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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Goodwood Festival of Speed – Saturday 25 June 2016

Catching up with an event from the ‘summer’, the theme for this year’s Festival of Speed was ‘Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power’. Centred around a hill-climb through the estate, current and historic motor racing cars, bikes and drivers hurtled up the tight course which passes Goodwood House and the BMW central feature sculpture. The modern cars included Formula 1 teams and 2016 season drivers or test drivers, plus others from the more recent past. Also on show were the motoring industry’s latest models, from family hatch-backs to the fastest supercars – all looking for customers. Although the weather looked promising in the morning, it soon closed in to become overcast and wet.

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Duxford Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Airshow – 20 September 2015

There have been a number of outstanding moments commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of ‘The Few’, and one of those was the Spitfire formation and tail-chase at IWM Duxford’s September show. The following hopefully illustrates that, plus a number of the other display acts.

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Trooping of the Colour and Queen’s Birthday Flypast, The Mall, London – 13 June 2015

The centuries old tradition saw the Colour trooped by 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, with the Royal Family and military bands passing down The Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade and back. Upon their return the Royal Family viewed the Queen’s Birthday Flypast from the balcony of the Palace. The Flypast was planned to include current aircraft of the RAF, plus the Dakota, Spitfires and Hurricanes from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and to be concluded by the Red Arrows. Sadly the drizzle and low cloud on the day precluded all but the latter.

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Red Bull Air Race – Ascot – Sunday 17 August 2014

British pilots Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb stormed to a double victory on a wind-swept Sunday at Ascot Racecourse to win their home round of the Red Bull Air Race and turn the championship into a three-way battle, sending a sell-out home crowd of 29,000 spectators into a frenzy with thrilling performances in challenging conditions. It was the 15th career victory for Bonhomme in his 55th race and also second win of the season worth 12 championship points that helped him cut the world championship lead of Hannes Arch from 13 to just two points. There were three races left in the eight-stop season, which would finish with Nigel Lamb taking the championship. The Austrian finished a distant eighth on Sunday which would prove to be a major factor in the title race. Nicolas Ivanoff of France got his first podium since 2009 by taking third place with a time of 1:11.884.

Bonhomme, who also wears race number 55, won the Ascot race with its first-ever standing start with a flawless performance despite difficult and changing English winds that gusted up to 30 knots and caused many pilots problems. The spectators in the capacity crowd were on their feet watching the spine-tingling action from the grandstand and grassy terraces and they roared their approval when Bonhomme stopped the clock in the Final Four with a sensational time of 1:11.579. Lamb, celebrating his 58th birthday, was a close second and got his third straight podium with a sterling time of 1:11.750, which was good enough for 10 points that also put him into the thick of the championship battle with 35 points overall.

“I think this has to be the greatest escape yet – it’s a great win,” said Bonhomme, who had a dismal performance in Qualifying on Saturday and was nearly eliminated in the first round of 12 on Sunday when he was beaten by Germany’s Matthias Dolderer, who finished fourth overall on Sunday. “The British crowd just love aviation. I couldn’t have wished for a better result.”

It was a bitter day for Arch, who saw his 13-point lead over Bonhomme melt away when he was knocked out in the Super 8 round due to penalties on the windy course, but also for Pete McLeod. The Canadian had dominated Qualifying on Saturday to win pole position but was knocked out in the first round on Sunday and ended up 10th, collecting a penalty with a gate hit.
Results: 1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR), 2. Nigel Lamb (GBR), 3. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA), 4. Mathias Dolderer (GER), 5. Matt Hall (AUS), 6. Yoshihide Muroya, (JPN), 7. Peter Besenyei (HUN), 8. Hannes Arch (AUT), 9. Martin Sonka (CZE), 10. Kirby Chambliss (USA), 11. Pete McLeod (CAN), 12. Michael Goulian (USA).

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RIAT Fairford – Friday – Red Arrows ‘Pit Day’ – 11 July 2014

In a change to the usual format the Friday of RIAT included the chance to view a small section of the static on base as well as the day’s arrivals and practice displays. Highlight of the day was a formation by the Red Arrows joined by a single example from each of the Patrouille Suisse, Frecce Tricolori, Patruoille de France and the Breitling Jet Team to celebrate the Red’s fiftieth display season.

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RAF Waddington International Air Show – Sunday 6 July 2014

The weather on the Sunday at Waddington started grim and remained so for much of the day, typically only really breaking late in the day as the show drew to a close. Undoubted highlight was the return of the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight which this time debuted their Draken along with a second appearance by the Viggen. Other notable flying acts included the Spanish Air Force Patrulla Aspa, the RAF’s own RC-135V Rivet Joint, Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation F6, Swiss Hornet, SoloTurk, Midair Squadron and Vulcan XH558.

The event is the main RAF ‘at home’ show and attracts around 150,000 visitors over the weekend, which unsurprisingly causes an amount of traffic issues – especially for those attempting to leave as the display draws to a close (as pictured). There will be no airshow at Waddington in 2015 due to the planned runway re-shaping, and a campaign is underway to ensure that it returns from 2016.

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