NOTE: A gallery of pictures, taken at various air shows, is included at the end of this text.
Also, please remember to click once on any image to get a much larger picture.
All pictures by the author unless specified. Also, do please bear in mind that pictures and comments are regularly being added, so the layouts might well be a bit haphazard - until I get around to adjusting them - which should not take long. Plus, I am pleased to say, (this said in 2016), that I am now getting better at scanning and editing pictures.
This said, with many hundreds of pictures to add throughout the 'Guide' and of course a couple of thousand flying sites still to be listed, I do hope you will remain interested and from time to time visit again to see the additions.
Note: This picture of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, was taken somewhere in England, probably in the 1990s. Ever since the Lancaster became available to the BBMF, this classic formation of a Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire has remained a firm favourite with air show audiences. Which is not at all surprising as surely one can never tire of the sight and especially the sound of, typically six Merlins; although in more recent years the Spitfire may be a Griffon powered example.
The history of 'air shows' in the UK goes back over two hundred years, and as you might now imagine, this needs some explanation. lt is I think helpful to consider the subject from the aspect of the numbers of spectators who have assembled at a specific location to witness the event. For example, since the 1920s, it has been 'normal' practise to host a wide range of aircraft and pilots capable of (usually) performing outstanding feats of airmanship, but this was far from the case previously. In fact, it was more common for thousands of people to assemble, simply to witness just one person take to the air.
In this day and age, when air travel is affordable to millions, this might appear an extraordinary concept. However, for the vast majority of people, until the 20th century, the spectacle of somebody taking to the air really was the equivalent of a 'Shuttle' launch from Cape Canaveral in the second half of the twentieth century from Florida in the USA.
THE EARLIEST EXAMPLES
When the monk 'Eilmeer' in Malmesbury, (WILTSHIRE), having built his basic 'hang-glider' and deciding on undertaking a test flight from (presumably?) St Peters church tower in the year 1003, it seems reasonable to suppose that at least a group of interested spectators had gathered; possibly even a throng? If this was the case then arguably they were the earliest progenitors of the air show audience in the UK.
Following on from that, nearly eight hundred years later, was the hot-air balloon launch performed by James Tytler, at COMELY GARDENS in Edinburgh in August 1784 during a major public exhibition being held there. It was then, more or less, another half century before balloon launches, (or ascents if you prefer), became a common feature in the UK, often drawing immense crowds.
AN UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENT?
The Montgolfier brothers in France first realised the concept of using hot air as a 'lifting agent, and their first balloons used this method. But it came with considerable practical difficulties, such as having an open fire aboard such a confined space. People soon realised that having the balloon filled with a gas such as hydrogen or helium was a much better solution, except that both gases were very expensive to produce and difficult to transport to launch sites.
Using coal gas as a means of obtaining 'lift' seems to be a classic 'chicken or egg' case - which came first? And indeed, who first thought up the idea? However, during the earlier part of the nineteenth century towns in the UK started installing gas works, using coal to produce the gas, and these were of a small capacity, mainly to provide lighting for the 'High Street and Town Square' and the houses of the rich and influential.
NO SMALL FEAT
At least two family businesses saw a great opportunity in approaching town councils and the various 'worthies' to ask them to consider the prospect of a balloon launch, which could be both a great money making exercise and a status symbol. Attracting thousands of spectators these were very big events and needed a lot of advance planning - not least a suitable launch site - which both sheltered the balloon inflation period and provided an opportunity to raise revenue by inviting people to interview the aeronaut and inspect his barometric instruments. Something like a castle was usually ideal but quite often an arena was constructed.
A gas main to the launch site had to be installed and the balloon could only be inflated by any surplus capacity from the gas works - a process that sometimes took up to four days to complete. The obvious attraction was to charge 'top dollar' to those able to afford a view at close quarters to the initial launch, Once above these confines anybody could see the ascent for free. It is on record that, even in severely inclement conditions the aeronaut would rather risk life against the elements, rather than postpone a launch with the distinct possibility of being lynched, (or worse), by the thousands of 'common folk', some of whom had walked through the night to witness this incredible event taking place.
