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News Archive 8



Vulcan flies again
Vulcan - December 2007 Update
Vulcan - January 2008 Update
Spitfire T8 MT818
New paint scheme for the Red Arrows
Red Arrows 2008
RAF Displays (Role Demo) 2008 Update
2008 Airshow clashes
BBMF Fighters
2008 F-22 Raptor Schedule
Vulcan hits turbulence en route to Displays
ex-RAF Llanbedr to reopen
Vulcan - March 2008 Update
90th Anniversary Flypast in London
Vulcan - Resumes Test Flights
RAF Families Days 2008
Mig-23ML repaint
Vulcan News Update 6th May 2008
Vulcan - Tests are complete -awaiting paperwork - 9/5/08
Harrier crash
Newark Air Museum Chipmunk
Vulcan Saviour Gives Delta Wing a Prayer
Vulcan gets permit to Fly & Display
RIAT 2008 weekend Cancelled
Vulcan 2009 Provisional Dates/Venues




Vulcan flies again

After years of restoration, Vulcan XH558 has taken to the skies again after 14 years. XH558 took off from Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire at 12:27hrs on Thursday 18th October 2007 on a short local flight to cheers from the watching supporters, sponsors and engineers.

Just over 20 minutes later, to widespread relief, co-pilots McDicken and David Thomas landed it back on the Leicestershire airstrip.

"What a statement for those people who made that aircraft all those years ago," Squadron Leader McDicken said. "It's 25 years almost to the day that I last flew one. It was just wonderful."

Dr Robert Pleming, chief executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, said he felt a "huge sense of achievement" at finally getting the plane off the ground. "We finally did it after so many ups and downs," he said. "It's the British bulldog spirit."

BBC - Vulcan bomber returns to the sky

BBC - Video clip of Vulcan bomber taking off at Bruntingthorpe Airfield.

The Register

Vulcan December 2007 update

It's now two months since the spectacular first test flight of the re-born Vulcan XH558. The media coverage was widespread and totally enthusiastic; this unique success has captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

The Vulcan is well-and-truly back!

Looking to the future: our now-airworthy XH558 has to carry out two further 3-hour test flights, and a compass-swing, to complete the certification activities yielding the Permit-to-Fly. Given the weather at this time of year, and other scheduling constraints, we are progressing slowly, but with an ongoing schedule of servicing and testing to keep the aircraft in top condition.

We are beginning to think about the Vulcan's air display appearance schedule for 2008: we will make good on our promises to take the aircraft to the people. We are actively discussing arrangements with air display and outside event organisers, and are delighted with their responses.

Alongside our engineering and operational activities, I'm delighted at the launch of our new Educational programme. Under the leadership of Miriam Tong, VTST's Education Manager, we are announcing a range of educational offerings, initially targeted at local primary schools, which will see young people learning from the design, engineering and history of the Vulcan. We're really excited about the inspirational messages that we will bring to a new generation of the young, who have never before seen the Vulcan in flight. (Please contact us if you want to find out more.)

Turning now to our finances, we are currently living a hand-to-mouth existence. The additional costs arising from lengthy delays in reaching first test flight have pushed us right to the limit. If it was not for the goodwill of many of our suppliers, we would have had to "call it a day" shortly after first test flight due to external factors. We have taken sensible decisions in paring our costs back to the core whilst retaining our operational capabilities, but that still leaves us with the need to raise £60,000 per month just to remain viable. Any additional activity, such as actually flying the aircraft, requires us to raise substantially more cash.

So what are we doing? On the fund-raising side, at the start of the New Year you'll see some initiatives to find new supporters, and to stimulate additional donations and merchandise sales. We hope that our existing list of 25,000 donors will be keen to safeguard their investments in XH558 by making further donations; we remain totally reliant on this donation flow to keep us going until the sponsorship revenue stream commences.

On the sponsorship side, our potential sponsors are delighted that the first flight has generated so much national and international interest and media coverage, and that all questions about our credibility and ability to deliver have been silenced. We are now working to cultivate a number of opportunities. Given the size of the amounts under discussion and the current economic uncertainties, decision timescales are likely to stretch well into 2008.

Vulcan January 2008 update

Honouring the Past, Inspiring the Future.

As promised in the last message, here is news on our progress towards delivering Vulcan XH558 back to UK air displays later this year. To minimise duplication, I have written this as an update to my last message of 10th December, which is reproduced below.

The next phase in the new life of XH558 takes the aircraft from today up to its first public display. In funding terms, we estimate that it will cost about £575,000 to meet our target of returning her to public display on 1st June, an amount which is consistent with our estimated gross annual running costs of about £1.6million.

Following on from the enormous financial goodwill shown by many companies, and by Marshall Aerospace in particular, in enabling us to achieve the first test flight on 18th October, we have chosen to avoid the risk of future fiscal embarrassment by electing to pay for any major work before it starts.

Whilst the largest proportion of the £575,000 pays for the monthly £70,000 baseline costs of salaries and other vital items, the steepest part of the new challenge is the upfront outlay of £85,000 required now to restart the test flight programme. The costs of the display work-up flights and aviation insurance are the other major elements making up the total.

This leads me to our revenue generating activities.

Donations are continuing, with some significant donations coming from well-known companies, some of which fund the repayment our extremely patient creditors following first flight. We continue to seek major donations not only of cash but of support-in-kind, from many different types of companies, groups and individuals, linked to project milestones, through for example fund-raising dinners and events at Bruntingthorpe. However we cannot be confident that this is a source of revenue on which we can rely in the longer term.

Gaining commercial sponsorship remains our primary objective for the majority of the longer-term funding of our operation. As we had hoped, the First Flight has proved pervasive in establishing our credibility with potential sponsors, and contributed to a massive £1million's worth of publicity over 2007. However the current economic conditions are extremely unhelpful: many companies are tightening their belts. True to our philosophy of never giving up, we have decided to go where the cash is: the Middle East. We already have one potential line of significant interest, but as mentioned in my last message, it may well take some time to carefully bring these opportunities to fruition. If any reader of this message has certain knowledge of a potential sponsor, please contact Michael Trotter, our Business Development Director, on +44 (0)7803 141483.

With our migration from a major capital project to an ongoing flow of commitments, we have been looking for ways to match our funding streams to the profile of our costs. It's clear that the Vulcan to the Sky Club, which has almost doubled in membership over the past year, is home to our strongest, most loyal and active supporters. In return for a modest annual subscription, the Club offers a range of member benefits, and is also able to remit a proportion of its income to the Trust. I have agreed with the Club's Committee that a significant growth in the Club's membership is not only achievable, but would reflect the sentiment of supporters and also provide a proportion of the ongoing revenues now needed by the Trust. The Club, with the support of the Trust, is therefore embarking on a significant membership drive. (As an example of one of the benefits, the presentation that I made to the Club's members on 12th January is downloadable from the Club Area on this website.)

