Shuttleworth Fly Navy – Old Warden – 4 June 2017

One of the country’s favourite airshow venues held its second ‘Fly Navy’ event following the highly successful 2016 debut, but suffered from worsening weather and cancellation of the Sea Vixen (see Duxford). Still, the Old Warden atmosphere shone through the gloom and the renowned intimate flying distances made for a great day’s entertainment.

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Duxford Air Festival – Sunday 28 May 2017

The first airshow of the year at IWM Duxford offered a very varied and full flying programme spanning from Great War to present day military machinery, with much in between. Undoubted highlight was the Rafale of the Armee de l’air which outshone the RAF’s Typhoon, though the latter is still a powerful routine. There was a distinct lack of warbirds for a Duxford show, but that made for a more varied event. The Sea Vixen had displayed on the Saturday but suffered a wheels-up landing back at base after a hydraulic failure, and the MiG-15 was scrubbed at the end of the show.

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Abingdon Air & Country Show – Dalton Barracks – 14 May 2017

The airshow at the former RAF airfield suffered a number of pre-event cancellations and periods of bad weather – despite being moved a couple of weeks further into the year in an attempt to avoid those incidents from which it had previously suffered.  As always though, Neil Porter and his small team delivered a highly entertaining program of flying and ground activities, with revised regulations necessitating a complete re-design of the public access and viewing areas. One of the Twister team experienced an engine failure resulting in a heavy emergency landing and injuries to the pilot, reported to be relatively minor. The following images hopefully illustrate a little of what was on offer to the visiting public.

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Farnborough International Airshow Day 1 – 11 July 2016

The Farnborough International Airshow was opened by a flypast by the RAF’s display team the Red Arrows with a brand new F-35 – the RAF’s next generation jet fighter. The event saw billions of dollars worth of business orders announced, with hot competition between Boeing and Airbus in the airliner market, as well as other civil and military aviation companies from around the world. The weather was overcast with patchy drizzle, and was hit by a torrential rainstorm after just a few display aircraft had flown. The showground flooded in places and some water even entered the trade halls leading to the power being shut down and the buildings evacuated. Eventually the whole show day was cancelled with all visitors asked to leave for their own safety. Only the Airbus A380, A350 and A400M had managed to display before the storm hit.

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Little Gransden Air & Car Show – Beds, UK – 28 August 2016

Held at the lovely little airfield not far from Cambridge, the annual Little Gransden Air & Car Show raises welcome funds for the BBC’s Children in Need charity. The event suffered from changeable and sometimes extreme weather which caused a few scheduling issues, but as ever the public enjoyed a highly entertaining show which was well attended. A number of World War Two aircraft displayed as did various aerobatic, jet and training machines. Dennis Neville’s Flying Circus provided old ‘Barnstorming’ style antics – flying under a limbo pole, taking penalties against a goalkeeper and bursting balloons with their propellers. The Spitfire display which opened the show was dedicated to the late Terry Wogan.

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Great War Aerodrome Centenary Show – Stow Maries, Essex – 18 September 2016

An airshow and fly-in took place at Stow Maries Aerodrome to mark its centenary. It is the most original World War One aerodrome still in existence, and was opened in September 1916 with the aim of protecting London from attack by Zeppelin airships and Gotha bombers. Closed in 1919, the land was returned to agricultural use but many of the airfield’s buildings have remained untouched and are now being preserved and restored. A number of replica Great War aircraft are now based at Stow Maries, and a BE2 performed at the event, a type that served there one hundred years ago. A Sopwith Snipe illustrated the evolution of Great War aviation, with its more robust build and armament. The ever popular Turbulent Display Team performed their ‘barnstorming’ acts, including accurate flour-bombing – as witnessed by the condition of their target ‘Chateau le Turbs’!

When flying had finished for the day the airside gate was opened to allow the public the welcome opportunity to get a closer look at the aircraft.

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