Abingdon’s twentieth Air & Country Show
The flying display at Abingdon Airfield on 5 May, the 2019 UK airshow season’s opening day, was very well received by the Air & Country Show’s large crowd. This fund-raiser for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance, organised by Neil Porter, family and colleagues since 2000, has consistently presented a varied and exciting airshow on a very limited budget. This year was no exception. RAF Brize Norton again supported the event, providing Hercules C5 ZH888 on the ground and a flyover by Voyager KC3 ZZ335. The BBMF opened the flying with Andy Preece in Spitfire LF XVIE TE311 making a series of ‘top-side’ passes. Flt Lt Liam Matthews, the last ever RAF Tucano display pilot, demonstrated the long-serving trainer’s agility in its final year with the RAF.
There were plenty of eyecatching warbird displays, with Richard Grace making the most of the big radial-engined P-47 Thunderbolt Nellie, Will Greenwood in his fast and furious Normandie-niemen-painted Yak-3m and John Dodd producing the distinctive whistle of P-51D Mustang Miss
Helen through a fine aerobatic routine. Nick Houghton returned in his Beech 18 and Richard Ellingworth showed his Ranger-engined Argus III KK527 to good advantage. Making its first public flying display, Ian Jones’s rare NA64 Yale G-BYNF was flown by Andy Goodall. It was particularly good to see the Historic Army Aircraft Flight quartet−auster AOP9, Beaver, Sioux and Scout−performing together for the first time since MOD funding was withdrawn in 2013. The Gazelle Squadron duo gave a dynamic display reminiscent of the RN Sharks team’s routines.
Rich Goodwin in his ‘Muscle Pitts’ G-EWIZ reprised the previous year’s Audi supercar race but also gave the first public view of his Jet Pitts project. The blue-painted, modified and strengthened Pitts S-2S G-JPIT was flown in from Gloucester and presented with one of its two Lynx jet engines loosely attached while on static display. Test flying the Lycoming AE10 540-powered Pitts with its broad chord MTV9 propeller will be followed by the fixing of the two mini-jet engines to its fuselage sides and further test flights. Of the thirty-plus visiting aircraft for public view, the flight of five from Shipping and Airlines at Biggin Hill (Civilian Coupe, Dragonfly, Falcon, Hornet Moth and L-4 Cub) was outstanding.
This was the twentieth and, sadly, last flying display at Abingdon’s Air & Country Show. Neil Porter said: “Increasing costs to cover policing, road closures and running the event, other post-shoreham regulations, £50m public liability insurance for civilian displays over MOD land, and a whole range of administrative charges has made the threehour flying display too costly. By replacing this with a fly-in of up to 150 aircraft, mini helicopter meet, flypasts, WWII aircraft pleasure flights, expanding the country show attractions and continuing the Saturday evening Threshold. aero photo shoot, we will be able to provide a great show at half the cost and thereby make a bigger charitable donation for our efforts.”
Long-term Duxford resident Yale 3349 giving its first public display at Abingdon
Rich Goodwin’s Jet Pitts project broke cover to make its public debut
Yak-3m G-OLEG lands after its powerful performance
Abingdon saw the start of the RAF Tucano’s final display season