Abing­don’s twen­ti­eth Air & Coun­try Show

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

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

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