September 3rd, 2012

Husky Airways

B'Mo Air Show

This weekend was the Bournemouth Air Festival, a free airshow which takes place on the beach at Bournemouth. Howard and I travelled over from Dorchester (arriving just after the flying started - this happens every year. Maybe next year we'll get it right) and met up with silverwindblade on the beach.

The weather was predicted to be overcast all day, but defied expectations by being so hot and sunny I swam in the sea and got sunburned.

A lineup of many airshow favourites kicked off with the Red Arrows, impressive as always as they performed breaks and passes over the pier.

The Sea Vixen is a staple of seaside shows, and featured in the programme, so when a twin-boom fighter appeared I assumed it was this lovely but oft-seen beast. To my surprise, it turned out to be the Sea Vixen's predecessor, the Venom. Watching it howl along the seafront was a great pleasure.

I love seaplanes, so I was greatly excited to see the graceful Catalina. Even better, it was taking part in a reenactment of the rescue from the sea of a downed Mustang pilot, who parachuted down before our very eyes. The Catalina didn't land on the water, alas, but gave a good show, simulating having one engine out of action and limping along with a wing low while an Me109 swooped on it from above. (The crowd booed and hissed.) Then, hurrah, a Spitfire and another Mustang came along to drive the enemy off, and everyone presumably went home for a nice cup of tea.

Two Tornadoes, blatting about with their afterburners on and demonstrating their swing-wing capability, were a rousing contrast to the vintage warbirds. The show was closed by the Vulcan, stately and enormous, showing us its unique, mothlike shape. Yay for bikes - we extracted ourselves from the exit traffic jams with ease.

As an extra treat, while Howard and I were on our way to a friend's house on Sunday, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane flew right over our heads. We stopped the bikes and watched the low formation approach across the flooded meadows, drinking in the sight and the noise.