The Cotswold Airshow was in full swing…
Cars travelling along the A429 towards Kemble Airfield were parking in every available lay-by, pull in and soft verge! Children’s heads were poking out from car windows, mums and dads were scrambling around in car boots and bags for the camera, and both eyes and cameras were tilted towards the sky. The Red Arrows were UP! What a thrill!
My heart was thumping as I arrived at the airshow. In my opinion The Red Arrows are the best display team in the world. I can remember watching displays in the 1970’s when the Folland Gnat was used – (displayed later in the day – flying with the Spitfire)! Nowadays they use BAE T1 Hawks.
The Red Arrows will perform around 90 displays and over 100 flypasts at various events, airshows, music festivals and celebrations this year. Their timetable is very busy, sometimes appearing at two events in a day and sometimes in two different countries!
It was great to meet and chat with two young engineers, Phil and Mark, who maintain the Hawks and ensure these jets are ready for all the displays.
Aircraft used for 2011 season are:
XX264 Founder Aircraft (with the Team since 1980) Red 1 Sqdn Ldr Ben Murphy
XX266 Founder Aircraft Red 2 Flt. Lt. Chris Lyndon-Smith
XX242 (joined in 2003) Red 3 Flt. Lt. Sean Cunningham
XX308 (joined in 1985) Red 4 Flt. Lt. Jon Egging
XX179 (joined in 2002) Red 5 Flt. Lt. Kirsty Moore
XX322 (joined in 2010) Red 6 Flt. Lt. David Montenegro
XX227 Founder Aircraft Red 7 Flt. Lt. Ben Plank & Snr.Aircraftman Simon Watkins
XX237 (joined in 1985) Red 8 Flt. Lt. Dave Davies
XX260 Founder Aircraft Red 9 Flt. Lt. Zane Sennett
XX177 (joined in 2010) Red 10 Sqdn.Ldr. Graeme Bagnall
There are two spares as well.
XX284 (on loan) and
XX294 (part of Aircraft Replacement Program)
You will note that I have taken a picture of the ‘rear end’ of a Hawk!
This shows the 3 metal tubes where the coloured vapour trails out during their display! Each aircraft can carry enough diesel and dye to create 5 minutes of white smoke, 1 minute of red and 1 minute of blue!
The Cotswold Airshow 2011 commemorates the 60th anniversary of the legendary Hawker Hunter. This classic jet, the Hunter holds great memories for me. You will probably have worked out by now, that not only do I love motorbikes I have a great passion for aeroplanes. Yes, I am an ‘OLD aircraft spotter’ complete with Ian Allan’s book of registration numbers!
It was a thrill to see Hunters from the UK and beyond (very colourful ones too) flying at the air show, alongside a host of other classic jets, civilian display acts and modern military hardware. It was a homage to the most famous and best loved British aircraft of all time.
Both children and adults clearly enjoyed this great display of Hunters, together with a huge amount of photographers. (Thank you to the very kind photographers who kindly allowed me to squeeze in to the front row and take – what I hope are good photos – of these beautiful old jets as they took off, diplayed and landed).
The Cotswold Airshow was a superb day out.
Sadly I missed XH558 Vulcan (Saturday only). However, I understand the display she gave was absolutely stunning! This old lady requires a huge amount of funding to stay up, but in my opinion worth every penny!