Text: Serge Van Heertum  -  Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Laurent Cuvelier  © sbap 2013

We discovered Eastbourne Air show in 2012 and seen the quality of this event at the seaside, going to the 2013 edition was surely on our list. Traditionally the week-end of August 15 puts the little seaside resort in celebration and those 4 days are crowned with a high standard air show.

In the morning you have to take a walk through the multiple booths with a part reserved for the Royal Air Force, Army Air Corps and the Royal Navy. Proposing a variety of activities to the crowd, like climbing, a commando track for kids and this year, the possibility to have your picture taken in a Red Arrows Hawk.

Other services are also present, the Air Ambulance service as well as various associations. The hart and the charity are no vain words for the British people.

Another part was dedicated to booths from different countries proposing their specialties and one must not forget the children who could find their happiness during a lot of games and animations. In short, a town in celebration, breathing joy and happiness and where it feels good wandering around.

But lest go back to the aerial activities of the event.

The program was once again of a high standard with, amongst others, the presence during those four days of the Red Arrows, the emblem of the Royal Air Force, who thrilled the hearts of our English hosts. The RAF solo-displays also participated, like the CH-47 Chinook with its incredible maneuvers, the Short Tucano in a desert livery remembering the participation of the 72 Squadron in the desert campaign of 1943 and the Typhoon solo-display of the 29 Squadron at Coningsby. Unfortunately, the weather on Friday and Saturday was not as good so the displays of the Seaking and the Lynx had to be cancelled.

England, land of history, would not be England without its warbirds… The presence of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was again a real pleasure for our eyes and our ears. Six Rolls Royce’s together, what a song! Beside the BBMF, the Spitfire Mk IXT and the P-40M from Hangar 11 were beautifully flown and seeing the ‘Spit’ over the English Channel made us go back in time like if we were witnessing the famous Battle of Britain… real shivers down our spine.

The jets of the golden era were not forgotten with the Jet Provost, a training aircraft with nice and smooth aerobatics, the F-86A Sabre remembering the power of the United States during the Korean War and at the elegant Hunter ‘Miss Deneamour’, undisputed success of the British industry.

The enthusiasm of the organizers and the quality of the air show brought the presence of foreign aircraft; the Dassault Flamant from the Albert airfield and also the decibels of the Belgian Air Force F-16AM flown by our own “Grat”.

Great Britain being an aeronautical country, number of civilian team was constituted these last years and some of them flew at Eastbourne much to the joy of the public. The “Blades” team with a very dynamic display in four Extra 300ES, the RV8TORS (pronounced: Airviators) an aerobatic high level dual display. Then we had the “Swip” team which does not need to be introduced to the passionate aviation enthusiasts.  We all know there beautiful arabesques, especially at night. The flight of the Breitling Wingwalkers elicit some ‘Oh.. Ah…’

 

 

Eastbourne Council press team...Many thanks for your support!
(Serge Van Heertum)

To conclude lets also talk about the ‘Matadors team’ with their SBACH Xtreme with an incredible dynamic and smooth presentation. Why did we put them at the end? Well the team is made up of two aerobatic champions chosen to represent the new Disney-movie “Planes” out in England on August 16. The team’s airplanes were painted in the colors of the “Rusty Team” (the hero, Paul Bonhomme) and the “Risplinger Team” (the bad one, Steve Jones). Comments during their display made it to a high level and colorful show and we are certain the little ones and the adults, having seen “Rusty” and “Risplinger”, will have only one envy, to go to the movie and discover this new 3D Disney-production. It must be said that Eastbourne Airshow was chosen for the official launch of this movie and after the event, the planes will be painted all over, so “Rusty” and “Risplinger” were only ‘visible’ during those four days.

Even if you are not an aviation enthusiast, going to Eastbourne is definitely worth the journey to discover this little seaside town of the Southern coast of England.

We would like to thank warmly all the teams and pilots we had the chance to meet and talk to about our common passion… ‘Grat’, the Flamant team, the Disney “Planes” team, the Breitling Wingwalkers, the smiles of Danielle and Freya are a little bit different in fight and on the ground (joke ;-)…

We are most thankful to the organizers and everyone who made these days really successful and particularly Miss Tracey Drake, responsible for the press, who welcomed us warmly which was highly appreciated.

