The 'Scampton Airshow' took place on Saturday 9th September and Sunday 10th September 2017. This is a new ticket-only event which took place at the Red Arrows home base, RAF Scampton. After the loss of the popular RAF Waddington International Air Show it was great news to hear that this new show was to take place just up the road, in Lincolnshire.
RAF Scampton is an ideal venue for an airshow with its long 8,990ft runway, its history and the fact that the Red Arrows are the only permanent military aircraft based here.
The famous 617 squadron were stationed here in World War II and following the development of the 'Upkeep' bouncing bomb, by Barnes Wallis, the squadron carried out the 'Dambusters Raid' on the night of 16-17 May 1943, with 19 Lancasters, commanded by Wing Commander Guy Gibson. The Eder and Mohne dams were breached, however 8 Lancasters failed to return home and 53 aircrew were lost. Following the raid, Wing Commander Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross. The day before the famous 'Dam Busters' raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson's beloved black labrador retriever was hit by a car and was buried at midnight during the raid. His grave can be found next to hangar 2 at RAF Scampton.
During the Cold War, RAF Scampton was selected to accommodate part of the V-force and operated the Avro Vulcan. The first atom bombs arrived in 1958 called 'Rainbow Code' and 'Blue Danube'. They were replaced by thermonuclear weapons called 'Yellow Sun'. The 'Blue Steel' stand-off nuclear missile was developed after the construction of specialist buildings at Scampton, the runway was extended to 9,000ft and a new control tower built.
Today, RAF Scampton is home to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, in their Hawk T1 aircraft. Scampton is also home to No 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC), and the Mobile Meteorological Unit.
Tickets could be purchased online for the 'Park and View' area on the North eastern edge of RAF Scampton which was open to the public wanting to see the aircraft arrive on Thursday to Friday and depart on Monday after the show. This included free airfield parking, toilets, catering and free admission for under-16s.
At the weekend, all Standard Admission ticket holders arriving by car were directed to the nearby Lincolnshire Showground where they could park their car, go through the security check and then use the free shuttle bus to get into the airshow.
Ground entertainment included the 'Heritage Hangar' where you could get close to RAF Scampton's rich aviation history, including access to the station's Heritage Centre, and the 'Vintage Village' where you are transported back to the 1940's with music, entertainment, re-enactors and old military vehicles. There was also the 'Techno Zone' where a vast range of free fun STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) activities were available to inspire young minds and the spark to create the next generation of aviators and astronauts. There were also fairground rides, adrenalin fuelled flight simulators, helicopter pleasure flights, retail outlets, arts and crafts, Official Scampton Airshow merchandise, and refreshments in the two Service Stations.
The Scampton Airshow attracted more than 50,000 people over the weekend. In total, 104 aircraft took part in the airshow, 41 in the flying display and 63 in the static line-up. The five hour flying display took place from about 11am to 4pm on each day and there were a mix of modern military jets, historic warbirds, and civilian display acts. The weather was quite changeable with some sun, cloud, wind and even lightning over the weekend.
The Royal Air Force supported the flying display with a Typhoon FGR4
, the RAF Falcons parachute Team
, and of course the Red Arrows
. An RAF Sentinel R1
performed a flypast in formation with the Red Arrows on both days and on Saturday there was a flypast of an RAF E-3D Sentry
. The Sentinel R1 and E-3D Sentry are both operated from RAF Waddington. In the static display there were Tornado GR4s, Typhoons, Hawk T1 & T2, King Air, Tucanos, Tutor and a Squirrel helicopter.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)
displayed their Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane. The Merlin-engined aircraft of the BBMF had been grounded in August after a routine inspection had highlighted a fault with one of the Merlin engines in a Hurricane aircraft. The problem was resolved and the Lancaster and Hurricane were both cleared to display just in time for the Scampton Airshow and was joined by a Griffon-engined BBMF Spitfire. Although the BBMF displayed on Saturday they cancelled on the Sunday due to the blustery weather conditions.
