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Sywell Aero Expo 2012



Summer, this year, was on 27th May!

For those of us enjoying the wettest June for years, I can confirm that, summer this year, occurred on Friday the 27th May!

With sweltering temperatures and in very bright sunshine, I made my way to Sywell, in Northamptonshire, to the annual Aero Expo. For those who have never been to Sywell Aerodrome, home of The Blades aerobatic team, it is an ex Wellington Bomber base with 1930’s period buildings including an Art Deco style terminal designed to represent the outline of a vintage aeroplane. On a normal summers day, a cold beer on the verandah is an absolute must for any aviaition enthusiast as 1930’s biplanes and visiting aircraft taxi past only a few yards away.


The annual Aero Expo was badly affected by the weather in 2011 but there were no weather problems this year. No need for waterproof clothing and protective camera covers – just plenty of Factor 15 sunscreen and some form of head covering to offer protection from the sun as it beat down from a cloudless blue sky.

Last year, many fly-in visitors failed to make it because of the weather. This year, there was a continuous stream of aircraft landing and making their way to a densely populated aircraft parking area.

The Sywell Aero Expo is for the light aviation crowd and is one of the premier annual events for aircraft owners and pilots alike, so aircraft types are almost strictly limited to those used for weekend flyers and executive aviation.

The exceptions included the Avro Anson and a rebuilt vintage aircraft restored by the son of its original local owner. The Trig Spits duo were also in attendance but, unfortunately, I had another engagement in the afternoon so I was unable to watch their display scheduled for later in the day.

If you are a light aircraft enthusiast, then, going to this Expo could cost you some serious money. The stands and retail tables offer everything from maps to DVD’s and from clothing to navigation systems and instruments. If the fancy takes you, of course, you can step back out into the sunshine and place an order for a new flying machine from the many companies competing for business. Or, keep your money in your wallet, browse and marvel at the fantastic range of accessories not available to the private pilot.


Business in the light aviation sector would seem to be flourishing although it is always difficult to separate the browsers and enthusiasts from the serious potential purchasers. I am sure that over the weekend, some very lucrative deals were struck and some very lucky people were already contemplating taking ownership of their purchases.

Facilities were excellent. With food and beverage stalls alongside other attractions, the Aero Expo would make a good day out for kids and families and would serve as an ideal introduction to aviation for young aspiring pilots of the future.

I must admit, I am a military aviation man so light aircraft do little to raise my testosterone levels or my blood pressure, but for the pilot or owner who has deep pockets, this must be the Expo to attend.

Air displays tend to be afternoon or early evening events so bear that it mind. The event does get busy at times but the wide aisles and layout allows easy access amongst the exhibits. Taking photos without the inclusion of visitors is best done immediately after the gates open. Once the crowd grows, there is always that “intruder” in your viewfinder!

Of course, you can visit Sywell outside the Expo dates. There is a recently refurbished museum and the big plus is that The Blades normally take to the skies 3 or 4 times a day for a full display routine practice. You can confirm days and times by visiting the Sywell Aerodrome website for full details and timetables.

Review by Dave Briers - click HERE for Daves Showcase

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