Eastbourne 2014 is already highlighted in our agenda…

Eastbourne Fair & Delights...(Serge Van Heertum)

A "Reds" Hawk present on the seafront (Serge Van Heertum)

A future "Red Arrows" pilot! (Serge Van Heertum)
The Royal Army exhibition (Serge Van Heertum) A candidate for the BBMF! (Serge Van Heertum)

The Apache flight simulator (Serge Van Heertum)

A climb wall (Serge Van Heertum)
Royal Navy Historical Flight merchandising (Serge Van Heertum) A good Spitfire beer? (Serge Van Heertum)
Children entertainments (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
To feel the pilot sensations (Serge Van Heertum) Some marshmallow delights (Serge Van Heertum)

The Essex dog show (Serge Van Heertum)

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For the first time the all show could be watched in live streaming
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The public waiting the airshow
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The presence of a Royal Navy lifeboat in case of... (Serge Van Heertum) A ship of the Britain border agency (Serge Van Heertum)
A wonderful sight for an airshow (Serge Van Heertum) The new water sport: Jet Lev Flyer (Serge Van Heertum)
(Laurent Cuvelier) Also waiting the airshow ? (Laurent Cuvelier)

Cpt Renaud "Grat" Thys F-16AM solo display

Born in 1983, "Grat", like many youngsters, was always fascinated by the life as a fighter pilot, and certain Hollywood productions are a good example of it, such as Top Gun. His motivation lead him to start off as a glider pilot with the Air Cadets in 1999, which he’ll do for about 4 years. In the meantime, he became candidate trainee pilot at promo 2001B. After his training in the royal academy as petty officer (Saffraanberg) he was sent to Beauvechain to start his phase of Basic Flight Training. After 9 months, and succeeding in this phase, he directs himself to the Advanced Flight Training on Alpha Jet.  It’s with rightful pride that “Grat” receives his wings on the 30th of June 2004. He continues his training on Alpha Jet, but this time in the brand new Franco-Belgian school at Cazaux. He attains his next certificate at the end of 2005 and heads towards Kleine Brogel to do his conversion towards the F-16 at the OCU (operational conversion unit). After his time at KB, “Grat” receives his assignment to Florennes, to integrate 350 Squadron. It’s in spring 2007 that he receives his « combat ready » qualification, and very soon he participates in his first operational mission at Siauliai, Lithuania during the same year. In 2008 he becomes “Element leader”, and his operations took place at Kandahar in Afghanistan. He became flight leader in 2009, and takes part in operation “Guardian Falcon” for the second time. In 2010, he heads to Spain for a TLP (tactical leadership program) session at Albacete. The year 2011 will be a busy one for « Grat », with a third operational tour at Kandahar between March and May, And later on he’ll participate in two operational detachments based in Araxos, in the framework of the Unified Protector operation above Libya. Parallel to the operations, his trainings, missions and exercises continue, which take him to the USA and Canada. In the meantime, “Grat” has become Mission Commander, and instructor on F-16, charged with the standardization and evaluation of all training programs for the pilots of the “Ambiorix” squadron.

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Since the formation of the Raiders in 1983, the team has composed of skilled sport parachutists from across the spectrum of the Naval Service, including team members from Royal Navy Surface Fleet, Submarine Service, Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm. The Team display into a variety of public events throughout the season (May to September), landing right in front of the crowd at large military and civilian events such as RNAS Yeovilton Air Day and Brickwoods Field Gun day at HMS Collingwood.  In addition to Armed Forces events, notable recent appearances include the Eng-Aus One Day International Cricket Match covered by Sky Sports 1 in 2010 and a high profile appearance on the BBC's Top Gear show in 2011 for the series launch episode. All the members of the team are highly trained volunteers, and all parachutists and ground crew invest a significant amount of personal time and effort to maintain their specialist skills in order to promote the Royal Navy and at every display.