We are undertaking a detailed review of our future requirements for our operating base. Our primary needs are clearly operational and maintenance feasibility, and affordability (including grants), however we also need to take into account the location as regards visitor access and catchment area, timescales and notice periods. Because of the sensitivity of some of the discussions, I can't at this stage tell you more, but will do so as soon as appropriate.

We continue to firm up arrangements for the 2008 season with display organisers, whose enthusiasm to include the Vulcan is only tempered by our need to charge a reasonable appearance fee to offset our costs!

Finally, we have launched the first stage in our Education Programme, with the announcement in December that our Partnership Primary School, Huncote Primary, will be trialling the first formal components toward the end of this month. In addition, if you are the member of a group or an association who would value a lecture or a visit, please contact Miriam Tong, our Education and Access Manager on 0116 247 8145.

I will publish a further update in March, unless there is significant news beforehand. The Avro Vulcan XH558 programme continues to be unique and challenging, but also exciting and inspiring. I'm sure that 2008 will end as 2007 just has, with a whole lot of joyous memories.

Thank you for staying with us.
Robert Pleming - Chief Executive, VTST

Vulcan February 2008 update

Mayday Mayday – Vulcan hits turbulence en route to Displays.

Avro Vulcan XH558 has run into the headwinds of the current economic conditions. The return of the aircraft to air displays is at risk of being slowed to a stop because potential sponsors have drawn in their purse strings and are not making available the expected funds. With three month's work still needed to ready the aircraft and its crew for air displays, the lack of funding to start this last phase is now endangering the return of the Vulcan to the beginning of the airshow season.

"We need to start the rest of the test flight programme with the return of good weather at the beginning of March, but we still have to have £150,000 in our hands before we can do that, plus confidence that we will go on raising at least £50,000 per month after that. Right now we look like we're going to be starved of funds at this critical moment for the Vulcan. Every week's delay to the restart from the end of February will push the first display appearance back by another week. What we are asking people for now is a fraction of what we have raised already, but it is needed now!", says Dr Robert Pleming, Chief Executive of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust.

Having delivered on their promise of August 2006 to put Vulcan XH558 back into the air, on 18th October 2007, Robert Pleming's loyal team at Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Leicestershire are determined not to fail to meet the public's expectations of the Vulcan's return to the air display world this summer.

Over £6million has been spent on returning Vulcan XH558 to flight, of which £2.7million has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The rest – the majority – has come from public donations, making XH558 truly the public's aircraft.

"I'm afraid that if we don't fly again soon, the door will start to close on the future of the Vulcan in flight. We won't be able to carry out our role of 'Honouring the Past, Inspiring the Future', providing a once-seen, never-forgotten sight to a new generation of youngsters, stimulating interest in design and engineering, and telling people about an important period in our Nations history", continues Robert Pleming, "With the public's help, the triumphant return of this much-loved aircraft this summer will become the not-to-be-missed spectacle of the season. But we sincerely hope that companies will also give serious consideration to taking up the sponsorship opportunity of the year."

Keith Mans, Chairman of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust agrees: "Once again, we are dependent on the goodwill of other people to ensure that XH558, the people's aircraft, continues to fly. In August 2006, the public responded magnificently to our plea for support, and as the result of the £1.3million donated, XH558 took to the air last October. We are praying that people will rise to the somewhat smaller challenge we now face, and help us by making a donation and/or joining the Club today, to ensure that we are able to keep our promise to give XH558 back to the Nation this summer"

Donations may be sent to VTST, Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 5QS, By donating online at http://www.vulcantothesky.com or by 'phone to 0116 247 8145

Companies who want to take advantage of the very real corporate sponsorship opportunities should contact Michael Trotter on 07803 141483.

Vulcan March 2008 update

News Update 13th March
At today's DASC symposium, Dr Robert Pleming addressed the audience of display organisers and crews with an update on the project to bring Vulcan XH558 back on to the display circuit.

Funding has now been achieved for the next stage of work for further flight tests to begin. Effectively, the £150,000 mark has been reached but efforts must continue to raise £50,000 a month for the next four months.

In another development, it was revealed that 2Excel Aviation, the company behind the Blades display team, are now looking after the day to day negotiations and operations with display orgainsers on behalf of the Vulcan Operating Company.

Vulcan April 2008 update

Vulcan News Update 14th April
Monday's Test Flight

Vulcan XH558 has resumed its test flights on 14th April 2008 with a two hour flight after which it landed at RAF Cottesmore. The statement below is taken from I'm pleased to say that today's flight was another great success for the VOC.

Despite a warning light indicating a fire in the AAPP, which forced the crew to follow the standard safety procedure of returning to the ground fifteen minutes sooner that scheduled, inspection on the ground showed no evidence of fire or any other damage.

Even with the early (very smooth) landing, eighty per cent of tests were completed, meaning we're right on course for a compass swing tomorrow.

We will keep you posted as testing progresses.

Onward and upward.

Dr Robert Pleming

BBC Leicestershire News

BBC Vulcan video-clips

Vulcan News Update 16th April
XH558 took to the air again this afternoon from RAF Cottesmore for her third test flight, to test the new avionics fit.

The tests discovered a couple of minor snags, but nothing of major significance; this is after all what the tests were designed to achieve. A decision was made by the flight crew to shorten the test flight, and the aircraft landed back at Bruntingthorpe after about 45minutes.

The decision to land early arose because the starboard landing gear bay door failed to close after take-off, raising concerns that the door might be strained if flight was continued. There were no safety issues at any stageA further test flight will now be scheduled in the next few days; it is not anticipated that any major delay will result.

Very many thanks for all at RAF Cottesmore for making the Vulcan team so welcome over the last three days.

Message from Robert Pleming, Chief Executive VTST, 18th April 2008

The middle of April saw the safe completion of two further test flights, and the Compass Swing at RAF Cottesmore. Some snags were encountered, but that is the point of test flying – to discover problems!

Some of these snags were put right in between the two test flights, but the curtailment of the second flight because the starboard landing gear bay door would not close means that there will be at least one more test flight.

We expect that this further flight will happen before the end of April, and therefore don't expect there to be any major impact on our plans to appear at airshows early in the summer.

The media coverage of the test flights, especially on the BBC, has been huge, and significant confirmation of the continuing interest by the public at large in the Vulcan.

Following the completion of the test flights, there will be an interlude of about a month, during which Marshall Aerospace and the CAA will be completing the final reviews and paperwork leading to the grant of the Permit to Fly.