The Red Arrows are currently flying with eight aircraft rather than the usual nine because Red 5 is on paternity leave. Unfortunately on Saturday one of the aircraft (Red 3) suffered a problem which reduced the team down to seven aircraft. When the Red Arrows team have less then eight aircraft then for safety reasons they can only put on a display with the Enid or Gypo section. On Saturday they displayed with just the four aircraft of Gypo section and on Sunday they displayed with eight aircraft.
The Scampton Airshow was particularly poignant for Squadron Leader Mike Ling, who performed his last UK commentary as a member of the Red Arrows, having joined the aerobatic display team in 2008. He said: "It's been an amazing experience."
Foreign military aircraft in the flying display included the Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Demo
, a French Air Force Alpha Jet Solo Display
and a flypast of a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker
on Sunday. On static display was a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet, German Air Force Eurofighter, and two Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Demo is flown by Senior-Captain Aviator Tom De Moortel who calls himself 'Gizmo'. He joined the Air Force in 1996 and got his wings in 1998 flying the C-130 Hercules transporter aircraft. Gizmo flew as an instructor in basic training before flying the F-16 in 2005. In 2015 he became an Air Display pilot flying the Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Demo which is based at Kleine Brogel Air Base.
The French Air Force Alpha Jet Solo Display returns to the air display scene after a break of a few years. The last display was in 2011 but it has now been reformed in 2017 and the Scampton Airshow will be the only UK venue to see this display act. The Alpha Jet is a light attack jet and advanced trainer aircraft co-manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France and Dornier Flugzeugwerke of Germany. Alpha Jets are also used by the Patrouille de France aerobatic demonstration team.
The USAF performed a flypast with a Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker. This is a military aerial refuelling aircraft which entered service with the USAF in 1957 and will eventually be replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.
Warbirds displaying at Scampton included the B-17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B'
(G-BEDF), P-51D Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle'
(Canso-A - G-PBYA) and an Avro Anson C.19
The B-17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B' is the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe. Sally B has been operated by Elly Sallingboe of the B-17 Preservation with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers and the backing of one of the largest supporters clubs of its kind in the world - the Sally B Supporters Club
The P-51D Mustang, owned by Peter Tiechman, and based at the Hangar 11 Collection in North Weald, has recently been painted in a new authentic paint scheme with the name 'Tall in the Saddle' instead of the old scheme and name of 'Jumpin Jacques'. This particular aircraft was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, USAAF, during WWII, which became famous as the first all African-American Fighter Group. They were known as 'The Tuskegee Airmen' and would paint their aircraft tails red, giving them the nickname 'Red Tails'.
This Catalina served with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a 'Canso A amphibian' from 1943, and mainly used for anti-submarine patrols. This aircraft is operated by 'Plane Sailing Air Displays Limited' on behalf of 'Catalina Aircraft Limited' which is made up of a number of shareholders and is supported by its own fan club - The Catalina Society
This particular Avro Anson is owned by 'BAE Systems Heritage' and operated from Shuttleworth's Old Warden aerodrome. The Anson was a twin-engine British-built multi-role aircraft which saw service with both the Royal Air Force and The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm as well as The Royal Canadian Air Force, during and after the Second World War.
Classic Jets in the air display included the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron Vampires
and two BAC Strikemasters
The 'Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron' operate and display several classic jets including these two Vampires - de Havilland Vampire FB.52 (PX-K LN-DHY) and a de Havilland Vampire T.55 (PX-M LN-DHZ). The Vampire FB.52 was the export version of the Mk.6, and was exported to Norway, operating from 1949 to 1957. The Vampire T.55 was the export version of the DH.115 trainer, and exported to Norway where it was in service from 1952 to 1955.
The pair of Strikemasters actually consist of a BAC Strikemaster Mk.82A (G-SOAF) and a BAC Jet Provost Mk.5 (G-BWGF XW325). The Jet Provost was a British jet-powered trainer aircraft which was operated by the RAF from 1955 to 1993 while the Strikemaster was an armed variant of the Jet provost Mk.5 which was used for ground attack.
We also saw the Breitling Wingwalkers
and the Global Stars
display teams in the flying display.
The Breitling Wingwalkers displayed with two Boeing Stearman aircraft. The two brave girls on the wings were Gina Marshall and Katie Hobbs and the pilots were Martin Carrington and David Barrell. The team are based at RFC Rendcomb Airfield in Gloucestershire and perform at many events in the UK, as well as airshows around the World.
