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Husky Airways

Wings over Water

Howard persuaded me that the best way for us to get to Bournemouth Air Show was for him to ride on my pillion. It wasn't a very comfortable experience for either of us, but it was a useful exercise in smooth riding. The weather was gorgeous and the beach was already packed when we arrived, but we found a clear spot of sand and staked a claim so I could tear my clothes off and run into the freezing sea.

Swimming in the sea while watching a flying display is pretty much my idea of heaven, and there was a lot to watch: the lovely Sea Vixen ("There's nothing like it!" I told Howard. "...Except for the Vampire and the Venom."), the Chinook standing on its nose above the water, and Patrouille Reva in their weird Acroez aircraft.

The Red Arrows gave a faultless display against a clear, blue sky...with eight aircraft, rather than their customary nine. I admired their skill in keeping the group tight with one element gone, and was deeply moved by what I assumed was a 'missing man' formation in honour of Jon Egging, the pilot killed at Bournemouth in 2012.

It turns out one of the Hawks developed a problem on the way and had to turn back to Exeter airport.

The final airborne act was the Eurofighter Typhoon, turning and banking steeply with a grumble of jet engine and a glow of afterburner, whipping up the waves and causing every seagull to take off from the beach in a panic.

It was a glorious day, which made it all the more terrible to learn of the crash at Shoreham.

In response to some of what I've seen in the media about air displays and safety, I would like to reference this blog post. TL;DR version: it is more than 60 years since a spectator has died as a result of a crash at an airshow in the UK, thanks to regulations put in place after the Farnborough disaster of 1952. To put that in context, milavia.net lists more than 100 airshows and flypasts taking place in the UK in 2015.

As I was heading home up the A31 on Sunday, the Vulcan passed over the road ahead of me. Probably the last time I'll see it flying.


There used to be an example of another of Burt Rutan's designs flying into Biggin Hill regularly. It had a very distinctive sound. I havn't heard it in a while, though.

The media has been raising the "something must be done" war-cry over the Shoreham crash. At the moment it's one of those occasions when it'd be far better to either stick to reporting the facts or just shut up.
I understand that safety regulations are being reviewed. I hope the findings are that they are already pretty great and can't be improved!

Perhaps a Vari-Viggen, which I'd heard of thanks to my interest in Viggens. I had to look the team up to see what on earth they were flying, as I couldn't hear the commentator properly.
I suspect it was one of the models developed from that original design; maybe a VariEze or Long-EZ.
A tragic accident, indeed. My thoughts are with those who were injured, or who lost a friend or family member.
Hoping for a calm and respectful analysis.
The Typhoon really is quite something to behold. Maybe not as majestic as the Vulcan, but that'd be a tall order. ^_^

Does anyone know the cause of the crash at this point? I read somewhere that the pilot was aware he was too low, and trying to remedy that, suggesting the possibility of a mechanical failure. In any event, a tragic happening. As you note, though, such accidents, whilst they do occur, are quite rare, just as aviation itself is hardly without risk, yet the dangers are relatively miniscule.

Aha! Patrouille Reva! I'll have to remember that name and link, if I actually get around to posting more Eastbourne photos. ^_^ Wish I'd thought to take a bit of video, but I suppose there's always the official video for that. Any idea what the RIAT videos tend to be like? Would be quite good fun to actually see the very slow passage of the Airbus 380M, or the Osprey's touch and go, in motion. Still, I suppose there'll be other times - maybe I'll eventually have two cameras on tripods, one for stills, one for video. (And at Eastbourne, there was even plenty of space to do such, on the beach itself - I eventually wandered down there, in time for the Vulcan's arrival, as everywhere else was very busy)
I do love the Typhoon - it's Howard's favourite, too.

I have a couple of the official RIAT DVDs and they're fun to watch, though I can't imagine wanting to sit down with a decade's worth...
Par for the course for media reports, unfortunately. I've been struck by how similar the tabloids' tone has been to what I've read after motorsport disasters. (And a steam train near-disaster earlier this year, actually.) I must admit I didn't realise that it had been over 60 years since the last spectator died, but that's very impressive. Not, of course, that it makes the Shoreham disaster any less appalling.
Yes, I thought of parallels with motorsport.

I made the mistake of reading the comments on the Guardian website and it made me quite distressed and cross.
The Guardian seems to attract some particularly unpleasant commentators. Embarrassingly, the overall standard of debate is often worse than that in the Mail's comments sections.
Guardian readers write better. If only they used their powers for good instead of evil!