|RAFA Shoreham Air Show – August 30-31, 2014
|Location: Shoreham-by-Sea airport, West Sussex, England
|Admission: £22 per adult
|Parking: On site is provided free with entrance ticket
|Value: Very Good
|Rating out of 10: 9
Grumman F6F Hellcat and the Goodyear Corsair
This was the third time I have attended an air show at Shoreham airport and it has been a spectacular and memorable event every time. Despite being a small airport the capacity of the venue is quite appreciable, with entrances from either of the south or the north depending on approach route. The air show which is now in its 25 th year is very popular with the general public and enthusiasts alike. Situated below higher ground and with the chapel of Lancing College in the background provides a stunning backdrop against which to capture outstanding photographs.
In the earlier of the two morning air show sessions we were treated to an opening display by a paraglider, a towed glider and aerobatic aircraft types of various makes. The RAF’s Grob Tutor T1 Elementary Flying trainer aircraft’s display was followed by a celebration of ten De Havilland aircraft comprising of eight Tiger Moths performing formation flypasts, aerobatics and crossovers with the later duo comprised of a DH89A Rapide and a DH90A Dragonfly. The brilliant and precise RAF Falcons parachute display team concluded the first morning session. In the later morning session a duo made up of a full sized Extra 300 and a radio controlled scaled-down version gave us all a thrilling and breath taking display. More radio controlled aircraft including scale jets continued the event and brought the morning programme right up to the lunchtime break.
The afternoon sessions started off with the spectacular display by the elegant Hawker Hunter T7 WV372. Equally thrilling was a stunning display by four Extra 300 aerobatic aeroplanes from The Blades team which is a full time civilian team crewed by former RAFAT Red Arrow pilots. The unmistakable and delightful duo made up of Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia N3200 and Hurricane MkI R4118, both veteran warbirds, formed the wonderful Early War Formation which was in turn followed by the Great War Display Team comprising of six replica aircraft flying very tight aerial dogfight simulations. A wonderful display by a two-ship Boeing Stearman wing-walker formation, sporting Breitling logos, demonstrated precision flying skills, technical brilliance and two very capable and talented sister wing-walkers. Experiencing up to 4G while strapped atop each of the upper wings, the Stearman aircraft beneath their feet would fly at up to 150 mph, simply incredible. Plane Sailing’s graceful Consolidated PBY Catalina ‘Miss Pick Up’ brought us up to the mid-afternoon interval.
The RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight opened up the final session of the afternoon with a wonderful trio comprising of the Avro Lancaster MkIII PA474 and two Spitfires, a PR MkXI and a MkLF XVIe. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster C-GVRA was also meant to form part of the team on both days, however a Packard Merlin engine replacement forced it to be grounded for the next few days. D-Day was remembered by a simulated Luftwaffe airfield attack comprising of two Hispano Buchon – Spanish built Bf109s powered by RR Merlins – on the ground awaiting to be scrambled to intercept the ‘good guys’ consisting of two NA P51D Mustangs, Ferocious Frankie and Miss Velma, and a Supermarine Spitfire T.MkIX PV202. Two Douglas C-47 Skytrains then flew in to represent the Airborne element of that most famous turning point in wartime history, the 6 th of June in 1944. A B-25 Mitchell ‘Sarinah’ in RNLAF colours and B-17 Flying Fortress ‘Sally B’ – the only flying example of its kind in Europe - came next and what an incredible display they each put on, simply wonderful. Flying in low from the South came the unmistakable shape of the incredible Tin Triangle, the Avro Vulcan XH558, and I can honestly say that the display which we were treated to has to be one of the very best ever. At one time XH558 almost completed a full barrel roll, what more could one want. I hope that this incredibly graceful and iconic V-Bomber continues to thrill its many thousands of admirers for several more years to come. A BAC Strikemaster Mk82A in Sultanate of Oman AF colours gave us a very welcome display of its capabilities and this was followed by the US Navy duo comprising of TFC’s Grumman F6F Hellcat and Goodyear Corsair. Our treat for an air show finale came from the Royal Air Force, with its frontline multi-role fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 represented by ZK343 from 29(R) Squadron.
A big thank you to the RAFA, the organisers, aircraft owners, the pilots, ground crews and everyone who made this fantastic air show possible. I look forward to attending several more RAFA air shows at Shoreham-by-Sea and would definitely recommend this annual late August event to all.
|Air show performers:
|RAF’s Grob Tutor T1 Elementary Flying trainer
|De Havilland Tiger Moth
|De Havilland DH89A Rapide and a DH90A Dragonfly
|Hawker Hunter T7
|The Blades Extra 300
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia
|Hurricane Mk I
|Breitling Boeing Stearman wing-walkers
|Consolidated PBY Catalina ‘Miss Pick Up’
|Avro Lancaster MkIII
|Spitfires Mk XI and Mk XVIe
|North American P51D Mustang
|Douglas C-47 Skytrain
|B-25 Mitchell ‘Sarinah’
|B-17 Flying Fortress ‘Sally B’
|BAC Strikemaster Mk82A in Sultanate of Oman AF colours
|Grumman F6F Hellcat
|RAF Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4
|Report and photography by Christopher Mitsud for