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Waddington Airshow

RAF Waddington International Air Show

RAF Waddington Airshow.

The popular RAF Waddington International Air Show was the largest RAF airshow until its cancellation in 2015.

The first RAF Waddington International Air Show was staged at RAF Waddington in 1995, after the event was moved down from RAF Finningley - an RAF station located east of Doncaster (now Doncaster Sheffield Airport) which was closed down in 1995. Since then the RAF Waddington International Air Show had developed into the largest of all Royal Air Force air shows. It regularly took place at the end of June or beginning of July, attracting over 140,000 visitors and representatives of Air Forces from all round the world.

The last airshow at RAF Waddington took place in 2014 and it was understood that there would not be an airshow in 2015 due to a new runway rebuild. It was then announced in 2015 that the Waddington International Air Show would not return again due to 'significant security concerns and operational risks'. It was hoped that an alternative RAF air show could be held at RAF Scampton in the future. An air show did take place at RAF Scampton in 2017 but this was just a one-off event and it has since been announced that RAF Scampton will close by 2022 with the Red Arrows moving to RAF Waddington.

Hungarian MiG-29 at the RAF Waddington International Air Show 2005

Waddington Air Show.

From the RAF Waddington International Air Show website:

The Royal Air Force has confirmed the Waddington International Air Show will not return due to 'significant security concerns and operational risks'.

The RAF has been conducting a review of its air show commitments and it has now been announced that the popular air show will no longer be held at the RAF base near Lincoln.

The Royal Air Force has said an extensive survey of alternative sites in the East of England has been carried out and it has decided that it would be possible to hold an air show at RAF Scampton.

However, further work is needed to address significant legal, commercial and infrastructure issues.

The RAF said: 'It will not be possible to hold an air show at RAF Scampton until 2017 at the earliest.'

'The RAF appreciates that the cancellation of the air show at RAF Waddington will be a disappointment to many; however, it is hoped that the intent to establish an alternative air show at RAF Scampton is evidence of the RAF's commitment to maintain its traditional and modern links to 'Bomber County'.'

Sea Harrier FA2 at the RAF Waddington International Air Show 2005
Waddington Air Show.

Red Arrows at the RAF Waddington International Air Show 2009
Waddington Air Show.

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RAF Waddington Airshow.

RAF Waddington History
Waddington opened in 1916 as a flying training station for the RFC (Royal Flying Corps). In 1919 the base was closed but it reopened in 1926 as a bomber station. During World War 2, Waddington took part in the strategic bomber offensive against Germany. In 1941 it was the first RAF base to be equipped with the famous Avro Lancaster operated by 44 squadron. Other bombers based here were the Hampden and Manchester.

After the war, Waddington remained with Bomber Command and operated the Avro Lincoln and later the Canberra. In 1957, the mighty Avro Vulcan was based at RAF Waddington, which played a part in maintaining the British nuclear deterrent. During the Falkland conflict in 1982, Waddington's Vulcans saw action when they flew several bombing missions over the islands. In the mid-1980s the base became home to NATO AWACS aircraft and in 1990/91, Waddington received the RAF Boeing E-3D Sentry aircraft after the troubled Nimrod AEW was cancelled. In 1995, Nimrods of 51 squadron came to Waddington. The Nimrod MR2 was to be replaced by the Nimrod MRA4 but was ultimately cancelled in 2010 as a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Nimrod R1 was eventually replaced by the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint/Airseeker aircraft in 2014.

Today RAF Waddington is the UK hub of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), supporting national and NATO operations. It is currently home to the Beechcraft Shadow R1, RC-135V/W Rivet Joint/Airseeker and Reaper UCAV aircraft.

The station motto is "For Faith and Freedom".