‘The noise and vibrations were felt by all as the
multi-role jet was put through its paces’
As seven Red BAE Systems Hawks conduct
their final manoeuvre, the ‘Vixen Break’ the crowds applauded,
left breathless after an incredible full display by the RAF’s
official display team at the RAF’s only official air show. A few
eager members of the 60,000 strong contingent noticed the
synchro-pair returning for an encore, before they draw a giant
‘100’ in the sky underlined by a final flypast from the rest of
the World famous Red Arrows. Leaving everyone present in no doubt;
Sunday 10th June 2018, RAF Cosford was the place to be.
Prior to the annual event, the 2018 Cosford
Air Show had been billed as ‘the most spectacular and interactive
air show tribute to the Royal Air Force’s centenary’. The show did
not disappoint. On the ground were a plethora of stalls, exhibits
and activities, most notably an unrivalled collection of over 100
static aircraft. Each of which had been selected due to its
significant link with the Royal Air Force. Meticulous planning had
gone in to ensure that none of the RAF’s 100 years had been
forgotten in this unique celebration. The static aircraft on
display had been flown in or transported by road from all corners
of the UK.
RAF Cosford is still home to the No.1 School of
Technical Training, the Aerosystems Engineering & Management
Training School and the No. 1 Radio School. But today a walk
across the airfield was like a walk through time. At the far end
visitors could see the early airplanes such as the Royal Aircraft
Factory’s BE2 which were in service when Hugh Trenchard formed the
Royal Air Force in 1918. A little further down the site the silver
biplanes of the 1930’s were represented by the Hawker Nimrod and
The 2nd World War was far from forgotten with Hurricanes,
Spitfire’s and the World’s only surviving Boulton Paul Defiant
which had been wheeled out from the neighbouring RAF museum for a
rare day out in the sun. The static exhibits were also brought to
life with carefully placed reenactors who helped pay tribute to
significant RAF moments such as the Berlin airlift (with a little
help from a Douglas Dakota).
One of the highlights of the static show was undoubtedly the vast
collection of historic jets including an Operation Granby tribute
in the form of Buccaneer, Tornado and Jaguar wearing desert pink.
Unsurprisingly, the famous ‘Black Mike’ McDonnell-Douglas Phantom
attracted a lot of attention. Parking the record breaking Phantom
next to The English Electric Lightning, Gloster Meteor, Hawker
Hunter and Parnavia Tornado was an aviation photographers dream.
Sadly, this was a one-day only event, leaving limited time to
enjoy all that was on offer. The incredible static park was more
than matched by a stellar line-up in the air.
The RAF Falcons kicked off the display as
is tradition at Cosford. The Royal Air Force Parachute Display
Team were able to perform a full height jump out of their Dornier
228 into the glorious blue Shropshire sky. The RAF100 flag was
proudly flown ahead of the famous Falcons Stack. Another
well-thought out plan by the organizers saw a predominantly
chronological theme to the days flying. The Great War Team sent
their Avro 504, SE5A and BE2C to kick off the historic section.
The RAF has always been keen to acknowledge support from
other Nations throughout its history so todays RAF100 flying
display was punctuated with fast jet displays from Belgian, France
and Poland. The later sending a Mig-29 Fulcrum, briefly forming up
with a Hawker Hurricane as a poignant tribute to the Polish
air-men who fought for the RAF during the Battle of Britain.
The rotary section of the RAF was not
neglected; there were displays from the Flying Bulls Bolkow BO-105
and Bristol Sycamore, which attracted considerable attention on
its UK post-restoration debut. The Gazelle Squadron display team
reminding us of the types manoeuvrability and the much loved
Whirlwind put in a nostalgic tribute to the Search & Rescue
element of the RAF.
Other flying display highlights
included the awesome Battle of Britain Memorial Flight who today
paid their own tribute to the RAF’s founder in their ‘Trenchard’
formation of Lancaster, Dakota, Hurricane and Spitfire, catching
all by surprise with a crow-rear entrance to start a dynamic,
crowd-pleasing display. The Royal New Zealand Air Force also made
the considerable trip to take part in today’s flying with the
surprisingly agile Boeing 757.
The perfect weather conditions allowed the
Red Arrows to let-rip with a full aerobatic display, marking the
beginning of the final segment of the flying display where the
Shropshire crowd would see the Modern Royal Air Force in all its
glory. The new Juno and Jupiter helicopters conducted a few
flypasts heralding the beginning of the next 100 years. Not to be
outdone, Flt Lt Stu Kynaston reminded us that the aging Chinook
still has life in it with a gravity defying display. The RAF’s
flight training was well-represented by the Tutor, Prefect Tucano
and Hawk T2.
After flypasts from the soon to be
retired Tornado GR4 and mighty Atlas A400M it was left to
Flight Lieutenant Jim Peterson and his Eurofighter Typhoon to
close the show with an incredible display of the UK’s
airpower. The noise and vibrations were felt by all as the
multi-role jet was put through its paces. A fitting end to an
incredible day, this truly was the most spectacular tribute to
the Royal Air Forces Centenary.
RAF Cosford Air Show
will return on Sunday 9th June 2019, be sure to put this date
in your diary.
Chapman and Ken Brannen