Eventually these balloon launching events became more commonplace and the earlier hysteria sometimes manifested calmed down. In London especially, towards the end of the 19th century (and even into the 20th century), it became quite fashionable for the wealthy to engage in balloon flights, even to the extent of some of them arranging balloon races over substantial distances.
THEN THE FIXED WING AEROPLANE ARRIVED
Without any doubt whatsoever it was the French who put the aeroplane on the agenda for the 'world' to see, and 'the world' of the wealthly and influential turned up in droves at Reims for the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne from the 22nd to the 29th August 1909.
In the UK, having heard of this resounding success, three British towns decided to capitalise of this and hold the first ever similar event in the UK. Blackpool, Carlisle and Doncaster. Carlisle quickly withdrew but Blackpool and Doncaster went 'head-to-head' and in effect divided the small number of aviators available. Therefore it resulted in both events being only a shadow of what the French had achieved at Reims.
However, when several pilots, hit on the idea of giving public 'displays of flying', often with just one pilot flying one aeroplane, the response was quite fantastic. Especially so when the French pilot Henri Salmet and the Englishman Gustave Hamel got into their stride, quickly becoming far bigger attractions than the greatest rock stars of more recent years. For example, when these guys hit town even on a weekday, very often if not invariably, a public holiday was declared and a grand civic reception held in the evening. I certainly cannot recall a major rock star arriving in town and having this response.
WORLD WAR ONE
The aeroplane came of age in WW1 and tens of thousands were produced in the UK alone. But, despite there being hundreds of sites used by fixed-wing aircraft across the UK, most British people had never been close to an aircraft and it appears that a quite large proportion of the population still hadn't actually seen one.
AFTER THE ARMISTICE; THE IN-BETWEEN YEARS
Once the war had ended there were tens of thousands of surplus aircraft, and indeed, tens of thousands of surplus pilots - most of whom left aviation for good. The aircraft manufacturers were left with virtually empty order books so something had to be done, and quickly, if they were to stand any chance of surviving.
Handley Page for example converted several of their heavy bombers into airliners and not only established the first British international airline, but facilitated the first fully-manned international airport at their company aerodrome at Cricklewood in north London. This arrangement didn't last too long as it was on the 'wrong' side of London fogs and smogs and Croydon was selected instead to be the international airport for London.
On the other hand the Avro company embarked on placing aircraft at seaside resorts, mostly on floats operating from beaches. It appears that it was the Berkshire based and aptly named Berkshire Aviation Company that in the early 1920s 'invented' the touring 'air show' but mainly for 'Joy Rides'. Without any doubt, on the civilian side, it was Alan Cobham who, with his incredibly intensive schedule of 'Air Tours' to promote awareness within the UK of the importance of aviation, also included astonishing displays of not just aerobatics, but 'stunt' flying too - to attract the crowds.
It seems worth mentioning that Cobham utterly deplored the term 'Flying Circus' being attributed to his Tours - but the term has stuck. Although by far the most ambitious and far ranging, the Cobham Air Tours had several rival organisations touring around mainly England in the 1930s. I could well be mistaken of course, but I cannot recall off-hand, any major air shows in the 1930s being arranged along modern lines. In other words, being organised by a commercial company dedicated to arranging, (typically on an annual basis), one major event.
Apart from displays, air races were a popular attraction and arguably the King's Cup and Schneider Trophy events were the 'pick of the bunch', especially when Great Britain won the latter three times in a row and could claim the Trophy for all time. Perhaps not surprisingly the British government were not at all keen on fully supporting the British Schneider Trophy entrants and if it wasn't for huge financial support by Lady Houston there can surely be no doubt that the Rolls-Royce powered Supermarine aircraft would not have been competitive.
What may not be readily appreciated today amongst younger people especially, is that the knowledge gained from the Schneider trophy led directly to Supermarine designing the Spitfire and Rolls-Royce developing the Merlin engine! And where, I often wonder, would we British be today without the Merlin being available during WW2?
THE MILITARY AIR SHOWS
By the early 1930s military air shows, especially the 'Empire Air Displays' had really got into their stride and the RAF could field several first class formation aerobatic 'teams'. Probably the biggest and best was the display held at RAF Hendon in north London and in many respects these paved the way for the later Farnborough and Fairford extravaganzas. Indeed, it was at these displays that the public first gained the opportunity to view the very latest types although sometimes just as static exhibits.
