Text: Bruno Ghils - Pictures: Bruno Ghils & Jacky Vincent  © sbap 2013

A good year, despite the crisis


While going to Fairford this year, we did have some legitimate fears of only seeing a small airshow. Indeed, aviation forums, discussions between specialists, saving measures and especially the absence of the U.S. Air Force struck genuine fear that this year’s edition of a must-see meeting could turn a bit gloomy. This was even more true for the ones that have seen the Royal Air Tattoo, with a static display of over 300 aircraft and helicopters, who have seen concentrations of 30 Phantoms, 20 C-130, coming from all over, or even the edition that commemorated the end of the Cold War, or that of the Arab-Persian Gulf. Those who have known all that, were really under the impression of going to something like a mini Air Tattoo. Once the gates of the base opened, all fear dissipated, we were at Fairford after all. A Fairford, which all enthusiasts love, with its typical aeronautical atmosphere, and an aerial program filled with beautiful moments. Despite a slightly smaller static display, consisting of only 70 machines, the noticeable absence of the Americans, Canadians and Australians, the present machines offered a beautiful exhibition, with several surprises. Even if the superb exotic airplanes of previous years sorely lacked, the inventory was large and interesting. Let’s note the presence of the Canberra PR9, EMB R-99A, Airbus A400M, Meteor T7, KC767, A380, C27, NH90, all in all a mix of exclusivity and classic! The flight demonstrations were equally rich and diverse. Let’s start with our British hosts, the RAF, who sent their Typhoon, Tucano, Chinook, Apache and of course the Red Arrows. Some solo displays such as the Hungarian and Swedish Gripen, the Italian Typhoon, the French Rafale, Dutch F-16 and Apache, and of course our fellow countrymen with the F-16 and A109. The A109 display is worth a special mention, that becomes more and more technical and spectacular every time. Let’s not forget our own “Grat” and his shimmering F-16. We can dream, but when will we see some formation passages, such as our Dutch neighbors?

But Fairford wouldn’t be Fairford without special demonstrations and other flyby’s. This year, some interesting combinations, such as the Italian KC767 with refueling English and Italian Typhoons, the brand new British Airways Airbus A380 that we saw at Bourget, the Red Arrows, and as icing on the cake, the Dambusters Tribute, displaying the Tornado of the 617th squadron, and the Lancaster, all together! In short, lots of goodies to help us forget the absence of Uncle Sam!

If this enthusiastically awaited show delivers a grand show, it’s primarily due to the RAF, who had done everything to make this show as pleasant as possible (lots of demo’s, a static display that provides all that flies in the RAF), but also thanks to the Tattoo-team, who have shown their organizational talent even more this year! Thanks to the Royal Air Force, thanks to all the air forces who have given their all this year, thanks to the French, Greek, Brazilian, Dutch, Belgian, Estonian, Finnish, Swedish, German, Swiss and Italian friends, and to all other countries that were able to fill the gap left by the absent. According to several sources, the U.S. Air Force will be back in full force in 2014… Wait and see.

On behalf of the SBAP, I would like to thank the media team for their hospitality, guidance, escort, and documented our reporter, and enabled him to make some interesting encounters.

To finish, a big thanks to an incredible pilot of the French Army, for his smile and good mood. She will recognize herself!

Red Bull from Austria (Bruno Ghils) PBY Catalina (Bruno Ghils)
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Marineflieger 100 year Lynx (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) Royal Navy Wildcat HMA2 (Bruno Ghils)
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(Bruno Ghils) Agusta A109E from QuinetiQ / ETPS (Empire Test Pilot School) (Bruno Ghils)
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Meteor NF.11 (Bruno Ghils) Camberra PR9 (Bruno Ghils)
Polish Antonov AN-28 (Bruno Ghils) Irish Air Corp CASA 235M-100 (Bruno Ghils)
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(Bruno Ghils) Bombardier CL-601 (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) The Typhoon tails (Bruno Ghils)
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Some Navy Lynx nose art (Bruno Ghils)

