Crowds left daz­zled by a cel­e­bra­tion of fly­ing

Not even the non-ap­pear­ance of the F-35 fighter jet could dampen spir­its as 80,000 fans en­joyed a week­end of wor­ship­ping air­craft through the ages

Aldershot News & Mail - - FARNBOROUG­H AIRSHOW -

THE Red Ar­rows pro­vided a thrilling cen­tre­piece to the fly­ing dis­plays on both of the pub­lic days at the 2014 Farn­bor­ough Air­show.

On both Satur­day and Sun­day, morn­ings of close, clammy cloud yielded to glo­ri­ous sunny af­ter­noons, al­low­ing the nine-air­craft elite team to joust around the Hamp­shire sky in their full aer­o­batic rou­tine, to the de­light of the crowds.

They fol­lowed a pro­gramme that in­cluded rou­tines by air­craft from the pi­o­neer­ing days of jet avi­a­tion, as well as a dis­play from the Bre­itling Wing­walk­ers, a nod to the barn­storm­ing days of Amer­i­can fly­ing in the 1920s.

Par­tic­u­larly poignant in this cen­te­nary year of the out­break of the First World War was a mock ‘dog­fight’ by a swarm of replica fighter planes of that era.

“This is the best dog­fight dis­play I’ve ever seen,” said Christo­pher Og­den, a truck driver from Maiden­head and avi­a­tion en­thu­si­ast.

“Then you look over and see the A380 tak­ing off and it re­minds you how far we have come.”

The dou­ble-decker pas­sen­ger gi­ant, which has an 80m wing­span, took off amid cheers from on­look­ers, and pro­ceeded to ex­e­cute a seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble dis­play of tight ma­noeu­vres rel­a­tively close to the ground.

Tammy McBride could not get enough of the long-haul car­rier, de­spite liv­ing near Heathrow air­port and see­ing the air­craft ev­ery day.

“I’ve loved the A380 since the first time I saw it,” said the 45-year-old. “It’s got that lovely dol­phin look when you see it from the front.

“I see it take off and land all the time, but this dis­play is amaz­ing.”

The two days of pub­lic ac­cess at the air­port, which at­tracted 80,000 visi­tors, foll- owed a five-day com­mer­cial and trade fair, which be­gan on Mon­day last week.

Shaun Orm­rod, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the air­show, said the event had been ‘ab­so­lutely storm­ing’, adding it hosted the prime min­is­ter as well as ‘prac­ti­cally ev­ery’ mem­ber of the cab­i­net.

He also said the spe­cial buy-one-get-one-free of­fer of tick­ets to all Farn­bor­ough res­i­dents had been ‘ex­tremely pop­u­lar’ after it re­placed a sys­tem of of­fer­ing free tick­ets to those liv­ing im­me­di­ately ad­ja­cent to the air­port.

He added: “We will al­ways re­view these things, but I think from what I have seen [that] we will do it for many years to come.”

As well as mar­vel­ling at the air­borne en­ter­tain­ment, the crowds crawled over dozens of static air­craft, from an old Bri­tish Army gazelle he­li­copter to fighter jets from across the decades.

Sergey Ru­dake­vich had ar­rived at the air­port early with his eight-year-old daugh­ter, Evan­ge­line.

“I came here years ago and it’s great to be back,” said the 45-year-old an­tiques trader. “We have al­ready had a he­li­copter ride.

“It was great – Evan­ge­line was in the front seat. Hope­fully when she grows up, she will be in the pi­lot’s seat. I love any­thing that is air­borne.”

The model F-35 state-ofthe-art fighter was in­stalled at the show after an en­gine fire on one of the jets in the US prompted au­thor­i­ties to ground the en­tire fleet, pre­vent­ing its promised ap­pear­ance at Farn­bor­ough.

Mike Brun­nen, who works for a busi­ness that makes wing seals for Air­bus air­craft, had trav­elled to the show from Portsmouth with his 13-year-old son Brad.

The 50-year-old said he was ‘ a bit dis­ap­pointed’ by the ab­sence of the F-35, but added the num­ber of other war­planes on dis­play made up for it.

The air­show con­cluded with dis­plays from the elite RAF fighter air­craft from the present and past, with a deaf­en­ing dis­play from the ul­tra-ag­ile Eurofighte­r Typhoon, fol­lowed by the sonorous roar of the iconic Su­per­ma­rine Spit­fire.

Flight Lieu­tenant An­drew Purkiss, of 437 Farn­bor­ough Air Cadets, was man­ning a re­cruit­ment stand on Satur­day. He said he had dozens of ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est, adding: “Peo­ple who may never have thought about fly­ing come here with their par­ents and get in­spired.”

What a sight! A hot, sunny af­ter­noon and the Red Ar­rows giv­ing a per­fect dis­play topped off the day out for ap­pre­cia­tive spec­ta­tors.

Full house: 80,000 peo­ple crammed in to the air­show at the week­end.

Up and over: The Aerostars gave a won­der­fully colour­ful dis­play of close for­ma­tion aer­o­bat­ics.

CHRIS WHI­TEOAK. AN144429

On a wing and a prayer: The Bre­itling Wing­walk­ers wowed the air­show crowds with their dar­ing dis­play of high al­ti­tude ac­ro­bat­ics.

Flight fans: Joanna Ho­gan (left) and An­gela Han­cock in front of the Air­bus A400M ‘At­las’.

Watch­ing the dog fight: Spec­ta­tors are en­thralled by the Great War dis­play team.

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