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RAF Cosford Air Show 2015

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There is a corner of a “foreign field” that is, forever, RAF Cosford. At least, that is how it seems, when it comes to the weather and the annual airshow.

I always arrive in early morning sunshine when all is right with the aviation world, but, I know that the sun will disappear and herald the arrival of overcast skies and showers around lunchtime. By mid afternoon the sun will have returned and RAF Cosford will be bathed in sunshine.

 
 
 

That’s fine, you may think, but, unfortunately not. For although we were enjoying the improving local weather, the Commentator continued to build a list of non-arrivals and cancellations because the rest of the country was reporting storms, wind and rain and aircraft were unable to escape from every display pilots’ dread – “socked in” syndrome!

Inevitably, then, the air displays started during the grey, overcast period which, as photographers, is our own fear and dread. In expectation of exposure difficulties I think we set a “keeper” ratio but are still surprised when it proves to be - over optimistic.

I am not an expert on digital imaging but I do know that my Nikons don’t like producing anything other than very average results when shots involve grey aeroplanes displaying in grey skies – what I want is bright light and contrast. It makes my digital cameras work so much better!

Now, anybody who has read my previous reviews will know that I am not a technophobe and I like to give you more than just a list of displaying aircraft – you can get that info from the Official Program, which despite the best efforts of the Organisers, normally ends up as a work of fiction rather than an accurate guide to the actual flying times or the listed types due to appear in the Shropshire skies.

It must be an absolute nightmare to have organised everything so well only to have the months of planning and anticipation affected by adverse weather - even the highly experienced and motivated Team at Cosford are unable to plan for that!

This year, possibly because there was no show at Waddington, Cosford was very busy. I had arrived early to take my static shots so, now, I could smile and enjoy “Uncle Bill’s” attempts to get into everyone else’s photos.

Although we had to join long queues for services and public conveniences – and, you always wonder which aircraft you are missing while you are waiting – the Organisers had obviously increased the number of facilities.

And talking of aircraft and displays, despite the “problems”, RAF Cosford, the Show Personnel and the Organisers continued with their efforts to improvise and “wing it” with additional displays including the Red Arrows flying with the BBMF Spitfires and Hurricanes – they even mysteriously produced the PBY from somewhere, despite announcing , just a few minutes before, that it would not be attending! The Meteor performed a photo shoot friendly display which would have been almost perfect had the weather been kinder.

We all witnessed the long talked about demise of the Sea King from the SAR role with its farewell bow to the crowd. The Typhoon made as much noise as usual and the Red Arrows were as immaculate as ever, despite the low cloud base.

The TSR2 had been located outside and that meant being able to photograph her in daylight for a change. The QinetiQ Hawk was also on static display along with a Sea Harrier, the DH Rapide and other iconic aircraft.

The star of the show, for me, was the Pitts Muscle. In addition to the incredible demonstration of the aircraft’s unorthodox, aerobatic capabilities, we were treated to a very cleverly contrived interview over the PA System – if it was scripted it was a great piece of comedy and, if it was ad-libbed, then it was absolutely brilliant!

This was the first time that tickets had to be purchased before the day – there were less traffic problems than in previous years, so I assume it was a sensible step forward.

The RAF Cosford Airshow has got to be on your “must go” list. It is family friendly, ideally located and has the added attraction of the RAF Museum. I am amazed that I still meet enthusiasts who have never been to Cosford. And, take the wife and kids – plenty of non-aviation attractions at the show for the whole family.

As in other years and in many earlier reviews RAF Cosford definitely gets my vote!

 

Review by Dave Briers - click HERE for Daves Showcase

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