A RATHER INCONVENIENT INTERLUDE?
This is called World War Two and lasted for roughly five years. However, as in WW1 (The Great War), the development of aircraft proceeded at a pace quite impossible to achieve in more peaceful times. By far the most significant development to emerge from this was jet powered aircraft, and not just for military purposes. The end of the war in the European theatre was 'on the cards' to those 'in the know' by 1943, and by 1944 under the Brabazon Commitee, British aircraft manufacturers were designing the next generation of civilian airliners. Notably of course de Havilland with their ill-fated Comet 1.
THE POST WAR YEARS
Without any doubt whatsoever, for most air show spectators, it was the jets that grabbed their attention, and, those displays really were sensational - nothing like the power and speed of these aircraft, the DH Vampire and Gloster Meteor had ever been seen before. Plus, we were on the verge of breaking 'The Sound Barrier'. But, it really must be pointed out that, despite the British Empire collapsing around our ears, and to all intents and purposes GB Ltd being bankrupt, the resources were nevertheless found to enable us to be a major force in the 'Cold War', fighting way beyond our weight so to speak.
The Farnborough Air Shows in those days really were spectacular, and, British aircraft manufacturers were often producing world beating aircraft, along with a lengthy line of notable 'duds' of course. There were other mind boggling events too, such as the Queens Review (check) at RAF Odiham in (?) where the sky was visibly darkened by mass fly-pasts.
Set against these huge displays of military might, at the other end of the scale, small aerodromes around the UK were developing really good air shows which were proving very popular, although admittedly with much smaller crowds attending. I might well be viewing those days through 'rose tinted glasses' but any air show at an aerodrome which featured the 'Tiger Club' guaranteed a first class series of displays to lead the show along. And, as I understand it, the majority of their pilots were not professional pilots. This said and needless to say - highly experienced.
It might not be generally appreciated that many pilots operating in the GA (General Aviation) sphere have abilities equal to and often exceeding those employed by the military and commercial airlines. But, it is important to point out that many pilots in the military and the airlines are often amongst the very best performers when it comes to displaying light aircraft.
I now have no idea when and where I obtained this photograph, (dated September 1972 by a stamp on its back), and clearly taken by an amateur. Including it here is certainly self indulgent to a large degree. But, for all its failings from a professional point of view, it is redolent of the type of air show scene I remember as a teenager - and very fond memories they are too. The aircraft is of course the Fairey Swordfish, quite possibly I suppose, the same one seen at airshows today?
A WONDERFUL CHOICE
For at least the last thirty years, even though the big British propaganda military displays ceased when the 'Cold War' ended, we have had a fabulous choice of first class air shows to attend ranging from, for example, lovely gentle displays of vintage aircraft at Old Warden (The Shuttleworth Trust) to the International Tattoo's at RAF Fairford. Many seaside towns now arrange impressive air shows too.
For me at least it has been a quite astonishing period. Today, at major 'Warbird' displays held at Duxford for example, I can see actually flying, a range of old military aircraft (mostly from the USA admittedly) which I drooled over in black & white photographs as a youngster over fifty years ago. Plus so much more. Who could believe for example that seeing a Junkers Ju 52 flying has become rather commonplace around Europe and the type has been seen in our skies more than once.
Another form of airshow, rather than just an air display, is the PFA Rally; the most significant being the PFA (Popular Flying Association) rallies of the 1980s and 90s which became truly epic events, including an air display. Held over three days many hundreds of aircraft would fly in and Cranfield in Bedfordshire was the venue from, I think, 1994 to 2002. Prior to Cranfield PFA rallies were held at several locations including Wroughton in Wiltshire and originally Sywell. After Cranfield the annual PFA Rally moved to Kemble in Gloucestershire and it was, (if I can remember correctly), during this period that the PFA was renamed and reorganised as the LAA (Light Aircraft Association) and in recent years the annual Rally has been held at Sywell although these days there is no air display and fewer aircraft fly in.