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Today the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is a household name and a national institution but the modern BBMF was created from humble beginnings and though it paid the same mark of respect it did so under tight constraint. It has gone from being a loose collection of ‘obsolete types’ tucked away in the corner of various hangars, to a dedicated unit with its own headquarters, entrusted with caring for priceless assets of British aviation heritage. Wing Commander Peter Thompson dfc, then Station Commander at Biggin Hill, Kent, was primarily responsible for the formation of what we now know as the BBMF. After gaining his pilot’s wings in the summer of 1940, Peter flew Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain. By the mid-1950s Hurricane IIC LF363 was the only airworthy representative of its type with the RAF and was based at Biggin Hill. This gave Peter the basis for a grander plan.  There was a strong belief among some in the RAF that the service’s greatest Battle Honor should continue to be commemorated in a fitting fashion and the best way to do that was to keep the last remaining examples of the legendary fighters which had won the Battle of Britain – the Hurricane and Spitfire – in the air. Wing Commander Thompson was an enthusiastic advocate of this notion. Peter gained the authority to form an historic flight at Biggin Hill but, with no public funding, all manpower would have to be voluntary. This was the start point of this unique RAF historical Squadron. A complete history can be found in the recent BBMF published book: BBMF in camera by Keith Wilson

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The Blades made their debut performance in 2006 at a party held by David Beckham prior to the World Cup. Since then they have performed as part of the 80th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle, and at the Bahrain Grand Prix and Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. They hold the world record for formation looping having completed 26 consecutive loops, with blind bank manager Mike Newman taking control for the beginning of the stunt before co-pilot Myles Garland resumed control for the other loops. Alongside their aerobatic displays and commercial work, The Blades also help the Royal Air Forces Association, a charity that supports RAF service personnel.

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Above Beachy Head (Serge Van Heertum)

The Chinook Display Team is made up of personnel from both 18(B) and 27 Squadrons, and is supported by a team of engineers from 18/27 Engineering Squadron, all based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire. After an award winning 2012 season, the Chinook Display Team return for 2013 with a new display, combining some of last year’s award winning sequence with new, exciting, high energy maneuvers. This show demonstrate the versatility and maneuverability of such a large aircraft to its full potential.

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Flying their remarkably fast, fully aerobatic aircraft with powerful smoke systems, the RV8tors perform a thrilling and unforgettable display. Close formation aerobatics are combined with speeds of up to 230mph and dare-devil opposition passes which create an electrifying spectacle. Flown by professional display pilots, The RV8tors provide an exceptional performance that is striking, unique and cost effective. The climax of the display is the giant white heart, drawn in the sky by the aircraft and their smoke trails. Regardless of the event, the effect of the heart puts people in good spirits, making the RV8tors display appropriate for all occasions, including public airshows as well as private functions, such as weddings and corporate events.

The pilots:

Alister Kay has been a display pilot for 25 years, starting in the Pitts Special. He now displays the Spitfire and P-51D Mustang for The Old Flying Machine Company and has over 9,000 hours flying time in single engine piston aircraft and gliders. He has been UK Gliding Champion on 8 occasions and has held numerous records.

Andy Hill is a well-known formation instructor, light aircraft test pilot and an ex-RAF Harrier GR7 instructor. He instructs on the Jet Provost, Extra 300 and Bulldog, teaching aerobatics and combat maneuvers. In 2011, as well as displaying with the RV8tors, Andy flew formation displays in the Hunter and Bulldog, and solo aerobatic displays in the Jet Provost. Andy and his wife Ellie took 2 years to build their RV-8, both are airline captains with over 12,000 hours each, and now building an RV-3.