The Global Stars aerobatic team perform with four aircraft of various types including the Extra 300L, Extra 330SC and Cap 232. The aircraft are painted in a spectacular identical colour scheme of red and white with red stars and a union jack on the tail fin. The smoke is synchronised in all four aircraft and they can either use it continuously or in short bursts which creates a dotty smoke pattern in the sky.
Rich Goodwin performed his usual excellent display in his red, white & blue Pitts S2S Special aerobatic aircraft
(G-EWIZ). Rich Goodwin was an RAF Tornado pilot with IX Squadron where he went on 21 missions during 'Operation Desert Storm' in the first Gulf War. He now flies Boeing airliners and is an accomplished aerobatics pilot.
Peter Davies performed at Scampton in his impressively manoeuvrable RotorSport Calidus Autogyro
. The engine and pusher propeller are located behind the pilot which produces the thrust, while the unpowered rotor turns due to the air flowing through the rotor disc and blades which provides lift as well as flight control. This makes for a very safe aircraft which also performs well in strong and gusty wind conditions (ideal for UK Airshows).
The Bronco Demo Team brought along their North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
. This aircraft was operated by West Germany's Luftwaffe as a target tug before ending up in a German museum and was then acquired by Tony de Bruyn in 2011. This OV-10 Bronco is based at Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport, near to Ypres, in Belgium and is painted in an amazing poppy livery as a commemoration of the Great War. It also has the words 'LEST WE FORGET' and '1914-18' written on top of the aircraft.
An excellent addition to the flying display was the impressive Boeing 727
. The Boeing 727 is a midsized, narrow-body three-engined jet aircraft built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes from the early 1960s to 1984. 'T2 Aviation' operates two Boeing 727 aircraft for Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL) - the largest international industry-funded cooperative, which responds to oil spills anywhere in the World. This aircraft has been modified with the TERSUS aerial dispersant spray system and also has a dual GPS/GNSS flight management system, satphone, HF radio and all the other usual systems required for long-range operations worldwide.
Unfortunately, the Percival Pembroke C MK.1
(WV740) broke down at end of runway on Saturday but was able to display on Sunday. This was a British high-wing twin-engined light transport aircraft which entered service with the RAF as the Percival Pembroke C.1 in 1953 to replace the Avro Anson for light transport duties.
The Gazelle Squadron Display Team brought along two Gazelle helicopters
, with one in the flying display and another in the static display. The team are based at a private airfield near to Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire, where they maintain a fleet of former military Westland Gazelle helicopters from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines (Commandos) and Army Air Corps. The Gazelle is a French five-seat helicopter, commonly used for light transport, scouting and light attack duties which was introduced in 1973.
Notable aircraft on static display were the Scampton based Hawker Hunter Aviation
(HHA) aircraft, which includes the Buccaneer S2B, Sukhoi Su-22M4 Fitter, Luftwaffe F-4F Phantom and the Hawker Hunters. HHA was founded in 2000 and based at RAF Scampton. Their jets are flown and maintained by former RAF, RN & Test Pilot personnel. The Sukhoi Su-22M4 Fitter is currently in storage at Scampton, undergoing regular anti-det maintenance and custodial ground runs. Its systems and spares are maintained in such a condition that it can readily be reactivated to flight status.
The Swedish Air Force Historic Flight
(SwAFHF) had four aircraft on static display including the Saab 37 Viggen, Saab 35 Draken 'Dragon', Saab 32 Lansen and the Saab J29 Tunnan 'the Flying Barrel'.
At the Scampton Airshow was Veronica Wiven whose mother's parents, Monica & Dick Fieldsend, were compensated in World War 2 after a Hampden crashed into their cottage, which was located at the end of Scampton's runway. They were given the old Rectory House in Scampton for compensation.
Many thanks to the Scampton Airshow organisers for all their hard work in putting on this new event which will be raising funds to support the RAF Charitable Trust
. Next year the Scampton Airshow will take place on 8th and 9th September 2018.
Article by Dave Key with photos by John Bilcliffe - www.military-airshows.co.uk