! There was a second Harrier which did the fast run over the track taking photos. One was published in the racing press with thousands of faces looking up!
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 15:11
  #55 (permalink)  
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In the 80s and 90s, the Warsaw Pact countries were allowed to send "observers" to certain stages of large scale NATO military exercises being conducted in Germany. Somehow our (AAC) Squadron was selected to put on a Forward Arming & Refuelling Point (FARP) demonstration, basically a couple of Lynx flying in, getting reloaded with TOW and fuel, and off to save the day again. The demo was briefed (but not rehearsed) and on the day, 2 bus loads of senior Warsaw Pact military turn up at the farm location to witness our military precision and derring do. The lead Lynx was flown by a Royal Navy exchange officer, crewed with an AAC Lieutenant. What Captain Pugwash had failed to appreciate, however, was the approach to the FARP was actually down a slight slope i.e. the ground beneath tail of the aircraft was closer than the ground at the front of the aircraft. Because they had added extra speed to make it more exciting, the flare required to stop level with the fuel bowser got steeper and and steeper, and as we all know, the Royal Navy have bigger flares than everybody else.

Just as they drew level with the fuel bowser with the Lynx by now about 45 degrees nose up, the tail rotor struck the ground, the tail rotor drive shaft immediately sheared, the Lynx began to spin towards the bowser, the AAC Lt in the left seat heroically chopped the throttles to stop the spin, the MAIN rotor blades sliced through a pressurized refuelling hose laid out on the ground ready for the refuel, just missing the Airtroopers who were positioned with the TOW missile reloads, but now spewing gallons of Avtur over the scene, the FARP commander rapidly chopped the bowser pump before everything was covered in fuel, and the aircraft dropped down on to a slightly bent set of skids.

There was an eery silence for a few seconds, as everyone realized just how close we had come to a major conflagration, and then about 100 Warsaw Pact officers started politely clapping! I'm still not sure if they thought flying a Lynx into a fuel bowser was part of the demo or not, but they certainly appreciated not being part of the fireball demo. As Lord Wellington once said, "I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me."
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Old 15th Oct 2022, 17:41
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I was at Barton in 1996 as a Space cadet doing the usual program selling, and remember the Mosquito coming in low and fast over the 09 end on the other side of the tower before pulling up into a wing over. I looked away but back up a few seconds later as it was nose down 45* in a spin. I could see the vertical vector and instinctively knew there was no way they'd recover from there.

I was stood very close to whoever filmed this


Also saw the last Victor flight at Bruntingthorpe in 2009 - a very close call. if you watch the video carefully it leapt over a concrete plinth.
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Old 16th Oct 2022, 11:29
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The Capt. in the video Bob Knights, honed his low flying skills flying a Lancaster on the Dam Busters raid. The First Officer Alan Harkness still hadn’t recovered when i last met him some years ago!!
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Old 16th Oct 2022, 13:30
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Fortunately I've never seen a fatal accident at an airshow, but some "That was v. close!" events:
  • September 1986 at RAF Leuchars. An RAF Jetstream included a steep descent to a touch-and-go in the display. All went fine except that the landing flare was rather too low and the aircraft smote the runway quite hard, bounced into the air and staggered off back to Finningley.
  • August 1987 at CFB Abbotsford. A CF-18 display nearly ended in tears after a max 'g' pull out resulted in a recovery well below 50ft agl. The rest of his display was cnx'd!
  • July 2003 at Hradec Králové. Two MiG 29s put on such an 'interesting' display that we christened them 'The Dangerous Brothers'! A week or so later they collided at RIAT.
  • August 1993 at RAF Alconbury. An F-111 came roaring in from the east with wings fully swept, rolled into a hard right turn and entered serious wing rock, almost departing. The Tornado mate with whom I was talking looked horrified. On the second display day the pilot used a more modest wing angle and didn't pull quite so hard!
  • July 2005 at RAF Fairford. That infamous RAF Typhoon event!
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Old 16th Oct 2022, 15:30
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Originally Posted by cessnapete
The Capt. in the video Bob Knights, honed his low flying skills flying a Lancaster on the Dam Busters raid. The First Officer Alan Harkness still hadn’t recovered when i last met him some years ago!!
Not quite - he joined 617 Sqn after the raid.
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Old 16th Oct 2022, 16:44
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Originally Posted by Two's in

There was an eery silence for a few seconds, as everyone realized just how close we had come to a major conflagration, and then about 100 Warsaw Pact officers started politely clapping! I'm still not sure if they thought flying a Lynx into a fuel bowser was part of the demo or not, but they certainly appreciated not being part of the fireball demo. As Lord Wellington once said, "I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me."
Remember it well. We wondered how on Earth we could possibly beat that.
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