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oups...something is gone during the inverted flight (Serge Van Heertum) (Laurent Cuvelier)
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The XW324 was built at Warton, as the 38th Jet Provost T.5. The plane was accepted by the RAF in September 1970 entering service with 3FTS at RAF Leeming and coded '38'. During her tenure at Leeming it was used for basic pilot training, and was also used by the School's aerobatics team 'The Gemini Pair' during 1973. The plane was not selected for the upgrade to T.5A status during 1975, but instead was transferred to 6FTS RAF Finningley, where it was used for navigational training and was also used by the Low Level and Air Defence Unit (LLAD) as aircraft 'U', XW324 remained at Finningley until retired & ferried to RAF Shawbury for storage on 21st July 1993. In February 1994, XW324 was one of 65 Jet Provost aircraft acquired by Global Aviation. They were slowly ferried to their new home and 324 arrived on 23rd April 1995 and received the civil registration G-BWSG. Following restoration to flying condition the aircraft  was moved to Humberside and put up for sale, It was subsequently purchased and relocated to Southend where she operated until resold in 2000. In August 2000 XW324 was purchased by Richard Kay and subsequently moved temporarily to North Weald, finally making Jersey her new home; it did however remain a regular attendee at UK air shows. At the end of the 2006 air show season XW324 moved back in to the hangar at Hawarden where remained for over a year becoming a ‘Hangar Queen’ and was notably absent throughout the 2007 season. The Jet Provost was put up for sale and agreement was reached. The XW324 was purchased by the current owner Jeff Bell on the 16th September 2007. Negotiations began to bring XW324 back to an airworthy status and a scope of work was agreed with North Wales Military Aviation Services to carry out the necessary work. In addition to the servicing requirements XW324’s upper lug attachments were inspected and none destructively tested in accordance with the outstanding Mandatory Permit Directive. Testing was completed successfully and the non-aerobatic flight and G restrictions were lifted effectively allowing XW324 to fly to the limits as advertised in the RAF JP Mk5 pilots notes. Since late 2007, XW324 has received continuous refurbishment work to bring it to a condition as close as possible to that when she rolled off the production line in 1970. Externally, attention has been paid to areas of the airframe which required only very minor cosmetic paint repair, all decals and placards have been replaced and we have returned 324’s decals/livery accurate to her time with 6FTS at RAF Finningley. The superbly tight display 2013 is ensured by Sqn Ldr Dan Arlett.

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In 2013 the Tucano T1 aircraft return to the airshow circuit. For 2013 the Tucano will have a desert camouflage design mirroring Second World War Spitfire aircraft operated by 72 Squadron in 1943. The display is presented by Flight Lieutenant Andrew Fyvie-Rae “Fyvie”.

After Tucano display period the Flight Lieutenant next posting will be to 4(R) Sqn at RAF Valley to complete Tactical Weapons Training on the Hawk T2, before progressing to a front-line squadron. In the future, Fyvie hopes to fly the Typhoon.

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The “Amicale des Avions Anciens d’ Albert”, also known as "4A" is an association created in September 1998. The association is based on the Albert Picardie Airport in the Somme department, not far from the Aérolia Méaulte plant. The main purpose of the association, strong of fifteen members, is to recover, restore and fly antique aircraft at various occasions: meetings, flyovers, historical films ... but also to promote, facilitate and organize the practice of aviation, for example, during discovery days about aviation world. The pilots who fly aircraft of the “Amicale” are mostly French Air Force or Air France pilots. Those who are not driving the old planes are from various professions: teacher, policeman, mechanic, aircraft logistics operator ... Aircraft maintenance is applied with greater rigor in compliance with the actual standards and regulations. All this is possible thanks to the documentation, tools and many original parts available, but also through the involvement of all members according to their specialties.
The "4A" maintain five aircraft in flying conditions :

Dassault MD.311 « Flamant »

Dassault MD.312 « Flamant »

Morane Saulnier MS.506L (Fieseler Storch)

Nord 1101 « Ramier »

Morane-Saulnier MS.733 « Alcyon »

During Airbourne 2013 edition, the association was present with the “Flamingo Duo”