We will then be able to fly again, this time to practice how we will bring XH558 to airshows. The final step is to fly our airshow sequence in front of a CAA Display Examiner, who, if satisfied with its safety, will issue a Display Authorisation.

We remain reliant on our supporters for the fund-raising momentum that will take us to the airshow season. We must keep it up – and I am pleased to let you know that because of the test flights, so far the momentum has not dropped. We need to find at least £50,000 cash every month until we have returned to the airshow circuit .

You can play your part – if you haven't already done so – by £ or joining the Club now or by joining the "558 Flying Fund" perpetual draw now, and by asking your family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances to do the same.

As a reminder, XH558's hangar at Bruntingthorpe is open every Sunday10.00am – 4.00pm for drop-in visitors, in return for a £5 donation per visitor – what better way to get up-close and personal with your favourite flying aircraft!

Our hopes and expectations are that once XH558 re-appears at airshows, the sight and sound of the Vulcan will create additional fund-raising and sponsorship momentum that will carry us through the airshow season and beyond – that is what we are all working for.

Of major note is the recent donation of £40,000 by the Vulcan to the Sky Club to the Trust, specifically to ensure that our quarterly aviation insurance premiums are up-to-date. On everyone's behalf, I would like to thank the Club and its members for their continuing and significant support.

Finally, I must say a very big thank-you firstly to all at RAF Cottesmore, who made the Vulcan to the Sky team most welcome during our three-day stay, and secondly to all our Volunteers, who turn out loyally to help us with ground operations every time we want to fly!

On behalf of everyone looking forward to seeing the Vulcan this year, many thanks for helping so many people's hopes turn to reality.

Robert Pleming
Chief Executive

BBC Leicestershire News

BBC Vulcan video-clip

Vulcan News Update 6th May 2008

AVRO VULCAN XH558 RETURNS TO RAF CONINGSBY

The world's only flying Avro Vulcan, XH558, arrived at Royal Air Force Coningsby under a clear blue afternoon sky on Tuesday 6 May 2008. The Vulcan, landing in Lincolnshire for the first time since a comprehensive rebuild, is visiting the airfield for maintenance work on its compass and to conduct air tests.

Before landing, and in front of an audience of appreciative spectators who watched from outside of the station, the impeccably restored aircraft flew along the runway, demonstrating the magnificent delta, (triangular shaped) wing. The Vulcan shares the advantages of a delta wing with the current incumbents at Coningsby, the state of the art, swing-role, Typhoon.

XH558 last landed at Coningsby in June 1992, when she gave a flying display in her last season as a RAF display aircraft. The visit of the Vulcan gives RAF personnel at Coningsby the opportunity to see part of the RAF's heritage, in this, the 90th anniversary of the force's creation in 1918. Vulcans were based at Coningsby for two years from 1962 until 1964 with Numbers, 9, 12, and 35 Squadron.

In its role as a long-range strategic bomber, the Avro Vulcan was a direct descendant of the Avro Lancaster. At Coningsby the Vulcan shared a photographic opportunity with the Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF). It is the first time for many years that the Vulcan and the equally unique and precious sole flying Lancaster in Europe have shared the same airfield. The Vulcan and Typhoon were also photographed together, the first time that the Cold War icon and the most modern of RAF aircraft have been pictured together.

Wing Commander Tony Innes, acting Station Commander at Coningsby said: "We are delighted to facilitate additional testing for the Vulcan. As many of you will be aware the Vulcan was stationed here in 1962 and it is testament to the Aircrafts build and quality that it is able to fly into RAF Coningsby some 46 years later."

Mr David Thomas, the Vulcan pilot, who as a former RAF officer also flew the BBMF Lancaster, said: "I flew both the Lancaster and the Vulcan in RAF service; I have a tremendous feeling for both aircraft, almost a love affair. It is wonderful to bring the Vulcan back to Coningsby where I started my first tour on Vulcans with 35 Squadron in 1964"

Andrew Edmondson, Engineering Director of the Vulcan to the Sky project stated: "Coningsby is obviously a very special place for everyone associated with the Vulcan, and it made me very proud to lead the team that returned XH558 to the base in full working order. Everyone at Coningsby, and the RAF in general, have been hugely supportive of the project. A big part of our mission is to honour all of the servicemen that served during the Cold War, and it was great to see so many people on the airfield coming out to show their appreciation of what we are trying to achieve. Military personnel, our supporters club, the general public and the Heritage Lottery Fund have helped us move heaven and earth to return XH558 to the sky. Now we hope a commercial sponsor can be found in time to mean that it has not all been in vain."

The combination of the sun's warmth and the knowledge that when she returns home her testing will be complete filled everyone on the airfield with hope that both the Permit to Fly and the air show season will be with us soon - a sentiment I'm sure you all share.

All that will then be left to put in place is the all essential sponsorship – you can help by clicking now on the e-donate or calling the project office on 0116 2478145 for further information.

Andrew Edmondson Engineering Director VTST

Vulcan News Update 9th May 2008
XH558 returned safe and sound to Bruntingthorpe today (9th May 2008), touching down in a blaze of glory and sunshine at around 13.00.

All of the tests are complete and paperwork is about to be submitted for CAA approval, which will be the second major milestone reached in the last few months (the first being a return to flight). Now we hold our breath and wait for a Permit to Fly, and a corporate sponsor to unclip XH558's wings.

For everyone at the project it is unfathomable that any number of sponsors are not locked in a bidding war to be associated with such a great British icon. Unfortunately they are not. If a major cash injection is not forthcoming the hanger doors will remain closed at Bruntingthorpe and XH558will once more sit in darkness pondering what more she could have done to have a few more seasons in the sun.

Vulcan Saviour Gives Delta Wing a Prayer

Just as it seemed that the 15 years and £7 million spent to restore the world's only remaining Vulcan bomber to full serviceability would be in vain, a sponsor has come in at the 11th hour and given the project a temporary reprieve. Aerobytes Ltd., which supplies flight safety and fuel saving software to the aviation industry, has responded to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust's (VTST) pleas for financial assistance by swelling the coffers enough to ensure that the iconic aircraft will appear at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford (12 – 13 July) and Farnborough International (14 – 20 July) airshows – subject to the UK CAA granting XH558 a Permit to Fly and a Display Authority certificate.

Vulcan gets permit to Fly & Display

Today (3rd July 2008) the Vulcan (XH558) has received her permit to fly on the UK Civil Register by the Civil Aviation Authority. XH558 flew up to RAF Waddington on 3/7/08 in preparation for the airshow(5-6th July 2008) and has now received authorisation to take part in the flying display.

