Waddington International Airshow – 6/7 July 2013

With two of the outstanding highlights of the show covered here SOLOTURK and here SwAFHF, plus coverage of the V (AC) Squadron centenary here V(AC) Squadron the following is just a brief photo report on a few of the other items in attendance. Waddington 2013 proved to be a great success, enjoying great weather and massive crowds. It also once more lived up to its ‘International’ title, attracting in particular the very best examples from the mainland European nations amongst both its static and flying displays.

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Swedish Air Force Historic Flight – Waddington – 6 July 2013

Whilst most impressive display of the day at Waddington went to that flown by Captain S.Yalın Ahbab in the SOLOTURK F-16, it was the appearance of the three classic SAAB jets of the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight which would serve up the highlight for the enthusiasts – eventually! The Sk60 flew its display as planned, but the two rarer beasts – the JA29 Tunnan and, more particularly, the JA37 Viggen – drew gasps of despair when it was announced that each was suffering technical issues and couldn’t fulfill their scheduled slots. Thankfully both were subsequently cleared to display later in the programme, in perfect light, making for a memorable sight and possibly the highlight of the 2013 display season.

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The Swedish Air Force Historic Flight is based at Såtenäs, and the displays at Waddington were the first for the Flight in England, and the first in the mainland UK for the Viggen which had previously displayed in Jersey.

SOLOTURK – Waddington International Airshow – 6 July 2013

Continuing the Waddington International Airshow theme, an undoubted highlight of that show was the display of power and vigour given by Captain S.Yalın Ahbab in the Turkish Air Force ‘SOLOTURK’ F-16C.

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The ebullient Captain’s character shows through in his display routine, which includes a roll directly after take-off. This was the sole UK appearance by SOLOTURK, a young team which began displaying in 2010. It is operated by 141st Squadron Command from the 4th Main Jet Base Command, Ankara-Akinci, and operates a stunningly-schemed ‘Viper’ plus a spare jet with minor detailing. Hopefully the team will visit the UK more frequently in the future.

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V (AC) Squadron RAF Centenary Special Tail

No. 5 Squadron Royal Flying Corps was formed at Farnborough on 26 July 1913 and, following the outbreak of the First World War, deployed to France on 15 August 1914. Equipped with a variety of aircraft types it carried out reconnaissance for the British Expeditionary Force, flying its first missions on 21 August. The Squadron took a leading role in the development of aerial photography and wireless telephony during the early days of the War. Now titled V (Army Cooperation) the squadron was reformed on 1st April 2004 at RAF Waddington, marking the beginning of a new era in the world of military Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), continuing in the role in which it served with such distinction in its early days. The new role for ‘5’ is to operate the Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) System, which consists of five Sentinel R1s – modified Bombardier Global Express long-range business jets – and eight Ground Stations.

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To celebrate its centenary the squadron have decorated the tail of ZJ692 with a special scheme. The Maple Leaf  commemorates the Squadron’s close links with the Canadian Corps during WWI and also appears on the squadron badge. Sentinel ZJ692 is illustrated at its home base and in formation with the Red Arrows on 6 July during the Waddington International Airshow.

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Heveningham Hall Country Fair – 7 July 2013

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The Heveningham Hall Country Fair has been a fixture in the local Suffolk calendar for 15 years, and for 2013 incorporated the Halesworth Lion’s Wings and Wheels event. It was also extended to a two day show, held over the weekend 6 and 7 July 2013. The Lion’s Wings and Wheels show had for many years been held at Henham Park, also in Suffolk, but had to be cancelled in 2012  because of the ground conditions caused by the appalling weather which effected so many events last year. The charity had to suffer the costs from that cancellation so decided that amalgamating their event with that held at Heveningham would ensure such losses would not be repeated.

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As at Henham Park a temporary grass strip was designed into the picturesque parkland to the rear of the Hall to allow for the fly-in which is the major aviation aspect of the event. With this being the first event at Heveningham Hall it was decided to keep the actual display flying to just two slots by the Blades and one by a Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

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The tree-lined backdrop and rolling fields make for a beautiful location to view the movements by the various visiting aircraft.

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BBMF ‘boss’ Duncan Mason displayed the newly restored Spitfire LFXVIe TE311 over the Suffolk countryside, with the display area being over the lake at the front of the Hall.

