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Paul J

2019 Airshows

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Just spent the last half hour going through this years airshow listings and participating types. It seems that nearly all of them have exactly the same stuff taking part. There are some different ones and so far only one of the Duxford ones appeals and Yeovilton.  Is it me or are the shows really becoming samey?

Fairford is too expensive for me now and Yeovilton just quite a way from my home , yet several years ago I wouldn't think twice about going It was always a must do.

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Same. Guys from work are at Duxford this weekend. Fairford for me is every 3/4 years. It’s a sign of the times I’m afraid, less types more multirole so less different aircraft. Just rejoice that us of a certain age remember the Cold War golden years!.

 

Steve.

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1 hour ago, speedy said:

Same. Guys from work are at Duxford this weekend. Fairford for me is every 3/4 years. It’s a sign of the times I’m afraid, less types more multirole so less different aircraft. Just rejoice that us of a certain age remember the Cold War golden years!.

 

Steve.

Yep, when I look back at my Biggin Hill programmes from the '60's-70's the amount of types is incredible really. 

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When I was a nipper it was RAF Finningley.

For a kid around 10 it was magic and in a marquee building a red arrow was where I began modelling. 

 

Vulcans roaring in. Superb. You felt the ground shake before you heard or saw the plane.

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I am very lucky to have time to do what I want this year, first time since 2005, and I was looking forward to going to some kind of aviation event most weekends. However when I looked into it I was surprised at how sparse the 'big' airshow scene is compared to even 14 years ago (and we were moaning it ain't like the good old days even back then). Yeovilton is definitely on the list and I am looking forward to the arrival and departure days at RAF Fairford as well as the Friday 'short' display.

 

Michael

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Paul, you are not wrong. Airshows are becoming very samey indeed, for a number of reasons: lack of military participation, costs and the post-Shoreham situation are all among them.

 

The other main reason is the move towards beach and coastal sites. Fewer shows are being held at airfields, and this year sees the last Wings and Wheels at Dunsfold and the last Abingdon Air Fayre. Shuttleworth and Duxford continue to go from strength to strength, though it is noticeable that aircraft based at these airfields tend not to travel much to other venues. Farnborough is no longer holding the public weekend, though that is as much through the organiser's apathy as much as the post-Shoreham restrictions. The almost total disappearance of classic jets has not helped either. Those that we have had have mostly gone abroad or been grounded, and we are left with a handful of Jet Provost/Strikemasters.

 

The MoD has very little interest in supporting civilian events. There are now only two events organised by the military, and the RAF's show is at Cosford, where only a small proportion of its existing inventory can actually land and take off. They rely a lot on the RAF Museum and the technical school to make up numbers. The RAF still has a number of solo display acts, and this year we have the Typhoon, Chinook, Tutor and Tucano, all of which are making a number of appearances at different venues, but RAF static representation at non-military events has practically disappeared. Also this year, the Red Arrows will be departing for North America for the remainder of the season post-RIAT in July, and a lot of show organisers are facing the loss of their biggest draw as a result. The appearance of the Red Arrows in a show's line up can make or break it.

 

As regards RIAT, it is still the event to go to, though that is partly due to the overall decline in other shows. However, they are offering a Ukrainian Flanker, Spanish Harrier duo, USAF Osprey and four separate flying demos from the Italian Air Force amongst other things. Their pricing strategy is going over the top, and they are shamefully charging the same admission for the Friday 'half-show' as they are for either of the full weekend days. Some acts are not displaying both Saturday and Sunday either, which makes for a decision to either miss some things or fork out for both days. Last year I attended the arrivals days rather than the show days for the first time, enjoyed it rather more, and will be doing the same this year. I recommend it as a cheaper alternative, as you still see most of the flying displays and watch everything arrive for the static.

 

Overall, my impression is that the air display industry in the UK is for the most part in decline. Not terminal, thankfully, as we are still incredibly lucky in the number of events we have, but many of them are smaller and facing ever increasing regulation. I remember the KC-135 line-ups at Fairford, the massed helicopter approach to the soundtrack of Ride of the Valkyries at Middle Wallop and counting aircraft from thirteen nations taking part in the St. Mawgan air day, and I count myself very, very lucky to have seen them all. Sadly, we must now set our expectations lower.

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Just to add, if you get the chance go to an airshow in the US.

 

Plenty of military involvement (usually with fake explosions!) and a lot of different types on display.

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