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(Bruno Ghils) Free entrance visitor (Bruno Ghils)

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KLU AH-64D Apache Solo Display (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) KLU F-16AM Solo Display (Bruno Ghils)
RAF Tucano Solo Display from 72 Sqn (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
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(Bruno Ghils) Breitling charming wing walkers (Bruno Ghils)
Finnish Air Force NH-90 Solo Display (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
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Avro Vulcan, will remain in flying conditions for the two coming years...after, wait and see (Bruno Ghils)
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Italian KC-767A with two Typhoon's. One Italian and one RAF (Bruno Ghils)
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Belgian Air Force Agusta A109 Solo Display (Bruno Ghils)
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RAF Tristar from Brize Norton 216 Sqn (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) The Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team (Bruno Ghils)
Polish Air Force MIG 29 Solo Display (Bruno Ghils)
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RAF Apache role demo (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) Red Bull Mitchell and Corsair (Bruno Ghils)
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Eurocopter 145 from London fire brigade (Bruno Ghils) Eurocopter EC-135 P2 from National Police Air Service (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) Eurocopter EC-135 T2 from Devon Air Ambulance (Bruno Ghils)
C-27J Spartan from AMI (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) RAF Typhoon Solo Display (Bruno Ghils)
The new coming A380 from British Airways... (Bruno Ghils) ...with the RAF Red Arrows (Bruno Ghils)
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(Bruno Ghils) Boeing Chinook HC2 Solo Display (Bruno Ghils)
Hawker Hurricane from BBMF (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
Trbute to the Dambusters... (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
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Belgian Air Force F-16AM Solo Display (Bruno Ghils)
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(Bruno Ghils) "Grat" exhib the Belgian flag for the National Day and the new King Philippe
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Estonian Air Force L-39 Albatros (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) Airbus Military A400M (Bruno Ghils)
"Grat" after his July 21st show...long life Belgium... (Jacky Vincent) "Grat" spare plane going back to Belgium (Jacky Vincent)
BBMF Hurricane Mk IIc (Jacky Vincent) BBMF Spitfire LF XVIE (Jacky Vincent)
Dambusters tribute (Jacky Vincent) 70 years raid commemoration (Jacky Vincent)
French Rafale solo display (Jacky Vincent) (Jacky Vincent)
PBY Catalina (Jacky Vincent) Gloster Meteor T.7, beautifull metal in the sun (Jacky Vincent)
Polish Mig 29A Solo Display (Jacky Vincent) Vulcan bomb bay... (Jacky Vincent)
Eurofighter EF2000 from Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Jacky Vincent) Big hand for the visitors (Jacky Vincent)
Typhoon FGR4 Solo Display (Jacky Vincent) Hight speed... (Jacky Vincent)
Swiss PC-9 team (Jacky Vincent) (Jacky Vincent)
Arrows and Atlas (Jacky Vincent) Nice formation flight (Jacky Vincent)
Assault landing (Jacky Vincent) (Jacky Vincent)
The RAF Red Arrows (Jacky Vincent) (Jacky Vincent)
Syncro pair (Jacky Vincent) Sweet heart (Jacky Vincent)
Belgian Air Force EMB-135 from 15th Wing (Jacky Vincent) Belgian Air Force EMB-145 from 15th Wing (Jacky Vincent)
Alenia MC-27J Spartan (Jacky Vincent) AMI Boeing KC-767A from 14 Stormo (Jacky Vincent)
AMI Lockheed C-130J from 46 Brigada (Jacky Vincent) AMI EF-2000 4 Stormo (Jacky Vincent)
