‘Airbourne’ – Eastbourne International Airshow – 15 August 2014

The south coast seaside airshow at Eastbourne had the distinction of being the debut show for the two Lancasters, with the pair displaying on Thursday 14 August before making their way to Biggin Hill which was their planned operating base for the event (see https://avpicsphilwhalley.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/two-lancasters-arrive-at-biggin-hill-14-august-2014/). The period’s weather was mixed and caused a few minor issues with operations, and that of the 15th was mostly cloudy as can be seen from the images.

Some of the lighter aircraft operated from along the coast at Shoreham, including the RAF Tutor flown by Flt Lt Andy Preece who is seen in the morning having been present for the Shoreham Air Show’s media event before displaying at Eastbourne.

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The show programme included everything from warbirds and classic jets to current RAF aircraft, but it was the appearance of the two Lancasters which attracted record crowds for their debut, as they did at every other event they attended.

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Two Lancasters arrive at Biggin Hill – 14 August 2014

Having received their PDA that morning the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster and two Spitfires plus the Canadian Lancaster headed south from RAF Coningsby bound for their public display debut at ‘Airbourne’ – the Eastbourne Airshow. Their plan after their slot was to land on at Biggin Hill in Kent, which would be their base for the weekend. With a large group of enthusiasts, media and dignitaries waiting patiently at Biggin most thoughts turned to the weather. The airport was hit by a lightning storm and heavy rain which, if widespread, would have left the crews with no option but to put down safely somewhere short of their destinations.

Thankfully the weather proved to be sporadic enough for them to find a way through to Eastbourne and thence to arrive at Biggin and the expectant reception committee. Hopefully the weather won’t play such a part in the rest of the tour and that all the planned show and flypast commitments can be met without hitch.

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Canadian Avro Lancaster Arrives in the UK – RAF Coningsby – 8 August 2014

One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the aviation scene in recent years was the arrival in the UK of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster X FM213 (marked as KB726 VR-A – leading to the aircraft often being referred to as ‘Vera’). Having crossed the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland, this last leg ending in Lincolnshire was planned to see the aircraft joined by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster, plus a Spitfire and Hurricane, for formation flypasts over various local locations and with the addition of the Red Arrows over Lincoln and Coningsby. Many thousands of expectant aviation enthusiasts gathered at all of the points on the route following her progress via social media and Flight Radar apps. The weather during the morning had been changeable but mostly fine, with Coningsby’s regular Typhoon movements and an arrival by VIPs in a HS125 taking place without issue. Sadly as the time for the RAF’s participation approached an extreme weather front moved in from the east drenching the thousands waiting patiently and leading to their cancellation.

All that remained was to get VR-A down safely. From underneath umbrellas all eyes were trained on the approach at Coningsby, and eventually a silhouette appeared from out of the gloom to put down gently onto the damp Lincolnshire runway. Having shut down on the taxiway the Lancaster was towed into position alongside PA474 in front of the welcoming party of veterans and invited guests. Outside the fence her arrival was met with cheers and clapping from the enthusiastic public, many of whom were locals from the village. The residents of Coningsby have a great affection for the airbase and particularly the historic BBMF, illustrated by the many flags on show welcoming the visitors from Canada.

KB726 will undergo servicing in the BBMF hangar before making practice flights with PA474 prior to their public debut at ‘Airbourne’, Eastbourne, on Thursday, followed by around eighty other appearances. The Lancaster will return to Canada on the 22 September.

Once the two fly together it will be the first time in around fifty years that such a sight has been seen, and will most likely only ever be repeated if or when the East Kirkby Lancaster NX611 is restored to airworthy condition. DSC_3037-pw DSC_3058-pw DSC_3050-pw DSC_3053-pw DSC_3054-pw DSC_3055-pw DSC_3056-pw DSC_3059-pw DSC_3067-pw DSC_3035-pw DSC_3077-pw DSC_3079-pw DSC_3081-pw DSC_3088-pw DSC_2822-Con-8-8-14-PW DSC_3092-pw DSC_2827-Con-8-8-14-PW DSC_2832-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2836-1200 DSC_2844-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2847-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2850-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2852-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2864-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2865-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2878-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_2935-PW DSC_2950-PW DSC_2954-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley DSC_3099-pw DSC_3104-Con-8-8-14-PhilWhalley