The RAF Waddington International Airshow remains as the Royal Air Forces [RAF] largest official air show. As ever the event has themes, which for this year are:
90th Anniversary of the First RAF Air Show and the organisers are planning to try and recreate the original atmosphere by flying a variety of aircraft from that era.
70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain will be commemorated in a section of the flying display, which will feature a simulated airfield attack using sound effects and pyrotechnics. This is particularly poignant for one of the base's resident units, 54 Squadron, which was operating from RAF Hornchurch during the Battle of Britain in summer 1940
This year also sees the 35th Anniversary of the E3 and the 20th Anniversary of RAF E3-D Sentry operations at Waddington. The normal opportunity to look round a base E3D is one that visitors to the Airshow should be encouraged to take up.
Building on the bases role as the RAF's airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Hub, the static park will feature a Rivet Joint airframe from the USAF. During the Thursday Press Day event it as confirmed that the Out of Service Date for the two remaining Nimrod R1s will be March 2011, and that the RAF's first Rivet Joint aircraft is due at Waddington on April 14th.
At this year's Airshow there is a strong international participation including the Turkish Air Force 'Turkish Stars' Aerobatic Team; and representative aircraft from the Czech Republic, the Belgian Air Component; the USAF and the French Air Force. Reflecting Waddington's ISTAR role is an extensive UAV display, including the new Thales Watchkeeper UAS, which is due to enter operational service with the Royal Artillery in early 2011.
An important point to remember about the RAF Waddington International Airshow is that it raises proceeds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association and to local worthy causes.
Since its inaugural year 1995, the RAF Waddington International Air Show Fund has distributed a total of £2,578,000 to charity with £1,096,000 going to each one of the supported Service Charities and £386,000 to local charities and good causes.
At the time of preparing this text (Thursday 1st July, 2010) whether or not a former Lincolnshire resident, Vulcan XH558 will be at the 2010 Airshow remains open to question. Whilst the aircraft is believed to have undergone a test flight it is uncertain whether or not the required approvals can be secured for it to display at Waddington.
This is part of the Vulcan To the Sky Trust news release that was issued at the Airshow Press Day:
“Herculean efforts continue to ready Vulcan XH558 for RAF Waddington Airshow
Huge efforts are being made to complete the final servicing procedures & tests that would allow Vulcan XH558 to appear at the Waddington Airshow this coming weekend. The Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST), in partnership with the CAA, Marshall Aerospace, BAE Systems, Messier-Dowty, Kearsley Airways, Rolls-Royce, continues to do its utmost to try to ensure XH558 takes her rightful place in the skies above Waddington in celebration of her 50th Birthday. XH558 was the first Vulcan B.Mk2 to be delivered to the Royal Air Force at Waddington in July 1960, so it is a particularly significant & poignant year for this iconic and much loved aircraft.
Dr Robert Pleming, Chief Executive of VTST said: "Given where we were at the start of March, to be able to reach this stage and to have the aircraft almost on the brink of flying again has been an incredible achievement. Without a huge amount of commitment, energy, determination, problem-solving and hard work from all at VTST and at our partner and supplier organisations, this just would not have been possible."
"The Winter Service, Undercarriage Overhaul & Structural Fatigue Life Extension Modifications carried out on XH558 over the last four months have been a one-off & complex engineering project, which has had to be carried to the highest technical standards. Some of the work had never been carried out on a Vulcan airframe before. This was all performed in the light of the October 2009 Haddon-Cave report on the Nimrod MR2 crash in Afghanistan in 2006, which has sensitised the aerospace industry to the issues of ageing aircraft airworthiness.
We now stand at the point where we are working to ensure that all of the engineering, technical, regulatory and safety requirements are in place and correctly documented, to maximise the chance of appearing at the Waddington Airshow. Please bear with us, because while this vital work is moving forward positively, we remain uncertain it will be completed in time. We will continue to publish regular updates on our website to ensure that everyone is fully aware of our progress."
The full text can be found here: http://www.vulcantothesky.org/
Latest from TVOC (2/7/10):
Following a successful test flight yesterday, we have now submitted paperwork to the CAA and are awaiting the Permit to Fly. The Crew were all happy with the flight and no faults were reported. The CAA Test pilot on board, even commented that "she flew beautifully." On landing at RAF Brize Norton, a successful compass swing was completed. (Update: Permit now signed and en-route to Aircraft).
To achieve this level of reliability after such a complex major service and modification programme, is a true testimony to the skills and dedication of our Engineering Team. Many congratulations to everyone involved.
Turning now to this weekend, we intend to depart RAF Brize Norton on Saturday and Sunday 3rd and 4th July , flying to RAF Waddington to display, then transit to Goodwood Festival of Speed for another display (on Sunday Only), prior to return to Brize. We will not be landing at Waddington.
Vulcan planned timings (subject to weather and serviceability):
Waddington Saturday: Arrival 14:31 with bombing run and display.
Waddington Sunday: Arrival 14:00, with potential bombing run, then into display.
Article & Photo Credits: Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions