Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Waddington Air Show

On Sunday 3 July I was treated to a trip to the Air Display at RAF Waddington.  This was by way of a birthday treat - the great day itself is actually on Wednesday but apparently the organisers were reluctant to change the date of the show...

On arrival, a nice touch was that visitors were ferried from the car parks in a fleet of classic buses from the 1950s-70s.  The tickets Sara had arranged included seats in the 'Spitfire' Enclosure which gave us a decent view of the action.
Sadly my camera is not up to shots of distant aircraft so what follows are the best of the photos I took.
This was my first visit to Waddington, and my first Air Display since the last of the Lakenheath shows in (I think) 1992. I must confess that when I think of such shows I still mostly recall the events I was taken to at RAF Leuchars in the early-mid 1970s, when the 'performers' included the EE Lightning (then based at Leuchars), C-130 Hercules, Avro Vulcan and the RAF's  'new' aircraft - Phantom, Harrier and Jaguar. Plus, of course, the Red Arrows (at that time in Gnats) and a flypast from shiny new Concorde.
The displays at Waddington featured, as well as the aircraft photographed below, Spitfire, Lancaster, Hurricane (all from the Battle of Britain Flight Link), B-17, Tucano, OV-10 Bronco, Tornado (very fast and loud!), Chinook, F-16 (Belgian) and Vampire (Norwegian).
Alpha Jet
10-foot long WW1 tank
Hang on - that C130 looks a bit low...
...because it's actually a van!
RN Merlin - a big but very agile helicopter.
The Hawker Hunters of Team Viper - great to see this classic shape in the air again.
The Hunters may be getting on a bit but the pilots still threw them around.
The Red Arrows put up a splendid display...

...with several spectacular manoeuvres.  They never disappoint.
The Navy's 'Black Cats' Lynx display team.
The USAF 'Thunderbirds' display team flew their F-16s very close together.
The main feature - for me at least.  Vulcan XH558 on the runway.
A sight I thought I'd never see again - 558 - the world's only airworthy Vulcan - takes to the sky.  I'm not ashamed to say that tears were shed.
At the controls of 558 was Martin Withers, who flew Vulcan 607 on the famous 'Black Buck' raid to the Falklands in 1982.
The underside of 558 - with bomb doors open.
This was a relatively sedate display compared to what used to happen when Vulcan was in service, but understandable given that they'll not want to break this one!

Incidentally, 558 is kept in the air purely by private donations, so have a look at the website and give them some money: Vulcan


Wg Cdr Luddite said...

Yes the Vulcan is a tear jerker.
I had the privilege of climbimg around in one( 44 sqn) when they were actually based at Waddington.

Tim Gow said...

Wg Cdr Luddite
I've been in the Vulcan at Newark - but I'm about 150% and 200% respectively of the ideal height and weight for a Vulcan crewman.