Yeovil­ton pulls out all the stops

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

RNAS Yeovil­ton’s In­ter­na­tional Air Day (IAD) on 7 July 2018 had a wide pub­lic ap­peal with a truly in­ter­na­tional line-up of air­craft span­ning the decades since WWII and a bonus glance at the fu­ture. Not sur­pris­ingly, he­li­copters were very well rep­re­sented with no fewer than eighteen dif­fer­ent types on the ground, rang­ing from The Fly­ing

Bulls’ his­toric Bris­tol Sy­camore and an Army Air Corps Skeeter to to­day’s Wild­cats and NH90S. Of note was a Lithua­nian AF Mil Mi-8 ‘Hip’ and the final UK fly­ing dis­play by an in-ser­vice Sea King prior to the last ASAC.7 ‘Bag­gers’ be­ing re­tired in Septem­ber.

Naval her­itage was well to the fore with the re­turn of the RN His­toric Flight’s Sword­fish and Navy Wings’ Sea Fury T20 to the fly­ing dis­play. The lat­ter helped reprise the 1952 Korean War com­bat suc­cess of the RN pis­ton fighter over the jet-en­gined MIG-15, rep­re­sented by the NAFHS’S Pol­ish-built SBLIM-2. The FAA Mu­seum con­trib­uted a Sea King HAS5, Wes­sex HU5, Wasp HAS1 and Sea Hawk to the static park along­side the Yeovil­ton-based Phan­tom FG1 and Sea Har­rier FA2 while a pri­vately-owned Whirl­wind HAR10, Wasp, Gazelle and an orig­i­nal Bri­tan­nia RN Col­lege Tiger Moth were all flown in.

The French Navy made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion with the UK de­but of the Co­carde Marine for­ma­tion. This com­prised a Fal­con 50M lead­ing a vin­tage MS760 Paris and CM175 Zé­phyr, and flanked by a pair of Rafale Ms. Each of the types went on to give con­trast­ing dis­plays.

Mod­ern com­bat jets had a prom­i­nent place in the fly­ing pro­gramme with an RAF Typhoon, Bel­gian, Dan­ish and Greek AF F-16s, Czech Gripen and colour­ful Cana­dian CF-18 Hor­net tak­ing to the air. F-16 wing-tip smoke winders and flare launches, more flares fired by a Wild­cat and the Com­mando As­sault fi­nale’s py­rotech­nics all en­hanced the aerial spec­ta­cle. Pre­dictably, the Red Arrows brought the large crowd to their toes, while in con­trast the Royal Jor­da­nian

Fal­cons, fly­ing four new air force Ex­tra EA330LXS, gave a very im­pres­sive close for­ma­tion per­for­mance that pro­duced one of the day’s long­est rounds of ap­plause upon land­ing.

With a USAF C-17A Globe­mas­ter dom­i­nat­ing the im­pres­sive static dis­play, the de­but of Qatari and RCAF C-130J Her­cules re­in­forced the trans­port line. A Ger­man P-3C Orion re­minded vis­i­tors that this long-stand­ing mar­itime pa­trol air­craft is reach­ing the end of its op­er­a­tional life. A po­ten­tial re­place­ment, in the form of a P-8A Po­sei­don from the US Navy’s VP-10, was the fo­cus of much in­ter­est as it is on or­der for the RAF.

The Yeovil­ton IAD will long be re­mem­bered as one of this year’s top three UK mil­i­tary air­shows along­side RAF Cos­ford and RIAT.

Air Day was high on spec­ta­cle, es­pe­cially dur­ing its Com­mando As­sault fi­nale

The Royal Jor­da­nian Fal­cons' first Euro­pean dis­play fly­ing their new EA330LXS

The Sea Fury and 'MIG-15' recre­at­ing a fa­mous Korean War en­counter

A final low-level salute from the Royal Navy's last in-ser­vice Sea King vari­ant, the ASAC.7 ‘Bag­ger’

This CM175 Zé­phyr, pri­vately-op­er­ated in France, made its Bri­tish de­but

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