Click for full size version - photo credit - Howard Heeley
Click for full size version - photo credit - John Bilcliffe
Photo(left) Vulcan at Waddington 2008 Press Day after receiving Display Authorisation (photo credit - Howard Heeley).
Photo(right) Vulcan at Waddington 2008 Press Day after receiving Display Authorisation (photo credit - John Bilcliffe).
Click photo for full size version.

Congratulations to TVOC now that Vulcan XH558 has a Permit to Fly and Display Authorisation (First Display was at the RAF Waddington International Air Show where it took to the air on Saturday 5th July 2008.

Disappointingly on the Sunday at RAF Waddington, for the first time in the ten flights since the completion of her restoration, there was a technical problem which unfortunately prevented XH558 taking off. The problem was quickly and easily diagnosed; it was a fault on a voltage regulator on the alternator on No.3 engine. However XH558 did demonstrate an aborted take off at full power on a wet runway, which provided spectators with not only the sound but also the spectacular sight of the Vulcan in the midst of a huge plume of spray in the sunshine.

The Vulcan was also planning to display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on Saturday 12th - Sunday 13th July 2008 but unfortunately this event was cancelled due to heavy rain resulting in waterlogged car parks and showground.



RAF Displays 2008 Update

2008 RAF Role Demo

2008 will see the Royal Air Force performing a Role Demo again at selected airshow venues, utilising various aircraft to show their operational capability rather than solo aircraft performing aerobatics. Last year saw the successful introduction of an RAF Role Demo at Biggin Hill, RAF Cosford, Kemble, RAF Waddington, Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, and the Spirit of Adventure show(s) using :- x2 Tornado F3s, x2 Tornado GR4s, x2 Hawks, x1 E3-D, x1 C-130, x1 Chinook, ground troops, and pyrotechnics for the explosions.

Changes continue to take place in how the Royal Air Force will display its aircraft at events in 2008. There will be a change of emphasis away from displaying aerobatics and performance to the operational capability of front-line types. At large shows and seafront displays, multi-ship demos including both air and ground assets showing a cross-section of aircraft types representing the roles that are undertaken by the RAF during current operations will take place along with a full commentary. However, apart from the multi-role demos, solo displays will also be available to airshow organisers in 2008 depending on where the RAF can gain best coverage for recruiting and PR purposes. In 2007 the demo lasted approximately 25 minutes and represented real RAF air power roles such as air defence, offensive support, ISTAR, troop insertion and close air support. Narrative and special effects were used to assist in bringing the scenario to life.

The new RAF multi-role demos will take place at the following venues in 2008:

- RAF Cosford (1 June 2008)
- Biggin Hill (7-8 June 2008)
- Kemble (15 June 2008)
- RAF Waddington (5-6 July 2008)
- RAF Fairford (RIAT) (12-13 July 2008)
- Sunderland (26-27 July 2008)
- Southport (6-7 September 2008) - (Expect a great deal of Pyro/Special effects at Southport)
- RAF Leuchars (13 September 2008) - (The Leuchars airshow returns in 2008 after runway repairs in 2007)

Aircraft so far confirmed to take part in the 2008 Role Demos:

- x2 Tornado F3 +1 Spare
- x2 Tornado GR4 +1 Spare
- x2 Hawk
- x1 E3-D
- x1 Chinook

There may also be an Army Air Corps Apache taking part in the demo.

The C-130 Hercules has not yet been confirmed.

2008 RAF Solo Displays

There will be solo displays in 2008 (similar numbers as in 2007) by the RAF Tutor T1, RAF Tucano T1 and Hawk T1. There will also be a solo display by the RAF Typhoon (similar numbers as in 2007). Note that the RAF Hawk T1 will take part as a solo display in 2008 but it is doubtful for 2009.

Despite efforts made to get the RAF Harrier GR7, it will not be part of the Role Demo or as a solo display in 2008. This is because of heavy operational commitments, and Royal Navy pilot conversion to the GR7/GR9.

The RAF Chinook will be making some airshow appearances in the Role demo and as a solo display but the Merlin HC3 will be in the static only.

Super King Air B200 which is making its debut on the display circuit this year.

The solo Hawk T1 and solo Tucano T1 Display aircraft have a new paint scheme for 2008 (90th anniversary of the RAF) which can be seen below:

 Tucano T1  - pic by Webmaster Hawk T1   - pic by Webmaster

Special Displays

There will be a number of special displays by the Royal Air Force similar to last year such as the Red Arrows in formation with x4 BBMF Fighters, Spitfire and Typhoon etc.

RAF page

RAF website

Red Arrows 2008

Training for the 2008 display season will begin at Royal Air Force Scampton at the beginning of January 08, followed by the Team's annual training detachment to Royal Air Force Akrotiri in Cyprus in April 08.

The Red Arrows will begin a tour of Canada and the USA in June 2008, they will display at RAF Cosford airshow(1st June 2008) and quickly depart to North America and will hopefully be back in time for the Waddington Airshow (5th-6th July 2008).

The Red Arrows aerobatics team could move from their base at RAF Scampton, according to the head of the air force.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpey said he hoped the elite flyers would remain in Lincolnshire and a decision was expected to be made in 2008.

There has been speculation that the team may move as part of a review currently being carried out by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). ACM Torpey said RAF Waddington was a possible location for the flyers. He said the unit were a "complex operation to run" because they needed to practice three times a day when preparing for a touring season.

"What we're doing is looking at the most appropriate base for the Red Arrows. There are a number of options... and Waddington is one of them. "They may move but we haven't decided the best location for them at the moment but they will be staying in Lincolnshire, I would hope."
see BBC News report.



New paint scheme for the Red Arrows

The Red Arrows unveiled a new paint scheme for its Hawk aircraft on 31st October 2007. This is the first time a new paint scheme has been applied to the aircraft since they were delivered to the Red Arrows in 1979.

They will be leaving for a tour of the Middle and Far East on 4th November 2007 until returning on the 18th December 2007. The Red Arrows will be performing 18 displays and visiting 13 countries including Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Malaysia, India and Pakistan.

2007 is the Red Arrows' 43rd display season. Since the team's creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have performed over 4,000 displays in 53 countries.


Old Paint Scheme

New paint scheme
Picture: SAC Alex Scott.
www.mod.uk)

MOD Website - Red Arrows unveil new look aircraft

Red Arrows Website



2008 Airshow clashes

There have been a number of airshow clashes for the 2008 UK airshow season.

Most notable is the clash between the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford and Duxford's Flying Legends airshow both of which take place on 12th-13th July 2008. RIAT have published future dates (up to 2016) on their website which are dictated by having to be a week before Farnborough's public airshow weekend. Flying Legends at Duxford has been held on the second weekend of July for some years.