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The SA1100 Silence Twister is the brainchild of German brothers Thomas and Matthias Strieker. The basic aircraft concept came from a very successful scale model and using the brothers’ skills in computer-aided-design and manufacture, they have produced an aircraft outstanding in it class. The Twister excels in performance, comfort and safety. It’s a miracle of modern lightweight design and construction, with every component precision engineered to withstand the extreme g-forces exerted on it with every aerobatic manoeuvre. The Belgian made engine is no exception. The state of the art UL-Power UL260iSA engine makes it the ideal aerobatic display aircraft. The performance is achieved with an efficient but very lightweight design, with the classic good looks and elliptical wing of a Supermarine Spitfire combined with tough but lightweight composite glass/carbon honeycomb construction - the SA1100 Silence Twister represents the perfect harmony of design and performance. Comfort and safety are achieved through embodying the latest racing car technology, using a roomy pilot safety cell. G-ZWIP (originally G-TWST) was built as an SA180 Twister at the Zulu Glasstek workshop over the course of 2004 and made its maiden flight in 2005. Following a series of design tweaks, including aerodynamic improvements and a change of engine and propeller the SA1100 was born and awarded full aerobatic certification. In 2009 Peter Wells completed his second SA1100 Twister aircraft (G-SWIP); both aircraft now fly for the SWIP Team.

The pilots

Guy Westgate has been flying aerobatic aircraft since 1993 and started displaying gliders in 1998. His passion for flying developed into a carrier in aviation, and he now flies the Boeing 747-400 aircraft from Heathrow on behalf of British Airways. Guy has dabbled in paragliding too and still holds a World Record with his twin brother for a tandem flight in South Africa. His aerobatic skills however have been honed in gliders and he is an 8 times National Champion, and has represented Great Britain at the Glider World Aerobatic Championships 3 times. He is also an advanced glider aerobatic instructor and a CAA Display Evaluator. Guy first saw the Silence Twister 5 years ago and it was love at first sight. He then met with Pete Wells in 2008 and they formed the 2-ship Twister Duo display in 2009 as the second Twister was completed.

Peter Wells started flying when he was just 15. Since taking to the skies he has managed rack up an impressive 2,800 gliding hours. After a move into piloting powered aircraft he began maintaining and rebuilding tow planes such as Piper Cubs and the Pawnee. He operated a RF4D for 15 years and built a 200HP RV8 before building his two Twister aircraft. Peter is the UK agent for Twister aircraft. Peter has displayed the Twister as a solo pilot throughout Europe and the Middle East. When he is not up in the sky performing aerobatics, he runs Zulu Glasstek, a company specialising in composite repairs for gliders.

Jon Gowdy started flying gliders aged fourteen and obtained his power license three years later. Still a teenager, Jon joined Air Atlantique as a cadet pilot. Initially flying coastguard missions, Jon's passion for vintage aircraft and display flying soon led him to the company's historic aircraft collection. By the time he moved on from Air Atlantique, he was flying and displaying many types including the DC3, Dragon Rapide and Vampire jet trainer. Seeking the next challenge, Jon moved to the airlines and started flying Airbuses at Heathrow. An opportunity to take some time away from the airlines in 2010, allowed Jon to pursue a lifelong ambition and enjoy some of the most exciting flying on earth as a pilot for the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica. Now back at Heathrow, Jon fills his spare time doing what he enjoys most - flying challenging, precision aerobatics with the SWIP team.

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The Hangar 11 Collection based at North Weald comprises four superb airworthy examples of legendary World War 11 fighter aircraft, each with extensive wartime histories. All these special aircraft are regular participants on the UK and European Airshow scene under the Hangar 11 umbrella, operated by Peter Teichman and a selected few of the finest and most experienced display pilots in the UK.

The Curtiss P-40M, serial number 43-5802, was manufactured in October 1943 and assigned to a RCAF squadron as serial no. 840. She subsequently flew with a number of RCAF squadrons, amassing a total of only 732 hours in military service. The aircraft was retired in 1950 and moved to Oregon State University to act as an instructional aircraft. Following a long period of storage at Troutdale Airport, Oregon, she was acquired in the late 1970’s by well-known P-40 expert Tommy Camp, based in Livermore, California. Fortunately, the airframe was found to have survived in remarkably good condition and was suitable for a restoration to flying condition. This was sympathetically carried out in the early 1980’s and she flew again in 1982. Purchased by The Fighter Collection and shipped across the Atlantic, she took up residence at Duxford in February 1985. There she remained for ten years until 1995 when traded to Christophe Jacquard, based at Dijon in France. Re-registered F-AZPJ she was operated in France for three years until returning to Duxford to re-join The Fighter Collection in 1998. Placed on the UK register as G-KITT, she continued to be operated by TFC until 2005 when she was purchased by Hangar 11 Collection and ferried to our hangar at North Weald. Since then she has appeared extensively at airshows throughout the UK and further airfield. In May 2009 she was flown by Peter Teichman to a former Soviet military airfield near Prague and took part in filming for the movie ‘Red Tails’ which was released in January 2012. Wearing a temporary water washable scheme, after filming was completed and she was flown back to the UK the decision was made to retain the temporary colors until the final release of the movie.