A VERY BIG THANK YOU
Without any doubt, due to the massive economic boom that has developed in the EU over the last thirty years, (and still growing), hundreds of wealthy people have had classic aircraft restored and are very happy to have them displayed. Indeed, in many cases they display these aircraft themselves. I think it is quite reasonable to claim that in the 21st century the British public now have the widest choice ever of aircraft to view, and being displayed.
AIR SHOWS PICTURE GALLERY
Many of these pictures were taken many years ago, when I was not in the habit of making concise notes. If anybody can provide information for accurately captioning these pictures, please contact me by e-mail. All the pictures are by the author unless specified.
ABINGDON: VAC event: See general listings
Note: See Cosby (LEICESTERSHIRE) in the main listings for a bit more information.
CRANFIELD (PFA Rallys)
AERIAL VIEWS by Austin J Brown with the author flying the camera-ship. And other scenes by the author.
SELECTION OF PICTURES FROM 1994 to 1997
*The Cessna 172 is, without any question, the true classic light aircraft of all time. First flown in 1955 production continued until 1986 when the litigation follies in the USA closed down light aircraft production. It took many years for this utter stupidity to be resolved, and production started again in 1998 - and still continues. In 2016 it was stated that over 43,000 examples of the Cessna 172 had been produced. The 172B, G-ARID, is a fairly early example, built in 1960.
**The beautiful replica Blériot XI G-LOTI can now be seen at the Brooklands Museum (SURREY). Just beyond it you can see a Mignet Pou-de-Ciel and beyond that an English Electric Lightning, itself a design from the 1950s - the prototype P.1A first flying in 1954. The Blériot XI it seems first flew in 1909. So, in one respect, this picture clearly demonstrates the incredible advances made in aircraft design in less than half a century. The first two-seater version of the Lightning was the T.4 which first flew in May 1959 - the Lightning in this picture is a two-seat version.
***I have tried and tried to identify this aircraft, without any success. Could anybody kindly help out?
The 'MATS' Lockheed Constellation. Billed as the last 'Connie' flying, this fabulous example was being much admired, and quite rightly as who can argue that these classic series of airliners surely have to be the most beautiful long-haul airliners ever designed:
MORE PICTURES FOR 1998
SOMETIMES THINGS DO GO WRONG
At the 1998 Rally the Team Mini-Max 91 G-MYYR suffered a pretty serious mishap when taking off. If you read the AAIB report, EW/G98/07/07, you can come to your own conclusions. Mine will not be complimentary towards that pilot. But, I am pleased to say he escaped unhurt.
Notes: It is somewhat rare today, that a new aircraft design arrives on the scene that is truly breathtaking. One example is the Fry Esprit VF-II, HB-YIL, designed by Valentino Fry in Switzerland. Work on the design started in 1994 and it first flew on the 8th Sepember 1998 and arrived at the 1999 PFA Rally less than a year later. The performance of this racer on its 140hp Walter/Lom Praha M-332AK turbo-supercharged engine was astonishing, 175mph, climb of 1800 ft/min and a 600 mile range. Fry then developed the design from the original airframe and engine, designated the Esprit VF-II SC but still registered as HB-YIL, and increased the speed to 250mph with a climb rate of 2,700 ft/min. Sadly the design attracted no buyers and it was retired June 2006. However, it can it appears be seen on display in the Verkhaus der Schweiz museum in Lucerne.
MAURICE KIRK - G-KIRK
Depending on your point of view the 'Flying Vet' Maurice Kirk is either legendary or infamous. In my book he is both and it is really well worth while to investigate his astonishing and highly individual flying career. His ex-WW2 Cub G-KIRK was apparently used to ferry General George S Patton around northern France after the D-Day landings.
Roughly two years after this picture was taken he competed, (in G-KIRK), in the 2001 London to Sydney air race - and made it. This alone is a major story in itself, not least because Mr Kirk is not, how can I say, a keen fan of regulations and procedures.
He then decided to fly on around the world, more or less as the Cub couldn't manage the Pacific Ocean, and the engine failed off the coast of the Dominican Republic and he had to ditch. Fortunately he had the good sense to carry a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) and he was eventually picked up by a US Coastguard helicopter. An appeal by his wife was made to salvage the Cub, but I cannot seem to find out if this was successful?
