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Husky Airways

Tailfintastic

Airshow weekend! I took advantage of a two-day ticket offer for the Royal International Air Tattoo this year, because RIAT is big. With Saturday spent mainly looking at the sky and Sunday spent mainly walking around looking at the static display and chatting to pilots, I covered maybe 90% of the things I would have wanted to see, and that's leaving out all the stuff I was less bothered by.

On Friday after work I battled a congested M25, M4 and A417, then followed a twin-engined bizjet in to Gloucester Airport, where I was meeting Howard at the Aviator pub. Nice decor, slightly eccentric food, but plentiful and quick to arrive. Refreshed, we headed for Cheltenham, our hotel, and an early start the next day.

Progress along the entry queue was slow, but at least we were moving, unlike the cars. We were on the airfield shortly before 10, as the Spanish display team was performing. We walked through a Chinook and admired the Japanese Kawasaki P-1, with the trophy it had won for second place in the Concours d'Elegance proudly displayed in front of the nosewheel, before joining silverwindblade and wardy, who had established base camp on the crowdline.

Nobody moved much after this beyond the odd shopping/loos/ice cream foray, because there was non-stop entertainment in the sky. Fast jets were well represented, with Belgian and Hellenic F-16s, a brace of Mirage 2000s, a Mig-29 and, of course, the Eurofighter Typhoon.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, commemorated by a flight of 15 aircraft including Spits, Hurries, Messerschmitt 109s and a beautifully elegant Bristol Blenheim, restored to flying condition just in time.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Vulcan XH558, now well into its final display season. A magnificant solo display and a flypast with the Red Arrows made a fitting sendoff. Finally, another Typhoon specially painted in Battle of Britain colours, and flying with a Spitfire.

Meanwhile, the weather forecast for Sunday had changed from 'rain all day' to 'heatwave', much to my relief. It was grey and windy when we arrived, with occasional showers of drizzle, but it wasn't enough to stop the flying.

We caught the Eurofighter Typhoon display while queuing to look round the amazing Osprey and chat to its enthusiastic crew. I admired both their plane and their Spotify playlist, and bought a sticker to prettify my bike.

I always enjoy the bazaar aspect of the static park, where aircrews flog squadron T-shirts and mugs to the punters. I bought some small items and was given one or two freebies, including a tiny pair of clogs branded ROYAL NETHERLANDS AIR FORCE.

By lunchtime I'd switched from sweatshirt mode to shorts and sunhat. By 3pm we had traversed the entire length of the airshow, and were more than ready to sit down and watch the Vulcan/Red Arrows thing again.

We left shortly before six, and I struggled with more slow traffic all the way home to arrive after nine.

Comments

Sounds like a wonderful weekend! So glad you both had such a great time!! 😆
Thank you! It was excellent!
Glad you had a good time!

And there is another mention of the awesome P1! Did you happen to get any photos of it? :)
I did but it was rubbish, unfortunately (I decided to photograph the second one doing its flying display, forgetting as usual that my flying photos turn out terrible)!
It was rather magnificent, ne? ^_^ Sounds like your Saturday was a bit like my Friday - we arrived in horrible traffic, with an accident having closed one of the main routes, with light rain falling as the bus wound its way to the base, thankfully finishing up before arriving, but with no shortage of low cloud. By the afternoon, it was just bright sun, leaving us both a bit on the toasty side. ^_^

I so wish I could've seen the Vulcan in the air! Still, I did circle around it on display, catching some reasonable shots with the 10-20mm. If I'm in the area next year, I'm quite tempted to go for a weekend - I know there was plenty I barely got to see, although that was largely due to being stuck by the runway until about 3.45pm, hefting the gigantolens for about four hours straight. ^_^;

And the Osprey truly is a mad scientist creation. =:D (In the case of Skin Horse, literally so =:)
I am sorry you missed the Vulcan! I was following along on Twitter while stuck at work on Friday, and the weather did sound dismal first thing.

Bus is the way to go, I think - second best to having a bike, and probably better if you have a camera that size :)
Glad you had such a good time! =:)

It strikes me that you're the most likely person I know to know the answer to this: when the Vulcan's finished flying, what's going to happen to it? Sent off to a museum like the Cosford one, displayed in some other way, or what?
I think it's going to stay in its hangar for publicity, tours and maybe having its engines run on special occasions. Let me look this up...

Ooh, it will be the centre of a new educational facility: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/history/post-flight.html
An awesome day was had and, as always, it's better to enjoy things in like-minded company.
Absolutely!