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In Disney’s Planes, Dusty is a plane with high hopes - literally. Crop duster by trade, this single-prop plane sees himself soaring alongside his high-flying heroes in an international race. The fact that he's not really built for competitive racing doesn't deter him from pursuing his dream - but his fear of heights just might. With a little help from his friends - and a WWII vet with wisdom to spare - Dusty takes off on an adventure of a lifetime, going prop-to-prop with champions while daring to reach heights he never imagined possible.

Paul Bonhomme (Team Dusty Pilot)

Paul hails from a flying family and got the aerobatic bug while helping out after school at White Waltham airfield in Berkshire. His progression from private pilot to commercial pilot included time as a flying instructor, air-taxi pilot and airline pilot while simultaneously enjoying lots of aerobatics. He started display flying at the age of 22 and has been doing it ever since. Paul has been the team leader of the Matadors since inception in 1994. Paul lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife and four children. Notably he competed in the FAI World Grand Prix (2000-2005) and Red Bull Air Race (2003-2010) – and was Red Bull Air Race World Champion in 2009 and 2010.

Ripslinger

With more wins than he can count, Ripslinger is wings-down the biggest name in air racing - and he knows it. But the world champion doesn't play fair - especially when it comes to a small-town plane with zero racing experience. Dusty’s mere presence makes the pro's fuel boil. And if Dusty's inexperience doesn't take him out of the race, Ripslinger's underhanded sidekicks will try and take care of business.

Steve Jones (Team Ripslinger Pilot)

Steve Jones is the wingman in the team. He has been flying in formation right from his early days as a teenager. His job is to keep his aircraft glued to Paul’s, following every move.

Jones has been working as a pilot since the age of 19, when he began towing up gliders during weekends and holidays. Since then, he has been a flying instructor, banner-tower, air-taxi pilot, executive-jet pilot and Boeing 747 captain. Noteably, he is a former National Aerobatic Champion and also competed in the Red Bull Air Race 2003-2008. Steve also finds time in his busy schedule to display vintage aircraft and races old cars. He lives in Gloucestershire with his wife, who is also a 747 Captain.

   
The Disney event of the year 2013 (Serge Van Heertum) Dusty and Ripslinger in competition (Laurent Cuvelier)
   

(Courtesy Disney Company UK) (Serge Van Heertum)
   

Steve Jones & Paul Bonhomme alias Ripslinger and Dusty
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The movie heroes in flight (Courtesy Disney Company UK)  
   
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The 1949-built North American F-86A-5-NA Sabre G-SABR (ex. N68388, N178) of Golden Apple Operations Ltd. was one of the highlights at the Airshow Eelde 2005. This ancient fighter-jet is powered by a General Electric Co J-47-13 engine. The Sabre flew a nice performance together with another classic jet, the Lockheed CT-33AN Silver Star G-TBRD "21261/261" of Golden Apple Operations Ltd. The North American F-86A Sabre G-SABR was assembled in Los Angeles and delivered to the United States Air Force as a F-86A-5 Sabre on 18 April 1949. In February 1958, the aircraft was dropped from the USAF inventory and it ended in a Fresno scrapyard. In 1970, the airframe was discovered by Mr. Ben Hall who decided to rebuild it to flying condition. On 24 May 1974, the 48-0178 flew again now with the civil registration N68388. Today, F-86A (48-178) still flies at air shows in the United Kingdom, and remains the only airworthy F-86A Sabre in the world.