DUNSFOLD AIR SHOW 1988
Notes: I cannot be certain, but, regarding the second picture, I do believe this was the first example of this manouevre demonstrated in the UK?
THE HELICOPTER DISPLAY
In those days the displays by the Westland Lynx were quite extraordinary. In this case I believe the example was the Westland Lynx AH1, XZ649.
Bristow Helicopters were offering rides in their Agusta AB206 Jet Ranger II, G-AWMK:
DUXFORD AIR SHOW JULY 2002
WHAT A SPECTACLE
There can be no doubt about it, DUXFORD has to be the biggest classic warbirds airshow in the UK, and what a fabulous display they put on. Very hard to resist, on a lovely flying day, getting the camera shutter red-hot.
A SPLENDID DAY OUT
Even after the flying display is over, as some of these pictures illustrate, there are still some lovely scenes to view. From the line-up of classic warbirds to watching the visitors depart in their light aircraft.
FAIRFORD RIAT DISPLAYS
I have attended one of these displays in 1993 and later paid a short visit during another to photograph Concorde from outside the airfield.
Note: All pictures by the author unless specified
Without any doubt, for those interested in military aviation, the RIAT air show at FAIRFORD is without equal in recent years. Here are a few more pictures.
*NOTE: A Sarajevo' approach to land. During the war in the Balkans, RAF transport aircraft crews had to adopt an entirely new approach to landing at Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovia, approaching very high before landing to minimise the chances of being shot down. Only a few aircraft have this ability to land at very steep attitudes, some Cessna 172s, early Boeing 737s and, it now appears - the Lockheed Hercules.
AND SOME MORE PICTURES
I will make no apologies for featuring many pictures of the Tupolev TU-95MS "Bear" in this collection of pictures. In those days just after 'Glasnost' to see this aircraft arriving at FAIRFORD really was sensational. During the 'Cold War' this type was perhaps the iconic image, taken from RAF interceptors, of the favoured aircraft of the Soviet forces for trawling up and down the North Sea ostensibly spying and garnering intelligence.
CONCORDE AT RIAT 1998
Note: Pictures by the author.
The Farnborough Air Shows are of course legendary, but in recent years are only a shadow of what they once were in the 1950s through to the 1970s with the massed formation fly-pasts.
GALLERY OF EARLY FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW PICTURES
Notes: Are the picture copyrights known for these?
Picture One: The Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess G-ALUN displaying in 1953. A most underated design which deserved a great deal of success if the Bristol company had not let them down by failing to produce the engines with the power required. Flying boats were then, and still are actually, a very practical solution to flying into many destinations around the world.
Picture Two: This picture shows the start of a Avro Vulcan 'V' bomber display in 1959. These displays were legendary and in the earliest displays, performed by Roland 'Roly' Falk the Chief Test Pilot at Avro, involved taking off and performing a half roll and then rolling level at the top. It is said that 'Roly' performed these displays wearing, in dapper fashion, a suit, shirt and tie!
Picture Three: Probably pictured coming into land at the 1953 air show, the amazing Armstrong-Whitworth A,W.52 (TS368) clearly shows how advanced many British designers were in those days. This prototype was intended to start testing for the concept of a 'flying-wing' jet airliner. I imagine it foundered because, as we now know, (look at airliners at any airport), the basics of controllability, in all but the very worst of possible weather conditions found worldwide, (for which no design can adequately cope with), are best dealt with by a 'conventional' design, the basics of which were established in the early 20th century.
But of course, the concept of computer controlled 'fly-by-wire', now the prevailing system for most military aircraft, hadn't even been dreamt of. And of course, this technology is now common and accepted for airliners. Which begs the question I suppose; is the 'flying-wing' concept now ready to be re-invented? Let's face it, very few passengers today have any interest in looking out of a window.
SNIPPETS FROM AIR SHOWS IN THE LATE 1970s & EARLY 80s
Notes: Unfortunately to a small extent, when changing the original slide mounts to a much better type, I didn't think to add the dates, but it doesn't much matter. What I now find interesting, given that in those days considering the price of film and developing I only took very few pictures - was that these were mostly of historic types - or what I considered as being highly significant new types. Such as the Britten-Norman BN-2A Mk.III-2 Trislander G-BEGX in the first picture.
