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RAF Cosford Air Show 2022

‘The RAFs last remaining air show celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Falklands War at 40.’

On Sunday 12th June 2022, 50,000 people descended on RAF Cosford to attend the RAF’s first air show since the covid pandemic. With a fantastic line-up and an appetite for the public to return to normal it was not surprising that the show had sold out weeks in advance with tickets exchanging hands on ebay for 3 times their original value. Even a few cancellations could not diminish the excitement for a fantastic line-up of aerial displays.

Royal Air Force Cosford provides a World-Class military technical training environment. As the home of Royal Air Force Engineering, the station develops agile, adaptable, and operational focused personnel ready for service. The site is also chosen by the RAF as the perfect location to host its only air show of the year. The primary objective of this show is to enhance public understanding of the role the Royal Air Force play on Air and Space Power. This year, the show was themed around the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and as such the airfield was peppered with iconic aircraft that served with the RAF during Her Majesty’s 70-year reign. The show also played host to a few stars of the recent Jubilee flypast including the striking Puma helicopter with its crew showing off their jubilee flypast patches.

Visitors to the show can not only expect a 6-hour flying display, but also an unrivalled range of ground attractions including a large static display of aircraft nestled within a bustling showground of stalls, fairground rides and exhibitions. You could easily spend a whole day wondering around the airfield enjoying the ground exhibits. The RAF were keen to showcase all they have to offer, today the public could look around vehicles, talk to pilots & engineers and see an impressive line-up of historic RAF training aircraft from the de Haviland Tiger Moth to the Bae Systems Hawk. There was also a ‘Coronation Village’ where visitors could be transported back to the 1950’s through a series of re-enactments including aircraft and personnel in appropriate attire such as the Erk’s who portray RAF ground crew from the Second World War.

Elsewhere on the showground saw fitting tributes to the Search & Rescue services around the UK, which was taken over from the RAF in 2015 by Bristow Services. A line-up of Wessex, Whirlwind and Seaking former RAF Helicopters was completed by the Leonardo AW189 of Bristow Services. The 40th anniversary of the Falklands War was also remembered with a superb display of aircraft, vehicles, and reenactors. Up an’ at ‘Em History demonstrated the clothing and gear used by pilots and aircrew of the time with the fitting backdrop of the RAF Museums FMA IA 58 Pucará, which was captured during the conflict. The RAF’s Falklands veteran GR3 Harrier and recently acquired Boeing Chinook, Bravo November was also central to this set piece.
 

The vast collection of former cold war warriors from the RAF base combined with the RAF Museums collection provided an unrivalled collection of static aircraft. On show today were of course several impressive jets from years gone by including Tornadoes, Harriers, Hawks and Jaguars. One of the bases most famous aircraft, the Spotty Jaguar was positioned perfectly in the sunshine for the a fantastic photo opportunity.

As is now a Cosford tradition the flying display was proceeded with an Emergency services drive past of military police vehicles, fire engines and ambulances with full sirens blazing. The air show itself started with a wonderful partnering of the RAF Falcons parachute display team and the impressive Boeing Chinook. The Falcons used the Chinook as their jump platform as they delivered a brand-new show for the year which included new manoeuvres, the snake and carousel concluded with a well-coordinated synchronised landing. After the Falcons salute, the Chinook display team flew straight in and delivered a flawless performance in the surprisingly agile twin-rotor helicopter. The team from RAF Odiham demonstrated the capabilities of this highly versatile helicopter to its limits. Despite entering service in the 1980’s, ongoing upgrades should keep the Chinook in UK skies until 2040.

The early part of the flying display also included performances from the RAF Tutors including a solo display in the distinctively marked yellow tutor by Flight Lieutenant Alex Hunter. The Tutors of the Cosford Based University of Birmingham Air Squadron also conducted a three-ship flypast before the Ask21 Glider from RAF Shawbury floated in for a serene display of silent aerobatics. It’s always great to see locally based pilots getting to show off their talents and skills.

An RAF air show could not be complete without a visit from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF). Sadly, technical issues kept the mighty Avro Lancaster on the ground at RAF Coningsby today, but 2 of the fleets 6 Spitfires were able to fill in the show with a brand-new display sequence designed to always keep the Spitfires in front of the audience. The two iconic Second World War fighters conducted a handful of loops, dives, and flypasts each before finishing on the flawlessly executed Victory roll. The show also saw other World War Two aircraft in the form of Plane Sailings Consolidated Catalina and the welcome return of the Rolls Royce Heritage Flight with their newly acquired P51 Mustang.

Following on from the BBMF was the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon, this year still showing off it’s amazing ‘Black Jack’ union jack attire. Before entering it’s solo display we were treated to a few formation flypasts with the BBMF’s Spitfire. After the spitfire and typhoon break, Flight Lieutenant Adam O’Hare launched into an impressive set of manoeuvres designed to show off the Typhoons capabilities. Elsewhere in the display we were also treated to fast jet demonstrations from the French Air Force’s Rafale and the Belgian F16. Both gave breath-taking performances and presented stiff competition for the best fast jet-livery in Europe competition.

 

Thanks largely to the Historic Helicopters team based at Chard in Somerset, there is now a growing population of airworthy classic rotary aircraft on the air show circuit. We saw nostalgic displays from the Westland Wessex HU5, which fitted in nicely with the 40th anniversary of the Falklands, with this actual aircraft having been there during the conflict. Although the planned Seaking from the fleet was unserviceable the crowd were not disappointed to see the newly restored Lynx making its air display debut instead. In what proved to be a great day for helicopters, the Belgian Air Force also brought along their A109 with very striking markings to display too.

 
Cosford Air Show has something to offer for everyone, the ground attractions are very family friendly with enough to keep the aviation enthusiast excited too. The air display also follows this model and mixed in with the impressive warbirds, historic aircraft and modern jets are also crowd-pleasing aerobatics. This year Rich Goodwin gave an impressive performance in his blue modified Pitts Special which will soon have additional jet engines fitted! Meanwhile the ever-popular Red Arrows put on a great show with their reduced 7-ship display for 2022. The Show closed with some rarely seen (at air shows) RAF aircraft with fly pasts by two Texans, two Hawk T2s and a solitary F35 Lighting II which closed the days flying with an ear-splitting hover. The show will return next year on June 11th 2023 – save the date!

Review by Lee Chapman