The annual RAF Waddington International Airshow is recognised as the Royal Air Forces [RAF] largest official air show. Traditionally it is supported by a strong international contingent and has in the past attracted aircraft types not often seen in the UK.
According to the official website http://www.waddingtonairshow.co.uk/ blog this year it has proved difficult to attract flying display aircraft. This has become more due to the reduction in RAF fast jet displays for 2009, where they are now only providing a Typhoon and Hawk. This is for the most part due to the large operational commitments on active operations for both aircraft and aircrews.
There has been much internet talk about the apparent lack of fast jet displays, but as advised on the blog 'we cannot compel anyone to come'. It is planned that there would be a strong NATO component as the Alliance celebrates its 60th Anniversary, with an area of the static park dedicated to these allies. However thanks to the tireless efforts of the staff in the air show office and despite the lack of fast jet displays the Airshow still has a 7 hour display with 5 international display teams, range of other flying assets and a potentially large static park.
A major benefactor of the charitable fund raising that is one of the airshow's core aims is the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, which receives approximately 40% of the fund raised. In 2008 the 120,000 visitors to the airshow helped raise £250,000. Details about the RAF Benevolent Fund can be found at www.rafbf.org
The Fund benefits service personnel and their dependants and importance of this was highlighted by today's tragic loss of a Tornado F3 and both crew members following a crash in Scotland.
Yet again it seems that if it remains serviceable a former Lincolnshire resident, Vulcan XH558 will be one of the key performers that steps up to the plate for the organisers and hopefully provide some inspirational moments over the weekend.
On Saturday 4 July XH558 is due to team up with the Breitling Jet Team for a special one-off flypast.
Not to be outdone on Sunday 5 July XH558 is then due to formate with Lincolnshire's very own aerobatic display team, the Red Arrows, for what promises to be another exciting flypast over the county's skies, which have witnessed so many historical aviation moments over the years.
It was nice to see not one but two Nimrods back in the Waddington sky on preview day and also the Empire Test Pilots School BAC-111 test-bed gracing the static park.
All photograph copyright / credits:
Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions