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Abingdon Airshow 2014

 

 

The 4th of May saw the 15th Abingdon air and country show kick off the 2014 airshow display season. Now well established as the season’s opener, the show has grown into a hugely popular event. This year was to see some welcomed returns with Tony De Bruyn bringing his OV-10 Bronco (static) and the long awaited first display of Midair Squadrons Canberra PR9.

 
 
 

As per usual the show supports the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Air Ambulance which in turn flew into Abingdon in the morning. On the ground there were plenty of things to do whilst waiting for the airshow to start. On entry, there were Dalek’s from Doctor Who to welcome everyone. There was a wide array of vintage and modern cars to browse , Including the latest Williams F1 car (which unfortunately was parked a bit far away with posts placed to close to get any decent pictures). There were stalls a plenty to spend some of your pocket money on and a nice selection of WW2 vehicles.

From an aircraft point of view, Abingdon always attracts a good selection of Classic aircraft in their vintage fly-in. There was quite a collection of Piper cubs this year aswell as a nice Me108. It would be nice if we could get a little closer but with health and safety and the like, I can understand why we can’t. A big highlight in the static for me were the 2 Gazelle helicopters from the Gazelle Squadron display team. This is a new team setup for this season comprising of 6 Gazelles. More info on the team can be found at www.thegazellesquadron.com. It was also great to see the Royal Netherlands Air Force PC7 in the static .

With news that Peter Vacher’s immaculate Hurricane MK1 R4118 was stuck at home due to the runway being soft, and the Midair Squadrons Hunter T7 not being quite ready for the season yet, the show was missing 2 nice acts. For the first time, Abingdon ‘s air display was started on the ground. Running down in front of the crowd was a Russian T55 Tank. There was some confusion while communication was being established with the tank so we had no warning when the crew loosed off 2 blank rounds. What a wake up!! With news from Brize that a Hercules was on the way, the tank cleared to start the air display.

Opening the show this year was a single pass by an RAF C130J Hercules, Flown in from nearby Brize Norton. This was followed by BBMF’s Spitfire LFIXe MK356, which looked stunning against the blue sky. Rod Dean Took to the air in his Bulldog T1 with a spirited display showing the capabilities of the ex RAF trainer very well. Peter Teichman arrived shortly after with an absolute stonker of a display in his Spitfire MKXI, possibly one of the best display’s I’ve seen him do in his Spit.

Aerobatics were catered for by the TRIG Pitts duo team. Some nice pairs formation flying and energetic crossovers by Richard Grace and Dave Puleston. I love the Awesome Pitts Special too!! The RAF Tucano display was next wearing poppies on the nose and underside as its scheme this year. The Pilot for this season is Flt Lt Dave Kirby. 2 earlier generation RAF trainers were supposed to fly as a pair following the Tucano, but due to the T.3 having a technical issue, the T.5 arrived first and gave a nice, flowing display. Not to be outdone, the T.3 display was equally as good.

A late addition to the flying programme and replacement for the Lynx that had unfortunately cancelled, was Peter Holloway’s gorgeous Fieseler Storch. This aircraft is absolutely stunning and I was really glad to hear it would be displaying. The flying was awesome. Peter showed off the slow flying capabilities perfectly. We were also treated to a couple of very short take-off and landings too!! For me the definite star of the day.

With displays from Mark Miller in his beautiful Dragon Rapide, the Breitling wing walkers and parachutist’s dropping from a Shorts Skyvan, the air display was heading towards the end of the day. John Beattie flew an immaculate show in a T6 Texan from North Weald. It was really good to see this particular T6 finally flying a display. With John making a quick landing to pick up a passenger and departing off home, the RAF Merlin from Benson made its escape too, We got 2 nice passes from the guys who always do their best to support the show.

So to the final display act. Mid Air Squadrons Canberra PR9 finally got airborne again last July. With paperwork sorted, she was down to fly at Duxford’s Autumn airshow last year but weather meant she didn’t make it. I think it was a great idea by Neil Porter and the Abingdon Team to book her for the opening show of the season. She may not have the wow factor of the Vulcan for Joe public, but for us enthusiasts…well, I think she brought a few extra to Abingdon this year. She didn’t disappoint either. What an excellent display flown by Dave Piper. He gave us photographers some brilliant passes and the PR9 looked awesome in her Silver markings. A few ’dirty passes’ gave you a real good look at the underside workings of the Canberra and the final pass….a fast pass, was absolutely sublime. Give me Dave Piper in the Canberra over the Vulcan any day!! I said earlier the Peter Holloway in the Storch was my star because I just love piton engine aircraft. For many, I think the Canberra took the honours. As an added bonus, I hung around at the end to catch Tony De Bruyn, Departing in his OV-10 Bronco. He gave us a pass before flying off home.

So all that’s left to say is a big thank you again to Neil Porter and the Abingdon air and country team. I look forward to next year’s show as always. One thing though, Can we please get a full display from De Bruyn in the Bronco!!!

 

Review by Neil Darby

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