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The Blades begin their display with a crowd-rear entry which brought them straight over the Hall. For 2013 the team have reverted to a mainly orange scheme.

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The Heveningham Hall Country Fair was already a large event, covering as it does a huge area of the estate and including all the traditional elements of such a fair – from Punch and Judy to Monster Trucks. The inclusion of the Lion’s Wings and Wheels added another dimension to the show, and one which it is hoped can be expanded upon in the future as the plans are to include a more dedicated display element to the programme.

http://www.countryfair.co.uk/

Royal Netherlands Air Force Display Teams 2013

The Royal Netherlands Air Force solo display teams have long been popular and colourful supporters of UK airshows over the years, and 2013 has been no exception. The Orange Lion F-16 flown by Captain Stefan “Stitch” Hutten has displayed at Waddington and RIAT, whilst the AH-64D Apache joined it at RIAT, and additionally appeared at Culdrose and Sunderland. Their calendars also cover a number of other countries around Europe.

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The home base of the RNLAF F-16 Demo Team shifts between Volkel and Leeuwarden Airbases every two years. In early 2012 the Leeuwarden team handed over their responsibility to Volkel Airbase and the personnel from the 312 and 313 Squadrons.

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The team have been using J-015 in this stunning orange scheme since 2009, and the ‘Viper’ is fitted with a brake chute in national colours.

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Crewed by Captain Major Raymond Laporte and co-pilot Captain Harm “Kaas” Cazemier, the Apache is operated by 301 ‘Redskins’ Squadron of the Defence Helicopter Command stationed at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. Unlike the F-16 the team’s Apache is decorated with decals which can be removed should the attack helicopter be needed on operations. The display can include flares, though sadly these are not often cleared for use at UK shows.

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“Through wisdom, effective and immortal” is the motto of 301 Squadron. This motto is clearly displayed in the Squadron’s emblem which features a centaur as the central figure. This centaur combines the strength of a horse with the upper body of a warrior displaying its wisdom and strength. The display scheme also includes markings commemorating 100 years of Netherlands military aviation.

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Armed Forces Day – Rayleigh and Southend – 29 June 2013

Armed Forces Day is an annual event celebrated in late June to commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. Formerly known as Veterans’ Day, it was first observed in 2006 when plans were announced in February of that year by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, who said the aim was to ensure the contribution of veterans was never forgotten. The day is marked across the UK by local ceremonies and the presentation of medals to living ex-servicemen and women. The date of 27 June was chosen as it came the day after the anniversary of the first investiture of the Victoria Cross, in Hyde Park, London in 1857. Its name was changed to Armed Forces Day in 2009, and each year the number of events and their size have increased with 2013 being particularly well presented, with many areas including a whole week of remembrance activities.

This report focuses on two such events in Essex on Saturday 29 June, one in the High Street of Southend-on-Sea – titled the ‘Big Brew Up’ – and another in the King George V Playing Fields in Rayleigh. The Southend event began with a parade of veterans, cadets and current servicemen marching towards Victoria Circus which provided the centre-point for that town’s activities.

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An open-air service and remembrance speeches was accompanied by marched ‘colours’ and tributes. Further events during the day included appearances by the Bombshell Babes and other wartime-era musical acts, whilst the High Street was filled with appropriate charity stalls and entertainers.

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The Rayleigh venue also offered a day of performances by musical acts, bands and other entertainment acts, plus a number of flypasts. A parachute jump by the Tigers Parachute Display Team was followed by a number of passes by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s recently restored Spitfire LFXVIe TE311 flown by Andy Millikin.

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Later in the day a single fast pass by Tornado GR.4 ZA398 of II (AC) Squadron RAF – which carries the special 100th anniversary paint scheme on its tail of ‘Shiny Two’ – woke up the local residents! Flown by pilot Sqn. Ldr. Scott Williams and back-seater Phil Todhunter, the flypast was especially significant for the people of Rayleigh who lost local boy Sqn. Ldr. Sam Bailey in a collision of two Tornado aircraft over the Moray Firth in 2012.

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Essex can be rightfully proud of its contribution to the country’s commemorations for Armed Forces Day 2013, and long may it continue.