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Blackburn Buccaneer 25th Out of Service Event
Blackburn Buccaneer 25th Out of Service Event - Saturday 27th April 2019
Blackburn Buccaneer 25th Out of Service Event - Cody Froggatt.
Blackburn Buccaneer 25th Out of Service Event - Cody Froggatt

Blackburn Buccaneer:

The Blackburn Buccaneer was originally designed in the 1950s for the Royal Navy and was to be operated from their aircraft carriers. It entered Royal Navy service in 1962 and was operated in the low-level anti-shipping role using conventional or nuclear weapons and later more advanced anti-shipping missiles.

When the Royal Navy retired the last of their large aircraft carriers in 1978, they began using the smaller V/STOL-capable Sea Harrier and passed the Buccaneer on to the Royal Air Force.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Buccaneers took part in combat operations alongside the Tornado. The Buccaneer carried a laser designator pod and would mark the target which would be attacked by a Tornado using laser-guided bombs. The Buccaneers flew 218 missions during the Gulf War, in which they designated targets for other aircraft, and also dropped 48 laser-guided bombs.

The Buccaneer was finally retired in 1994 and the Tornado took over the RAF's maritime strike role, using the Sea Eagle missile.

Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt
Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt

When looking through the realms of history of the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm, There are few aircraft that transcend these rival forces of the British military:- the Westland Wessex, the Harrier and probably one of the most loved, the Buccaneer, although the Buccaneer was probably one of the most underused and unloved aircraft of the Royal Air Force's history.

From the home of Cold War Jets aircraft, Bruntingthorpe, came the anniversary of the retirement of Royal Air Force Buccaneers. Twenty five years ago, Buccaneers were giving their final hurrah in Active Service and 25 years on the old girls are still performing.

Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt

The event itself was very low key with a couple of hundred aviation enthusiasts and over 30 veterans attending. The Buccaneer Aviation Group, or TBAG as they are referred to, put on marvellous event with the Cold War Jets Collection. The event itself included Buccaneers XW544, XX894 and XX900, Hawker Hunter XL565, Vickers VC10 ZD241, de Havilland Comet XS235, English Electric Canberra WT333, Avro Shackleton WR974 and Handley Page Victor XM715.

Aircraft at the Bruntingthorpe Event:

Serial Type
XW544 Buccaneer
XX894 Buccaneer
XX900 Buccaneer
XL565 Hawker Hunter
ZD241 Vickers VC10
XS235 de Havilland Comet
WT333 English Electric Canberra
WR974 Avro Shackleton
XM715 Handley Page Victor

All these aircraft were laid out beautifully on the pan allowing photographers and enthusiasts alike the opportunity to get up close and personal with these beautiful pieces of History. These are opportunities that photographer's don't really get very often with active aircraft such as these, and is one of many reasons to recommend going to a Cold War Jets Open Day or an aviation event hosted at Bruntingthorpe.

Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt
Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt

After a few hours of viewing the aircraft on the pan we were put on buses taking us to the runway for the live runnings and fast taxies. The aircraft didn't disappoint and it was spectacular to watch and a pleasure to see these aircraft once again.

However one run is never enough and I do wish they would do at least two or three, but as is the case money takes over and there simply isn't enough money to do as many runs as they want.

After the live runnings were completed the buses allowed us to go back to watch the engine shutdown. Unfortunately I missed the bus first time round so I didn't see the engine shutdown and that was my only criticism of this event, was the lack of buses from the runway, which is no fault of TBAG, but that of Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome themselves.

Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt
Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt Cody Froggatt

For me overall, the Buccaneer Aviation Group put on a marvelous day, so couldn't thank them enough for the amount of effort they put into this event, all the planning and how we all were treated from the minute we got on to the airfield to when we left.

What I found especially great about the event was the amount of veterans and how approachable they were, signing my prints and being really engaging and telling all sorts of stories. This was certainly the case at the end of the event where we had a talk from Keith Breadmore who was presenting a personal recollection of his time with 208 Squadron. His presentation was so insightful, with a touch of humour when talking about the first ever foreign participation at Red Flag.

With that all said and done, what a marvelous day, which was truly memorable, and certainly I can't recommend Bruntingthorpe and all the Cold War jets highly enough. If you ever get the opportunity to go to an event hosted by one of the groups then i recommend that you take it and i am sure you won't regret it.

Review and photographs by Cody Froggatt.


Bruntingthorpe Cold War Jets Open Days:

Sunday 26th May 2019
Sunday 25th August 2019

To exercise the aircraft at Bruntingthorpe, a selection of the jets perform full power taxi runs on the 3.2km runway, a spectacle that should not be missed. On the scheduled Fast Taxi Days, the gates to the site open at 9am with the first taxi often planned for approximately 11am. It is £20 for adults, £15 for concessions, including pensioners and those with disabilities, and children under 16 are welcome free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are only available on the gate so please ensure you arrive in plenty of time (Please be aware tickets can not be purchased in advance).

Bruntingthorpe Cold War Jets Open Days

UK Airshow Calendar 2019