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Air Display experience

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Air Display experience

Old 16th Oct 2022, 16:47
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Fantastic it was to see a Lightning streak across the airfield, go into a vertical climb and end his show by disappearing into the 10,000ft cloudbase while his afterburners still pulverised our senses. But my most memorable air show was as a 10-year-old, the Battle of Britain day at Binbrook where my father was stationed in 1949.

As well as normal activity from the station’s Lincolns, the week would be enlivened by a pair of Tiger Moths practising their ‘instructor and pupil’ routine, Dad said the pupil was often the better pilot as he bounced the TM from wheel to wheel if not wingtip. It was said that one ‘pupil’ had flown through a hangar which had been emptied beforehand but this could have been an RAF myth.

The Training Command slots would continue with a noisy Harvard and the quiet chuff of Cheetah radials in Oxford and Anson. Our excitement mounted as visitors arrived on the Friday, Spitfire 22 with its huge five-bladed prop, Mosquito with crew wriggling down through an impossibly small door in the side, Dakota like the one which gave me my first flight from Karachi to Bombay.

Saturday saw the arrival of three Auster Autocrats for joy-riding, at 10s 6d (52p) well beyond my pocket money reserves which had been depleted by purchases of balsa and cement for modelling pending the purchase of my own aircraft in the future. In fact it took 20 years which seemed like a millenium at the time but merely a few months today …

A big feature was the descent of a Horsa glider, released from a Dakota overhead the field. It seemed to approach at 45 degrees, so slowly that I could have hit it with my catapult. I still remember the Horsa every time I see a Jumbo, huge flaps and slats extended, descending so slowly that one wonders how it can stay in the air at all.

But the highlight was the arrival of a USAF Superfortress which parked on the grass east of the tower. Closer in was a line of 12 Lincolns demonstrating an operational takeoff, which my father told me to watch closely as I would never see another one (he was correct in this, as usual). The Lincolns started up in groups of three, groundcrew hauling the trolley-accs from one to the next as an AC2 climbed up on the mainwheels to close the starter contacts inside the engine nacelle.

Alas the show was stolen by the B29, as its huge DoubleCyclone radials barked into life with clouds of blue smoke that screened part of the airfield until they warmed up. One by one, the Lincolns waddled round the peri track as their ancestral Lancasters had done only a few years before. Each rolled down the runway as they were given their green light, but all eyes were on the silver monster which took off a few minutes later.

All very tame by today’s standards, but I wish I could see and hear it all again. Maybe I still can ... or maybe it’s this darned tinnitus.
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Old 16th Oct 2022, 20:59
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Abbotsford, Nimrod, CF-18, SU-27 and Snowbirds. I am sure there is a story there somewhere !!!
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Old 16th Oct 2022, 21:06
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Beautifully described memory, Geriaviator!

- Ed
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Old 22nd Oct 2022, 12:10
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Originally Posted by JEM60
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.
The G.222 at Fairford ... I'd got a press-pass for that event, and there was a press enclosure along the front of the crowd-line. There were tables, tea-and-coffee, places for the 'real Press' to camp out and conduct interviews, and so on.
I was sitting at a table and became aware of somebody going around all the nearby tables and talking with the people. When they got to me it was somebody from BBC local radio, who said they were about to do a live 'in-program' broadcast link-up, so could we keep the noise down for a few minutes (really, at an airshow!).
The young lady doing the broadcast was standing about 10-feet from me, but with her back towards the runway, and the engineer with the link-up equipment was head-down checking the signal. The lady was telling everybody what was going-on, all about the aeroplanes, massive crowds, good weather, yadda, yadda. The G.222 did its steep approach, landed badly nose-wheel first, bounced, and when the nose came down again the entire font u/c collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a halt just passed the press enclosure. In the meanwhile, the BBC lady was just finishing-up her broadcast to the world (well, Gloucester), still with her back to the runway and oblivious to anything going on! We heard the engineer say "... and we're clear"; a few of us pointed out to the lady that she'd just missed a crash as she was live on-air. She was not happy!
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 03:26
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Been to many an airshow and seen some dazzling performances, but the absolutely most memorable was at Oshkosh where the crowd line seemed impossibly close to the runway, stood there in awe as Concorde came thundering down and main gear lifted off right in front of where I was standing slack jawed, what a sight. They were giving joyrides, but I don't think you got the supersonic experience.

Mate got a posting from London to Washington and first class travel was the norm in those days, arranged with the wheels to pay the difference so went Concorde.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 11:46
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Originally Posted by JMVR
No Buccaneer displayed at Mildenhall in 1992. There was one the following year, but it was certainly not "immediately rolled on take-off".
Ok - 1993 then! Well it was thirty years ago and I know what I saw! With all due respect, unless you were the pilot or connected with this display please refrain from suggesting that what I have seen is somehow untrue. And if you were connected with the display, I'd love to hear all about it. Recollections may of course vary.

Thank you and good day.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 12:04
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F111 near departure

"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!"

There's an interesting Aircrew Interview podcast with Jeff Guinn (sp?) about the F111 tendency to depart before a stall or even limiting alpha due to the length of the nose / fwd fuselage moment overcoming the vertical stabiliser. Also he mentioned that the same problem gave issues with the tailerons not being able to roll level after a ridge crossing, causing a few to crash. Spoilers inhibited with wing sweep angle I think.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 17:45
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Originally Posted by english_electric
Ok - 1993 then! Well it was thirty years ago and I know what I saw! With all due respect, unless you were the pilot or connected with this display please refrain from suggesting that what I have seen is somehow untrue. And if you were connected with the display, I'd love to hear all about it. Recollections may of course vary.

Thank you and good day.
I am not connected with the display, but there is no variance of recollections in this instance. Your memory *is* simply untrue.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 17:51
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I did my Flying Scholarship with Marshals at Cambridge in the summer of 1985. One Sunday, as we sat outside on the grass in the sunshine, we were treated to quite a spectacular A10 arrival and display. Cut short after Cambridge ATC got through to Duxford to tell them one of their ‘acts’ was misplaced! I had the opposite the following year at the Barton Airshow when we were told by the commentator that the F15 display was actually taking place at Woodford….
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 18:11
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Originally Posted by Geriaviator
Fantastic it was to see a Lightning streak across the airfield, go into a vertical climb and end his show by disappearing into the 10,000ft cloudbase while his afterburners still pulverised our senses.
Best Lightning display I saw was Farnborough 1964 when 74 Sqdn departed; I looked up and watched 7 silver arrows disappearing vertically into the clear blue sky.

Last edited by chevvron; 25th Oct 2022 at 16:50.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 21:12
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Originally Posted by 212man
I did my Flying Scholarship with Marshals at Cambridge in the summer of 1985. One Sunday, as we sat outside on the grass in the sunshine, we were treated to quite a spectacular A10 arrival and display. Cut short after Cambridge ATC got through to Duxford to tell them one of their ‘acts’ was misplaced! I had the opposite the following year at the Barton Airshow when we were told by the commentator that the F15 display was actually taking place at Woodford….
I was at the Farnborough air show the year that a USAF B-52 display was announced as inbound, having flown across the Atlantic to display there. As the commentary began, we noticed a large vertical stabiliser in the distance as it instead displayed at Blackbushe.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 23:17
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Originally Posted by 212man
I did my Flying Scholarship with Marshals at Cambridge in the summer of 1985. One Sunday, as we sat outside on the grass in the sunshine, we were treated to quite a spectacular A10 arrival and display. Cut short after Cambridge ATC got through to Duxford to tell them one of their ‘acts’ was misplaced! I had the opposite the following year at the Barton Airshow when we were told by the commentator that the F15 display was actually taking place at Woodford….
Saw the same in 1989. Two A-10's doing a display scheduled to be at the Ulster air show at Newtownards airport. Problem was I was at RAF Bishops Court 20 odd miles to the south when I saw them (heard them first and told the guy I was working on one of the HF 200 radars with "That sounds like an A-10, what the F**K is it doing over here" ).
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Old 24th Oct 2022, 00:05
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RAF Luqa mid-70's the Frecci Tricolori arrived late on a Friday afternoon for a display the following day - istr it was the opening of the new civilian runway. The pilots disembarked their machines and jumped on the bus to the O's Mess along with a small pallet of varietal Italian wines. These were immediately opened on arrival and passed around as happy hour started early. It was then mentioned that there was a degree of disappointment that an impromptu short display had not been carried out, as was the 'tradition' for incoming display teams. There was a brief pause, glasses were put down, before the team boss packed everyone back to the airfield (a very shore drivt away). Aircraft were fired up, and the 'traditional' impromptu short display was duly completed, before we returned to the 2nd & 3rd sentences above.
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Old 24th Oct 2022, 01:58
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Airshow at the home town base, was arranged for the photographer to be on runway edge a little beyond rotation point, photographer blown head over heals by the wash as the aircraft passed over him, pilot required to front and centre with base CO.


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Old 24th Oct 2022, 02:51
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Back around 1980/81, several school friends and I talked our way into the BAe Families Day at Dunsfold and having enjoyed the excellent airshow were poised by the barrier between the crowd line and runway end so we could belt over to the hangars for a quick look round the Harrier/Hawk production lines, then cycle back to school for dinner.

The late Stefan Karwowski closed the show in an earlier example of Dunsfold's hardware, Spencer Flack's immaculate red Hunter. For one of his last passes he arrived from behind the right shoulder of the crowd in near knife edge at high speed and very low - and just clipped the corner of the corner of the crowd line right where we were standing. I learned about wake turbulence from that!
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Old 24th Oct 2022, 04:02
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Originally Posted by chevvron
Best Lightning display I saw was Farnborough 1962 when 74 Sqdn departed; I looked up and watched 7 silver arrows disappearing vertically into the clear blue sky.
The ground didn’t stop rumbling throughout that stream takeoff: one of my endearing Farnborough memories 👍😎
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Old 24th Oct 2022, 07:03
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On the subject of "not quite where we should be " displays, could be wrong about the type, did not an F1-11 give a display to a "somewhat larger audience " at MAN rather than the intended audience but a few short miles away....at Woodford ...easy mistake to make really
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Old 24th Oct 2022, 09:30
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
I was at the Farnborough air show the year that a USAF B-52 display was announced as inbound, having flown across the Atlantic to display there. As the commentary began, we noticed a large vertical stabiliser in the distance as it instead displayed at Blackbushe.
A common mis-quote.
What actually happened was that as the radar director turned the B52 onto final, it overshot the turn due to the fact they opened up all 8 engines at the same time and due to previous B52 display incidents, the angle of bank was limited. When my turn came up a few days later, I ran the B52 in on Runway 06 rather than 24 having already been told by the radar man what happened on the first flythrough
I think actually, my one was the one which arrived from across the ocean and the first one departed from Fairford where it had been on display and was due to fly back to the USA from there..

Last edited by chevvron; 25th Oct 2022 at 16:48.
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Old 24th Oct 2022, 09:40
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Dutch F-16 operating from Manston began his display at Kenley rather than Biggin Hill where he was supposed to be performing for the Battle of Britain Day show. Circa 2000 I think. After a couple of manoeuvres which we could see and hear in the distance, the mistake was rectified with a quick 5 mile skedaddle NE-wards!
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Old 25th Oct 2022, 02:14
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Airshow at Edwards earlier this month, is this standard for the B-1? You can settle one dispute perhaps, aileron or barrel roll?

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