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(Serge Van Heertum) Note the oil platform in the background (Laurent Cuvelier)
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The 1950s and 1960s were the heyday of Royal Air Force jet aerobatic display teams. By the mid-60s almost every Flying Training School, and several operational squadrons, had their own teams. So much time, effort and money was being expended on these non-established tasks that the Royal Air Force eventually decided to disband them all and form a single, full-time professional team. Thus, in 1964, the Red Pelicans flying six Jet Provost T Mk 4s became the first team to represent the Royal Air Force as a whole. In that same year a team of five yellow Folland Gnat jet trainers, known as the Yellow jacks, was formed at No 4 Flying Training School at Royal Air Force Valley in north Wales, led by Flight Lieutenant Lee Jones. The following year Jones was posted to the Central Flying School (CFS) to form the Red Arrows. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (RAFAT), the formal name of the Red Arrows, began life at RAF Fairford in Glouces­tershire, then a satellite of CFS. Initially there were seven display pilots and ten Gnat jet trainers. The name ‘Red Arrows’ was chosen to combine the appeal and expertise of two earlier teams, the famous Black Arrows and the Red Pelicans. In their first season, 1965, the Red Arrows flew 65 displays in Britain, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany, and the Team was awarded the Britannia Trophy by the Royal Aero Club in recognition of its outstanding contribution to British prestige in the field of aviation. When the Royal Air Force decided to retain the Team for 1966, two spare pilots were established but the Team continued to fly just seven aircraft in most displays. The first display with 9 pilots was in July 1966 for the benefit of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. The practice of carrying spare pilots proved unsatisfactory because the display was so specialized that each position had its own demands. To be of any use at all, the spare pilots had to be capable of filling any position at very short notice. Thus, they required more training than any other member of the team and, as a result, became more skilled. Not surprisingly the spares became dissatisfied with their roles as reserves. The Red Arrows flew nine aircraft in displays from time to time from mid-1966 onwards, but it was not until 1968 that the Team was officially increased in size to nine. Although there was nothing new in flying nine aircraft in a diamond-shaped formation, the Red Arrows’ perfectly symmetrical Diamond Nine quickly came to represent the peak of precision flying and it was eventually registered as an official trade mark. The Red Arrows took delivery of the British Aerospace Hawk trainer in the autumn of 1979 and during that winter the pilots converted from the Gnat and worked up a display using the new airplane in time for the 1980 display season. Since being introduced into service with the Red Arrows, the Hawk has taken the Team on tours of eastern and Western Europe, the USA and Canada, the Middle and Far East, Africa, the former Soviet Union and Australia. The 4000th display flown in the Hawk was at Royal Air Force Leuchars' Battle of Britain Airshow in September 2006. Since the Team’s creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have flown over 4,000 displays in 52 countries. Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world, acting as ambassadors for Great Britain when displaying overseas. They also support UK industry by demonstrating the capabilities of British equipment and expertise.


(Courtesy RAF Red Arrows)

2013 pilots:

