First at the Air & Coun­try Show

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port & pho­tos: Peter R March

Shar­ing pole po­si­tion with Old War­den, the 19th an­nual Abing­don Air & Coun­try Show on Sun­day 6 May opened the UK’S 2018 air­show sea­son with good weather and en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port from aviators, traders and a large crowd. Or­gan­ised by Neil Porter and his hard-work­ing vol­un­teer team, the event skil­fully com­bined a range of ground at­trac­tions, a morn­ing fly-in and a three-and-a-half-hour air dis­play.

Be­ing the sea­son’s open­ing week­end there were nu­mer­ous de­buts, not least of which was RN His­toric Flight CO, Lt Cdr Chris Gotke’s first pub­lic dis­play in Sea Fury T20 VX281 since his spec­tac­u­lar forced land­ing at Cul­drose in Au­gust 2014. Mak­ing its first ever air­show ap­pear­ance, the two-seat His­pano HA1112-M4L Buchón ‘Red 11’ was flown by Richard Grace in a pairs rou­tine with Alex Smee in the ‘Grace Spit­fire’ ML407. The Buchón last flew in the UK as a cam­era ship dur­ing film­ing of the Bat­tle of Britain movie in 1968, af­ter which it was stored in Texas. Hav­ing re­turned to the UK in 2016, it flew again in Novem­ber 2017 fol­low­ing restora­tion by Air Leas­ing at Sy­well. There were new paint schemes aired for the first time on the BBMF’S Spit­fire TE311 (see ‘Old Timers’, June) and by Mark Petrie on his for­mer Sul­tan of Oman Air Force Strike­mas­ter 82a G-SOAF.

In a show full of qual­ity per­for­mances, Rod Dean in Slingsby Firefly G-BNSR, Andy Moor­house fly­ing the RN Sharks team-painted Gazelle HT2 XX436, Nick Houghton in Beech 18 G-BKGL and Peter Te­ich­man mak­ing his last Abing­don ap­pear­ance in Spit­fire PR XI PL965, were out­stand­ing. As a crowd pleaser, Rich Good­win in his Pitts S-2S G-EWIZ ‘Mus­cle Bi­plane’ knife-edg­ing at ul­tra-low level along the run­way’s length to race a Jaguar F-pace, took some beat­ing. In con­trast, the Catalina’s grace­ful fly­pasts, the His­toric Army Air­craft Flight’s Beaver and Auster AOP9’S STOL per­for­mances and the gy­ra­tions of the Great War Dis­play Team’s seven repli­cas, were all highly en­ter­tain­ing.

The morn­ing fly-in in­cluded nu­mer­ous types salut­ing the RAF’S cen­te­nary – Tiger Moth, Har­vard, Chip­munk, Bull­dog, Jet Provost T3A, Auster AOP6, Ar­gus, Spit­fire 26, and a No 47 Sqn Her­cules C4 from nearby RAF Brize Nor­ton. In ad­di­tion, the 621 VGS His­toric Flight pre­sented its Slingsby Cadet and Sed­bergh glid­ers in the static dis­play. Hope­fully a large do­na­tion to the Thames Val­ley Air Am­bu­lance char­ity will be the end re­sult from this RAF100 trib­ute day at the once-ma­jor base that held the RAF’S half-cen­tury an­niver­sary event back in 1968.

Thrilling low-level, knife-edge race from Rich Good­win’s ‘Mus­cle Bi­plane’

ABOVE: Abing­don’s star turn – unique two-seat Buchón ‘Red 11’s’ air­show de­but BE­LOW: an­other pub­lic first – Mark Petrie’s re­painted Strike­mas­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.