It was my view then, seeing as the UK was to all intents and purposes a 'third-world' bankrupt nation, the continuing support of Concorde was utter madness. It had no future and would never be a commercial success no matter how impressive it was in technical terms and fabulous to watch flying. I thought that the considerable amount of genius we had in aviation development should have been directed at types like the Brittan-Norman Islander and Trislander. Types we could afford to develop and support and gain large markets for. It didn't happen needless to say.
Regarding the third picture of the Dragon Rapide G-AIYR it probably should be remembered that during this period, unlike today, seeing this type flying was then quite a novelty.
FARNBOROUGH 1988 (IN THE AIR)
FARNBOROUGH 1992 (IN THE AIR)
*Note. These two Saab regional airliner types were very successful and highly capable. I once flew by Cross-Air in a Saab 2000 from Basle to Heathrow, and was invited to take the 'jump seat'. It was a Saturday night flight which had only three passengers and the young crew had never flown into Heathrow before - so I was able to give them advice about where to taxy after landing which they much appreciated. What I thought was remarkarble was that our flight in the SAAB 2000 took only ten minutes longer than the BAe 146 normally used on this service!
MORE PICTURES 'IN THE AIR'
FARNBOROUGH 1992 (ON THE GROUND)
FARNBOROUGH 1994 (IN THE AIR)
FARNBOROUGH 1995 (IN THE AIR)
GOODWARD: Festival of SPEED 2000
GREENHAM COMMON - THE QUEEN'S JUBILEE INTERNATIONAL AIR TATTOO - 1977
It was a great disappointment that on the day I visited this fabulous air show, it was on a very dull day. However, I trust you will be interested by the variety of aircraft taking part.
Vintage Aircraft Club meeting, July 1999
Without any doubt, for anybody interested and indeed in love with, especially classic pre-WW2 and post war light aircraft - a visit to a Vintage Aircraft Club meeting will never fail to lift the spirits and inspire. We must all be so grateful to the many people prepared to spend so much effort (and money of course) to not only preserving these aircraft - but keeping them flying!
Vintage Aircraft Club meeting, 2003
PFA RALLY in July 2003
It has to be remembered that the PFA (Popular Flying Association) and LAA (Light Aircraft Association) Rally's are devoted to opening up everything to do with GA (General Aviation) in the UK. All are welcome, not just those brave and so determined souls devoted to building their own aircraft, or indeed, restoring either a classic or singular type. In this respect I make no apologies for featuring several mundane and often maligned 'Spam Cans' which the majority of PPLs regularly fly, given that opportunites to fly more exotic types rarely exist in a Flying Club or School in the UK. Or indeed in a 'Group', two of which I have belonged to, if you want a very robust aircraft capable of being left out in the open, fit to fly very long distances, and generally pretty much 'bullet-proof' if handled correctly.
AND MORE PICTURES
*Note the amount of 'take-off' flap selected. There has been a bit of controversy about the Piper pilots handbook recommending that 20º of flap is required for a short-field take-off. This amount being regarded as being a drag-flap setting for most other aircraft types. Quite why the pilot decided this would be required from such a long runway is hard to explain? But of course, as I sometimes did when flying a PA-28, perhaps the pilot was simply interested to see the effect?
I came to conclusion that, if a very short take-off was needed, it was better to select no flap or perhaps 10º during the take-off roll until flying speed was achieved, and then select 20º whilst lifting off in ground-effect. This did work well in very demanding conditions from a very wet and soggy airstrip on a couple of memorable occassions.
A PERSONAL NOTE
Looking at these pictures, and others from PFA / LAA Rallys, it does seem notable that few pilots elect to bring passengers into these events - which seems such a shame. When I have done so they have all been most impressed and interested. It seems to me a great opportunity to demonstrate what GA is all about - a great day out for them - and well worth demonstrating what a wonderful GA community exists.
THE PFA RALLY IN JULY 2004
*Unfortunately I failed to properly caption this picture of the Cub G-BTBX. I now think it likely the picture was taken here, but if anybody can kindly offer advice, this will be most welcome.
Most of my pictures of this Rally have disappeared, probably because they were submitted to a picture library in London that was totally screwed up when taken over by an American concern based in New York run by complete idiots. (Chapter and verse available on request).