Another notable clash of airshows is the Yeovilton International Air Day on 5th July and the Waddington International Air Show on 5th-6th July 2008.

With the Red Arrows beginning a tour of Canada and the USA in June 2008, this has caused concern with airshow organisers as the Red Arrows are a major attraction at any airshow for the general public. The Red Arrows will display at RAF Cosford on 1st June 2008 and quickly depart to North America and should be back to take part in the Waddington International Air Show on 5th-6th July 2008.



Spitfire T8 MT818

The 2-seat Spitfire T8 (MT818) has been bought by Paul Andrews, based at Wycombe Air Park in the UK. MT818 was previously owned and operated in Oregan, USA.

MT818 was originally built as a Spitfire LF VIIIc at Castle Bromwich in 1944. It was delivered to the Controller of Research and Development at High Post in 1944, then transferred to Farnborough. It was converted to a 2-seat Spitfire T8 at Chilbolton, Hampshire and flew in August 1946. Flight trials at Boscombe Down showed that it had similar handling to the single seat Spitfire but the cockpits came in for criticism with poor view from the rear cockpit for take-off and landing. The RAF showed no interest in this aircraftand no further conversions were made making this a unique aircraft in that it is the only Spitfire T8 ever built.

MT818 was stored from 1952-1956 then sold to various owners. It was badly damaged landing at Baginton in the late 1970s and didn't fly again until 1982 after being bought by a buyer in Houston, Texas. It was registered N58JE and the restoration process was completed in 1987. It has since been a part of the Tillamook NAS Air Museum until returning to the UK after being bought by Paul Andrews.

Currently its Rolls Royce Merlin is being replaced for a correct Merlin 266 engine and it is hoped she will be flying by the end of 2008.



BBMF Fighters

Contract Award for Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Fighters

Major maintenance of the BBMF fighters will be carried out by the Aircraft Restoration Company (ARCo) based at Duxford near Cambridge, for the next 5 years with an option to extend to 7 years. The contract was awarded to ARCo after a competitive process by the Nimrod IPT, based at RAF Wyton, as they are responsible for the DE&S engineering, commercial and financial support functions for Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The first aircraft due in for maintenance is MK356, a clipped wing Mk LFIXe Spitfire. MK356 was originally built at Castle Bromwich and delivered to Digby in 1944. It took part in operations over France and is credited with a shared kill of a ME109. After the war, it was used as an instructional airframe and gate guardian before going on display at the St Athan museum. Refurbishment began in 1992 and it eventually flew in 1997 after being earthbound for 53 years. It currently wears the colours of 443 Sqn RCAF, which are the only markings it wore operationally. Traditionally, BBMF aircraft change their colour scheme during major maintenance. The new scheme will depict a 601 Squadron aircraft based in the Italian theatre in 1943.

The aircraft will be flown to Duxford at the beginning of October 2007. Maintenance is scheduled to take 6 months. The main tasks will include a repaint, replacement of the MK500 Merlin engine with a M266 Merlin engine to return the aircraft to build standard and many detailed inspections. The DE&S Project Manager is BBMF Eng, CT Colin Robertson. Colin's previous projects include the major maintenance of Dakota ZA947, Chipmunk WK518, Hurricane LF363 and Lancaster PA474.

BBMF Website



2008 Raptor Schedule

The official 2008 F-22 Raptor Schedule:

March
6-9 Davis Monthan AFB, AZ Heritage Training
29 Tyndall AFB, FL
30 NAS Meridian, MS

April
26 Charleston AFB. SC

May
3-4 March ARB, CA
10-11 Pittsburgh, PA
16-18 Andrews AFB, MD
24-25 Jones Beach, NY

June
20-22 Langley AFB, VA
28-29 Elmendorf AFB, AK

July
11-13 Fairford, UK
14 Farnborough, UK

19-20 Dayton, OH

August
1-3 Oshkosh, WI
9-10 Fairchild AFB, WA
15-17 Chicago, IL
23-24 Greenfield, IN

September
6 Shaw AFB, SC
12-14 Reno, NV
20-21 NAS Oceana, VA

October
3-5 MCAS Miramar
18-19 Dobbins AFB, GA
25-26 Holloman AFB, NM

November
1-2 Lackland AFB, TX
8-9 Nellis AFB, NV



ex-RAF Llanbedr to reopen

The ex-RAF base at Llanbedr Airfield in Gwynedd, Wales is to reopen after being bought by a team of entrepreneurs who already run Kemble Airport near Cirencester in the Cotswolds.

The Welsh Assembly Government announced recently that the Kemble team was its preferred bidder for Llanbedr following an international marketing campaign for an operator to run the airfield as a commercial aerodrome and a competitive tendering process.

Llanbedr Airfield was decommissioned by the MoD in 2004 and acquired by the Assembly Government two years ago to ensure it would be used in ways that would benefit the local economy and create business and job opportunities.

The Kemble team says it intends to follow the successful business model operated at Kemble Airport which is a CAA licensed airfield with several established resident flying clubs. Its proposals for Llanbedr include reopening the airfield to civilian and possibly military aircraft, letting premises on the site for both aerospace and non- aerospace uses, and promoting the site for a number of other specialist activities ranging from product launches to film and television location shoots, vehicle testing and tourism-related events.

A clause in the lease will allow Llanbedr to be used in conjunction with Aberporth air base further south on the Cardigan Bay coast for unmanned aerial vehicles which are increasingly used by air forces as spy planes or test targets.

The new airfield operators are already planning an open day and small air show for August 20th 2008.

Daily Post Website



90th Anniversary Flypast in London

The 1 April 2008 marks the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force and the RAF will be celebrating this important birthday with events throughout the year. And, for the first time, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows will fly in formation with 4 Typhoon aircraft along the River Thames to the London Eye– on our birthday, the 1st of April - giving Londoners the chance to see the flypast, whether they work or live in the East, the City or the West End of London.

The flypast is timed so that the formation will fly over the London Eye at 1 o'clock sharp. The RAF want to invite Londoners to come and see the spectacle of the Red Arrows and Typhoon aircraft in this unique formation – to celebrate our birthday and say thank you to all our airmen and women who have served on operations, both in the past and today. The flypast will start just south of London City Airport, before passing The O2, flying right past Canary Wharf, then past Wapping, over Tower Bridge, just south of Tate Modern, before overflying the London Eye at 1 PM. Once the formation has flown over the London Eye it will continue over the Ministry of Defence, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

Royal Air Force Website (includes map)



RAF Families Days 2008

RAF Coningsby Families Day - 14th June
RAF Halton Families Day - 14th-15th June
RAF Brize Norton Families Day - 21st June
RAF Linton-on-Ouse Family Day - 28th June
CFS Reunion at Cranwell - 17th July
RAF Marham Families Day - 24th July
RAF Odiham Families Day - 24th July
RAF Cottesmore Families Day - 25th July
RAF Benson Families Day - 7th August
RAF Lyneham Families Day - 14th August
RAF Leeming Families Day - 13th September

Note that these events are NOT open to the general public.
These dates are believed to be correct but may change.