AMI Frecce Tricolori Aermacchi MB-339 (Jacky Vincent) Army Air Corp Defender T3 from 651 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
Avro Vulcan XH558, lets hope that diplay can continue (Jacky Vincent) Bae 125 test bed from Bae System (Jacky Vincent)
red Bull B-25 Mitchell (Jacky Vincent) Red Bull F-4U4 Corsair (Jacky Vincent)
Bae 146 from QuinetiQ / ETPS (Jacky Vincent) Brazil Air Force Embraer R99 from 6 GAv (Jacky Vincent)
Army Air Corp AH-64 (Jacky Vincent) Finnish Air Force NH-90 TTH from 1 Hk (Jacky Vincent)
Camberra PR9 (Jacky Vincent) Dornier DO-228 from Netherlands Coast Guard (Jacky Vincent)
Eurocopter AS555 (Jacky Vincent) C-160R from ET00-064 Transall (Jacky Vincent)
Dassault Mirage F-1CR from ER02.033 100 years RECCE colours (Jacky Vincent) Dassault Mirage F-1CR from ER02.033 (Jacky Vincent)
Dassault Rafale C from EC01.007 (Jacky Vincent) Aerospatial SA342M Gazelle from 1RHC (Jacky Vincent)
Aerospatiale SA330B Puma from 1RHC (Jacky Vincent) Luftwaffe Airbus A310-304 MRt from FBS BMVg  (Jacky Vincent)
Marineflieger Dornier Bo-228NG from MFG3 (Jacky Vincent) Luftwaffe Tornado ECR from AG51 (Jacky Vincent)
Luftwaffe Tornado ECR "Tiger" 2013 from AG51 (Jacky Vincent) Marineflieger Seaking Mk41 from MFG5 (Jacky Vincent)
Greece Air Force Embraer 145H AEW&C from 380 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) Hungarian Air Force Antonov AN-26 from MH 59. Note the flame at exhaust...
(Jacky Vincent)
Hungarian Air Force Saab JAS-39C from MH 59 (Jacky Vincent) KLU AH-64DN from 301 sqn (Jacky Vincent)
KLU Apache Solo Display (Jacky Vincent) KLU Lockheed C-130H-30 from 336 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
KLU F-16AM from 323 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) KLU F-16AM Solo Display (Jacky Vincent)
KLU F-16AM from 322 sqn (Jacky Vincent) KLU F-16AM from 313 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
KLU KDC-10 from 334 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) Breitling Lockheed Constellation (Jacky Vincent)
Gloster Metart T.7 (Jacky Vincent) Marineflieger Lockheed P-3C Orion from MFG3 (Jacky Vincent)
US. Army OH-6A Cayuse (Jacky Vincent) US.Army UH-1D Iroquois (Jacky Vincent)
Polish Air Force Casa C295M from 13.el (Jacky Vincent)  polish Air Force Mig 29A from 1.elt (Jacky Vincent)
Portugal Air Force Casa C295MPA from Esq 502 (Jacky Vincent) Jordanian Air Force Lockheed C-130H from 3 sqn (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Airbus A330MRTT (G-WYGO) (Jacky Vincent) RAF Beech B200GT from 45 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Griffin HT.1 60 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) RAF C-17A 99 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Typhoon T3 29 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) RAF Typhoon FGR4 11 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Typhoon FGR4 6 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) Royal Navy Merlin HM1 from 824 Sqn  (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Merlin HC3 from 78 Sqn  (Jacky Vincent) RAF Cadets Vigilant T.1 (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Hawk T.2 4 Sqn  (Jacky Vincent) RAF Hawk T.2 with colours of 100 years 4 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Seaking HAR3A (Fleetlands)  (Jacky Vincent) RAF Squirel HT.1 (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Tornado GR4 from 12 Sqn  (Jacky Vincent) RAF Tornado GR4 617 Sqn Dambusters (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Short Tucano T.1 Solo Display from 72 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) RAF Short Tucano T.1 also from 72 Sqn (Jacky Vincent)
RAF Vickers VC-10 K3 from 101 Sqn (Jacky Vincent) RAF Chinnok HC2 from 18/27 Sqn  (Jacky Vincent)
Dannish Air Force EH-101 Mk512 Merlin from Esk 722 (Jacky Vincent) (Jacky Vincent)
Swiss Air Force AS332M-1 Super Puma (Jacky Vincent) Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39C from flygflottilj 17 (Jacky Vincent)

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