1 Sqn Ldr Jim Turner

2 Flt Lt Olly Parr

3 Flt Lt Mark Lawson

4 Flt Lt Martin Pert

5 Flt Lt Steve Morris

6 Flt Lt Chris Lyndon-Smith

7 Flt Lt James McMillan

8 Flt Lt Ben Plank

9 Flt Lt Mike Child

10 Sqn Ldr Mike Ling

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Built as a single seat LF.IX  at Castle Bromwich in 1944, the plane was delivered RAF 33rd Sqn on October 9th. Based at Merville (France) the aircraft was coded 5R-Q.  On January 20th, 1945, the plane was delivered to the RCAF 412nd Sqn. The Unit returned to the UK at the end of May 1945 and the PV202 was stored. During operational career the plane performed 96 operational missions. Sold to Vickers-Armstrong in July 1950, the PV202 was converted to T9 trainer version for the Irish Air Corps. Code 161, aircraft was delivered on June 15th, 1951.  Although it was modified as trainer the aircraft was equipped with two 0.303 Browning machine guns, one in each outer wing bay.  The Irish Air Corps retired its Spitfires from service in 1960 and the PV202 became an instructional airframe. Withdrawn in December 1968, the plane was sold to N.A.W. Samuelson and shipped to the UK for storage. Sold to Sir William Roberts in April 1970 the plane was transferred to the Strathallan collection in March 1972.  Also stored until August 1979, and then sold to Nick Grace and Steve Atkins on October 10th.  The plane was registered G-TRIX on July 2nd, 1980. Ten years later Richard Parker acquired the ownership in 1990, and its first flight after rebuild took place on February 23th at Dunsfold. In late 1991 it was sold to Rick Roberts. March 1997, PV202 was continuing its overhaul and rebuild at Hawker Restoration, Earls Colne, Essex following some accident damages. October 1997, PV202 was received new markings for the 1998 season (5R-Q of 33 Sqn). The plane was previously coded VZ-M of 412th (RCAF) Sqn. On April 8th, 2000 the PV202 crashed at Goodwood Airfield attempting to land after training flight.   The new owner, South African Greg Mc Curragh who had only bought the Spitfire two weeks before, died with Norman Lees as passenger. PV202 was rebuilt into flying conditions and received the Irish Air Corps marking code 161. The plane was restored by Historical Flight Ltd based at Duxford. Some years later the Irish markings disappear to receive for a short time Netherlands markings and afterward the traditional RAF camouflage and the codes of the 19th Sqn QV-I.

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G-PSST was originally built for the Royal Air Force as a mark F.4, XF947, back in 1956. Part of the first production batch of F.4s, XF947 was initially delivered to No.5 Maintenance Unit at Kemble in Gloucestershire before entering active service with No.3(Fighter) Squadron at RAF Geilenkirchen, Germany, as part of 2 ATAF (Allied Tactical Air Force). After a short period of time she was re-allocated to 229 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Chivenor in Devon.  Service with the Royal Navy & Swiss Air Force: When XF947′s operational career with the RAF was over, she was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm at Arbroath (HMS Condor) as a Ground Instructional Airframe (number A2568) before being classed surplus to requirements and placed up for disposal. So it was that she was purchased by Hawker Siddeley Aviation in 1971 as G-9-317 for conversion to a Mk58A as part of a contract for the Swiss Air Force. Re-serialled as J-4104, she was delivered to the Swiss Air Force on 2nd February 1972 and spent most of her remaining military career as a target tug carrying the Swedish MBV-2S winch which was carried under the starboard wing. Private Ownership: In 1996 J-4104 was retired from military service for a second time, was sold to a private owner and ferried to the British Aerospace airfield at Dunsfold in Surrey, with a total of just 1659 hours on the airframe! In 1997 she was acquired by Jonathon Whaley’s company, Heritage Aviation Developments Ltd, registered as G-PSST and was ferried across to Hurn Airport near Bournemouth to undergo restoration by Jet Heritage Ltd. Restoration was completed in mid-’98 and she was towed across the airfield to AIM Aviation for surface finishing at the end of the year. This was completed in January 1999 and she looked then just as you see her today.

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AeroSuperBatics Ltd is a British aerobatics and wingwalking team. As of 2011, they perform as the Breitling Wingwalkers following a sponsorship agreement with the Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling. They previously performed as Team Guinot, the Utterly Butterly Wing-walking Display Team and the Crunchie Wing-walking Display Team according to their sponsors at the time. AeroSuperBatics was founded in 1989 by Vic Norman, a veteran aerobatics pilot. It operates four Boeing-Stearman Model 75 biplanes and employs five pilots. The team's shows consist of two or four planes performing aerobatic maneuvers while female athletes, attached to a post above the wings, engage in acrobatics.

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Flight Lieutenant Jamie Norris will be the Royal Air Force Typhoon Display pilot for the 2013 airshow season. The display will be returning to 29(Reserve) Squadron at RAF Coningsby following a two year absence. The display was unable to go ahead during the 2011 season due to operational commitments in the Mediterranean. In 2012 the role was undertaken by Squadron Leader Scott Loughran from 6 Squadron based at RAF Leuchars.

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..waiting 2014 edition now! (Laurent Cuvelier)

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