Mig-23ML repaint

Despite a slight delay due to the recent poor weather work has recently started on repainting the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23M "Flogger" 024003607 "07", a former Soviet Bloc jet fighter that is currently on loan with the Newark Air Museum. A significant amount of surface preparation has already taken place and the first primer coat applied.

The work is being undertaken by a group of local aviation enthusiast who approached the museum via its website www.newarkairmuseum.org and the Air-Scene UK website www.airsceneuk.org.uk The enthusiasts are painters by trade, working for a company based in Nottingham. Whilst initially they are working on the MiG23 they eventually they hope to move on to the MiG27 that is also on loan at the museum.

The MiG23 will be painted in the markings of a Polish Air Force squadron to reflect the museum's strong Second World War connections with Poland [The first operational squadrons at RAF Winthorpe in 1941 were 300 & 301 Polish Squadrons; Newark Cemetery has a large Polish war grave section; and the museum has Polish memorials displayed in its Exhibition Hall.]

The repainting team have liaised closely with the museum's Restoration Manager to establish the framework for the project, which is working to similar standards as those employed by the regular volunteer workforce at the museum. Prior to commencement of work the airframe was surveyed and full details of the stencil markings were recorded. The museum trustees are known to be "…very appreciative of the offer that was made to undertake the work on the MiGs".

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23ML "Flogger" (024003607 "07") at Newark Air Museum in Nottinghamshire is to be repainted as a Polish Air Force example by Gary Watson.

The first photo, taken by Gary on 27-04-08, shows the Flogger in a sand colour 'Buff' primer being prepared for its make-over.

The photo, taken by Gary on 27-04-08, shows the Flogger in a sand colour 'Buff' primer being prepared for its make-over.
MiG-23ML "Flogger" 27-04-08 in a
sand colour 'Buff' primer being
prepared for its make-over.
Kaye at Newark, masking off starboard intake to try to get it better looking,but no dice will have to try something else.
Kaye masking off starboard intake.
Mig restoration team member Miss Kaye Watson at Newark today 5-5-08 painting under-side of tailplane, port side with 'Buff-primer'. Well done Kaye Marie, helped big-time. Kaye is 18 years old and allowed to work on the project with the team.
Kaye painting under-side of tailplane
with 'Buff-primer- 5-5-08.
The photo, taken by Gary on 10-05-08, showing starboard side coated up in Soviet-grey.
MiG-23ML "Flogger" 10-05-08 showing
starboard side coated up in Soviet-grey.
The photo, taken by Gary on 10-05-08, showing starboard side coated up in Soviet-grey.
MiG-23ML "Flogger" 10-05-08 showing
starboard side coated up in Soviet-grey.
The top-coat of paint has recently been applied to Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23M
MiG-23ML "Flogger" 20-05-08 showing
recently applied top-coat, awaiting Polish markings.

Repainted MiG-23ML "Flogger" June 2008 - showing main Polish national markings.

Repainted MiG-23ML "Flogger" June 2008 - showing main Polish national markings.
Job Done! Mig restoration team member Miss Kaye Watson at Newark.
Kaye gets the job done!.

Newark Air Museum



Harrier crash

A Royal Navy Harrier GR7A (ZD408) crashed north-east of RAF Cottesmore at about 1350 BST on 16th June 2008.

The pilot ejected safely and was taken to Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre by air ambulance. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. The aircraft crashed about 200yds from Ashwell. No civilian casualties were reported.

The Harrier was returning from a training exercise in Norfolk ahead of a four-month deployment in Afghanistan.

BBC News report



Newark Air Museum Chipmunk

Photos below of of the reassembly of Chipmunk WB624 at Newark Air Museum:
Chipmunk WB624 at Newark Air Museum - Photo by Howard Heeley
Chipmunk WB624 at Newark Air Museum - Photo by Howard Heeley
Photos by Howard Heeley taken on 12th June 2008.

Newark Air Museum



RIAT 2008 weekend Cancelled

The week preceding the weekend of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire saw unusually heavy rainfall which caused major problems which resulted in waterlogged conditions not only in the public car parks but also on the airfield itself.

On Wednesday 9th July, RIAT issued a statement on their website which said that tickets will not be on sale at the Fairford gates on Saturday, July 12. However, they said tickets were still available for both Saturday and Sunday from Ticketmaster as well as from selected branches of Barclays Bank, Robert Dyas and a number of Tourist Information Centres. Full statement from RIAT website below:

NO ON THE DAY SATURDAY TICKETS
Anyone planning to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on Saturday, July 12, must buy their tickets in advance.
Organisers announced today that tickets will not be on sale at the Fairford gates on Saturday, July 12. However, tickets are still available for both Saturday and Sunday from Ticketmaster as well as from selected branches of Barclays Bank, Robert Dyas and a number of Tourist Information Centres. Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said buoyant ticket sales prompted the decision. "We want to make sure that everyone who plans to come on Saturday has the chance to buy a ticket, but it is important to make sure we are ready and able to cope with the traffic. We introduced day-specific tickets this year for the first time in order that we could monitor ticket sales. It is as a result of this monitoring that the decision not to sell on-the-day tickets on Saturday has been taken." "Our advice is: if you want to come to the Air Tattoo, buy now or come on Sunday when tickets should also be on sale at the gate."

RIAT announced on Friday 11th July 2008 that the Saturday show had been cancelled due to the unusually heavy rainfall during the past 72 hours and the waterlogged conditions in the car parks and airfield and that the safety of the public was paramount. However they still anticipated a show to take place on Sunday but a decision was to be made at 4pm on Saturday. Unfortunately this meant that people with Saturday only tickets would not be allowed into Fairford on Sunday but they would get a full refund. Full statement from RIAT website below:

AIR TATTOO CANCELLED SATURDAY
Due to the unusually heavy rainfall during the past 72 hours, a decision has been made by the organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire to cancel the airshow on Saturday, July 12. The cancellation of the airshow on Saturday follows a sustained period of heavy rainfall that has resulted in waterlogged conditions not only in the public car parks but also on the airfield itself. The decision was taken following consultation with the police and other safety services. Air Tattoo Director Tim Prince said it was the first time the Air Tattoo had ever had to cancel one of its days in its 38-year history. "It is with great regret that we had to take the decision to cancel the airshow on the Saturday but the safety of the public is paramount. "When it became clear that we could not guarantee the safety of the many thousands of people who had bought tickets for Saturday, the decision to cancel was straightforward. "We are aware of the inconvenience our decision will have on the many thousands of people who have bought tickets for the Saturday but the potential risk of there being significant difficulties on the roads, in our car parks on the airbase itself were too high." It is anticipated that the show will be held on Sunday but it will be only for holders of tickets valid for Sunday. A decision in respect of this will be announced by 4pm on Saturday. Please note that Saturday tickets will not be valid for Sunday. Refund details for tickets bought for Saturday, July 12, can be found on the Royal International Air Tattoo website at www.airtattoo.com . For further enquiries contact refunds@rafcte.com

. REFUND POLICY
Refund policy in respect of the cancellation of the Royal International Air Tattoo 2008
1. Paid for public entry tickets
Full refund. Actual tickets with attached stubs, together with a name, address, phone number, email address and a note of where they were purchased, to be mailed to RAFCTE
2. Paid for Grandstand seats
Full refund. Actual tickets with attached stubs, together with a name, address, phone number, email address to be mailed to RAFCTE
3. Paid for Jubilee Garden seats
Full refund. Actual tickets with attached stubs, together with a name, address, phone number, email address to be mailed to RAFCTE
4. Paid for Aviation Club and Trenchard Chalet seats
Full refund. Actual tickets with attached stubs, together with a name, address, phone number, email address to be mailed to RAFCTE
5. Paid for Exhibition pitches
A proportionate refund will be made automatically. This will take at least 8 weeks. No action required by the Exhibitor
6. Park and View
It is anticipated that Park and View will be open on Monday 14 July.
7. FRIAT
A proportionate refund will be made automatically. No action required by the member

Notes:
a) Refunds will take at least 8 weeks to administer.
b) Enquiries should be directed to RIATrefunds@rafcte.com
c) RAFCTE address:

RIAT Refunds
The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises
Douglas Bader House
Horcott Hill
Fairford
Gloucestershire
GL7 4RB

A decision was made after 4pm on Saturday to cancel the show on Sunday also because despite a huge effort by everyone involved to improve the waterlogged carparks, they still remained largely unusable.

The Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford has now cancelled its show for Saturday & Sunday.

From the official website:
AIR TATTOO CANCELLED SUNDAY
The organisers of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire announce that the airshow on Sunday, July 13 will not go ahead. The decision was taken following lengthy discussions between the organisers, police and other safety services. It was based on concerns for our visitors and the disappointing conclusion was that we could not fully safeguard them. The public is asked not to travel to RAF Fairford tomorrow. Despite a huge effort by everyone involved to improve the conditions of the waterlogged public car parks, it became clear by mid-afternoon today (July 12) that significant areas of the fields and of the showground remain unusable. Air Tattoo Director Tim Prince said: "We have been working around the clock to improve the conditions on the airfield and in the car parks but unfortunately we have run out of time. "Many people will be desperately disappointed but I would like to assure them that we have tried everything possible within the time available. "Having worked towards this airshow for the past 12 months, my team at the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises and our band of 3,000 enthusiastic and loyal volunteers share the huge sense of frustration." The senior Police commander for the Air Tattoo, Supt Tony Godwin, said; "It is with deep regret that the decision has been made to cancel the Royal International Air Tattoo on both days. This decision was not made lightly. It was made in the interest of those visiting or working at the event. "We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who had been planning to attend the airshow, for their cooperation and understanding." The Air Tattoo has set up a helpline advising customers how to claim ticket refunds as this cannot be done from the base itself. Details of ticket refunds are available from the website at www.airtattoo.com or call the Air Tattoo Helpline on 01285 713300.

From the official website:
PARK & VIEW MONDAY 14 JULY
Park & View will open on Monday 14 July 2008 at 07:00.
Parking for Park & View East will be in Blue Car Park and visitors will be taken by bus to the Park & View site.
Parking for Park & View West will be on hard standing close to Park & View West.
Signs to Park & View East and West will be altered to indicate the above arrangements.


From the official website:
CANCELLATION UPDATE
Who made the decision to cancel this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo?
The decision was taken by the event's Silver Co-ordinating Group, which includes: Supt Tony Godwin, Gloucestershire Police; Supt Matt Pullen, Wiltshire Police; Tim Prince, Director, Royal International Air Tattoo and Chris Murray, Air Tattoo Deputy Director Ground Operations. Other members include key individuals responsible for traffic, car parking and health and safety, some of whom were Air Tattoo personnel and others who were external consultants.

When was the decision to cancel the airshow on Saturday, July 12, taken?
The decision was taken at 6.30pm on Friday, July 11.

What happened then?
Once the decision was made, we acted quickly and endeavoured to use every available means to alert the public. Judging by the relatively few cars that arrived in Fairford on both the Saturday and Sunday, we believe we did a good job in getting the message out. Nonetheless, we do appreciate that many people will have travelled far and may have booked accommodation and they may not have heard about the cancellation until they were en route. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience they suffered. Given that we were always working against the clock, we had to strike a delicate balance between attempting everything humanly possible to improve the conditions in the car parks (and elsewhere) yet allowing ourselves enough time to inform the public about the cancellation.

Why did it take so long to make the decision?
The decision was taken immediately after we were satisfied we had done everything possible to try and salvage the airshow within the time available. We believe all our stakeholders would have wanted us to exhaust all options before taking the reluctant decision to cancel.

In the 38 years that the Air Tattoo has been running, were no contingency plans ever been put in place in case it rains?
We do have contingency plans and we believe we were well equipped to deal with an above average amount of rainfall. However, the sheer volume of rainfall we experienced simply overwhelmed us. Following our experiences last year, we pre-ordered the same amounts of materials for use in the car parks even though there was no indication at the time that the weather was going to be so bad. As soon as we felt more was needed we brought in an additional seven lorry loads of woodchip, 100 tonnes of aggregate and ordered as much tracking as suppliers in the UK could deliver – until they ran out. Naturally we were constantly monitoring the weather during the week and we had a weatherman from the Met Office with us throughout. Whilst we all knew there was rain about, the sheer volume – and timing of it – simply conspired against us.

We were led to believe the boggy state of the car parks was the crux of the problem – was this so or was it a more complex range of issues?
It is vital that we provide car parks that are fit for purpose. We do make available more car parking spaces than we would ever expect to use but the volume of rainfall, which eventually caused the ground to become saturated, was such that it left us with not enough space to park the number of cars we were anticipating. We suffered two extreme bouts of rainfall on Friday, July 11, one at midday and the other at around 4pm. Our teams were working at maximum capacity right up to late Friday afternoon to improve the conditions of the car parks but it became clear, sadly, that we were fighting a losing battle. Despite this, the team continued to manage the situation even whilst decisions were being taken and continued to do so thereafter in the hope that Sunday's event could be rescued. The car parks were not fit for purpose and presented an unacceptable risk to those using them. In addition, this would have created unacceptable levels of congestion on the external road system. Part of the duty of care we have to our guests when staging the air display is the effective response of the emergency services vehicles within the showground. The ensuing conditions would have prevented this, including the inaccessibility of the critical fire lanes. The very poor state of the showground was such that our ability to maintain and support the essential services such as toilets, waste collection and the like would have been severely impaired and along with the uneven nature of the ground, rendered many areas to be dangerous from a public perspective. From the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises' perspective, it employs 40 full-time staff to plan the airshow and there are an additional 3,000+ volunteers who travel from around the world to help run the event. Add to these the 1,000+ aircrew who fly in from around the globe, the 30+ corporate sponsors, the Royal Air Force and the tens of thousands of ticket-buyers who would be significantly inconvenienced, you can rest assured that the decision to cancel was not taken lightly. The photographs we have posted on this site, which we urge you to look at, demonstrate the seriousness of the situation.

How about putting down more hardstanding in the future to avert the problem?
Within the timeframe, everything that could have possibly been done was done. As for hardstanding, not only would it be impracticable to cover all the fields in hardstanding but it is not in the Air Tattoo's gift to do so as the fields are rented. However, we will explore all opportunities to improve the resilience of the car parks and their entrances. Even if enough hardstanding could be laid in the car parks, that wouldn't solve the problem of what conditions might be like on the airfield itself.

In the past you have operated a park-and-ride service. Why was this not in operation this year?
Yes, in 2003 we ran a park-and-ride service but it was not successful. We will now earnestly review opportunities for park-and-ride facilities in the future but we will have to bear in mind that we need to find a location that gives buses a route into RAF Fairford that avoids existing public routes. There is no point establishing a park-and-ride provision if the buses simply joined the queues on the public routes because there would be no incentive for people to use them.

Why wasn't some sort of flying display laid on for all those people stranded at camp sites as a gesture of goodwill?
As far as staging a flying display for those in the campsites, anyone who had planned to visit the Air Tattoo but couldn't because it was cancelled, would have been justified in feeling cheated if they subsequently learned that displays were taking place. Unfortunately and inevitably, this had to include displays by the Vulcan and the USAF F-22A. The Air Tattoo could not cancel its airshow and then stage a flying display, no matter how small. It would have been confusing to the public and, had it become widely known, the area would have been inundated with people trying to get into the area but with no where to park. Not only would it have been extremely irresponsible but would have resulted in extremely negative PR in respect of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the public face of the Royal Air Force.

Will contingency plans be made for next year? What will they be and when are we likely to know?
Yes, and to an even greater extent than this year. We will be looking at everything we did to determine what more could be done and researching all possible options. We shall communicate our findings as soon as possible.

vWhy couldn't the Air Tattoo allow parking on the Base once it became clear some of the public car parks were unusable?
Prior to 9/11, the US Air Force permitted public car parking on the airfield. However, since then, heightened security restrictions meant that the Air Tattoo had to make provisions for its public car parks off-site. We shall now be investigating whether there is potential for parking more vehicles on the airfield in the future.

Could the public car parks have been saved if the Colours' Presentation Ceremony did not take place on Friday, July 11?
The Air Tattoo is serviced by three public car parks, colour-coded red, blue and green. The red car park was used to accommodate guests for the Colours' Presentation Ceremony. It was also used by the Air Tattoo's Park & View (East) guests. The red car park did suffer damage on the Friday but that was only part of the problem as other critical car park areas were unfit due to the extremely high amount of rainfall, causing saturation, even though these other car parks had not been used.

Do you agree that the introduction of the day-specific tickets this year was unfair because it meant that people, who had bought tickets for Saturday, couldn't have gone on Sunday, had the airshow taken place on the second day?
Quite the opposite! The introduction of the day-specific tickets this year meant that we were in a position to have some control of the number of people coming to the airshow. Without day-specific tickets, it would have been impossible for us to open on the Sunday for a whole set of different health and safety reasons. Day-specific tickets were introduced last year because of the contrasting weather forecasts for the two airshow days. This meant that a disproportionate number of people chose to join us on the sunnier Saturday. This stretched our resources both on the roads and on the airfield. Under no circumstances would we have contemplated inviting our entire weekend crowd on just the one day. Neither the roads nor the car parks could cope.

Is it true that the Air Tattoo is thinking of moving from RAF Fairford?
In almost all respects, RAF Fairford is the ideal location for the Air Tattoo. It suits the USAF and the RAF - given that it is a standby facility. The event also provides great opportunities, both financially and reputationally, for the Cotswolds. As such, we very much hope that arrangements can be put in place to minimise a re-occurrence of this year. However, we would consider moving if we felt it was the only way that we could protect the Air Tattoo's excellent international reputation and its status as one of the UK's most exciting family days out.

What about all those people who incurred extra travel and accommodation costs. Will they be recompensed?
Unfortunately we are unable to compensate the public for anything other than the cost of their ticket plus their booking fee. We are aware that many people will have travelled far, and spent a considerable amount of money to be with us this year and we are truly sorry.

Why will it take up to eight weeks to have the cost of my ticket refunded?
Wherever possible we hope people will receive their refunds quicker than this. However, the sheer volume of ticket refunds needing to be processed, in addition to the need to ensure that we maintain an essential audit trail and control of refunds, by definition means that we are unable to refund monies instantly. Notwithstanding, we are acutely aware of the necessity for people to receive their refunds as soon as is practically possible and all our efforts are currently being directed in this way. Further updates will be posted on our website in the coming days.

In addition to the price of the ticket, will you be refunding the booking fee, where applicable?
Yes.

Official Royal International Air Tattoo website



Provisional dates/venues for Vulcan in 2009:

17 May - Duxford Spring Show
24 May 25 May - Southend / East Kirkby
14 Jun - Cosford
19 Jun 21 Jun - Paris?
27 Jun 28 Jun - Biggin Hill
04 Jul 05 Jul - Waddington
11 Jul - Yeovilton
18 Jul 19 Jul - Fairford - RIAT
23 Jul 24 Jul - Lowestoft
25 Jul 26 Jul - Sunderland / East Fortune
07 Aug - Cowes
22 Aug 23 Aug - Bournemouth / Shoreham
27 Aug 28 Aug - Clacton
30 Aug - Dunsfold
10 Sep - Jersey / Guernsey
12 Sep - Leuchars
20 Sep - Goodwood Revival
26 Sep 27 Sep - Southport / Woodford