Note: For pictures of the first Red Bull air race held in the UK please see LONGLEAT in the general listings
NORTH WEALD 1993
NORTH WEALD (AEROFAIR) 2001
NORTH WEALD 2002
OLD WARDEN AIR SHOWS
PROBABLY THE LOVELIEST OF AIRSHOWS
There can be no doubt about it, if you want to experience old aeroplanes flying, in an enviroment which places you remarkably close so you can really enjoy the thrill of spectacle and sound of these old classic aeroplanes, nothing equals the displays at OLD WARDEN.
THE MAY 1996 AIRSHOW:
*Note: In the first picture:The Avro 621 Tutor K3215 (G-AHSA), the Miles M14A Magister P6382 (G-AJRS), and last but not least the Hawker Tomtit K1786 (G-AFTA).
**Note: In the fifth picture, from left to right, is the DH60X Moth G-EBWD, the DH51 G-EBIR and the DH60G Gipsy Moth G-ABAG.
*NOTES: For some reason I had not dated this picture, but I now think it was during a display in 2005. The de Havilland DH60X Moth G-EBWD, the Parnell Elf II G-AAIN and a DH82A Tiger Moth had certainly taken off in formation and 'tied together'. Clearly the string has failed at some point, (between the Moth and Elf), but nevertheless it was lovely seeing these pilots trying to re-enact an aspect of popular air displays in the 1930s.
RENCOMBE 2001 Corporate private airshow
I was very privileged to fly Austin J Brown to this event in the Cessna C.150 G-DENC in the morning. Later returning with my 'flying mucker' Guy Browning in the Cessna 172 G-JVMB to collect Aussie. For some reason which now escapes me, we elected to drop in on KEMBLE on the way home. I was a tad surprised to be given permission to fly in with these two aircraft, to be seen amongst such pristine other classic aircraft. But then again, as I often had to remind myself, the Cessna 172 especially is the classic aircraft of all time, bar none. First flown in 1955 to 172 is still in production, (or was in 2016), and more examples have been built than any other aircraft.
I will make no apologies for including several images of the Fairey Swordish, what a fabulous classic, and we are so privileged to still see one flying. This is because, where else at other air shows could you get such close-up pictures? I am a little worried about the Vimy picture, which I found uncaptioned, but which I believe was here. If anybody could kindly confirm this I will much appreciate the advice.
AND MORE PICTURES
AND EVEN MORE PICTURES
WEST MALLING AIR SHOW - 1983
Note: I have no doubt that somebody brilliant at 'Photoshop' could do a great job of making these old colour pictures look so much better. And, believe it or not, I have made some improvements to the images. Then again, given the rubbish colour film stock available to the public; at the time I was quite chuffed by how well these pictures turned out! On the other hand, being quite old colour pictures, perhaps they have a certain 'period charm'?
WHITE WALTHAM AIR SHOW - 1996
*Note: See my listing WOLD LODGE for more pictures of this fabulous aeroplane.
**Note: It was delightful to see a formation of PA-28s, (presumably all Warriors?), from the West London Aero Club. All being flown by instructors I suppose? We all love seeing the 'class' acts of course, but what fun - and imaginative too, to see these humble flying school and club types putting on an act. Most unusual.
***Note: It is very rare, if not unique, to see an aerobatic air display taking place beneath the approach path to a major airport. But, as this picture clearly shows, it can happen at WHITE WALTHAM. Here Alan Cassidy is displaying in the Sukhoi SU-26MX G-ORBY beneath a Boeing 747 on finals to land at HEATHROW.
WOBURN MOTH RALLY - August 2002
The Moth Rallies held at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire over many years, really are an event well worth attending. Without exception the proud owners who fly in, keep their aircraft in superb condition, are to be applauded and commended.
AND MORE PICTURES
AND INDEED, EVEN MORE PICTURES
*NOTES: Rather oddly it would seem, the Tiger Moth T7842 does not appear to be fitted with 'spinning-strakes'. Built in 1941 I would assume these were fitted when new? But why would anybody see fit to delete them?
** See THRUXTON (HAMPSHIRE) for some more info about this type.