Dawlish Airshow has moved dates the last couple of years, but
is now back in its usual August month. The air day was on the
Saturday 24th August with a supporting day on the Friday 23rd
with many different attractions and activities to suit all,
from Fair rides to Birds of prey. The airshow was celebrating
its’ 10th birthday, from its very humble beginnings to
what is now one of the best free seaside town airshows anywhere
with such a dramatic backdrop.
is a small seaside town on the South Devon coast just south
of Exeter, with an estuary one side and rolling red sand stone
hills on the other, this year it saw it numbers increase from
20,000 on a normal holiday day to over 80,000 for the air day,
with the local car parks full by 9.30 and the local streets
getting busier by the minute, there was plenty of free car parking
towards Dawlish Warren laid on by the Airshow team. There was
a real buzz about the town all day with the locals and tourists
looking forward to the day.
Lawn area saw a Spitfire parked up, which caused a few heads
to turn, at Dawlish Warren just after 10 am on Friday saw the
first arrival of the weekend with the army Apache arriving in
what can only be described as a sand storm, where the ground
was so dry after a very good summer.
is one of only a handful of Airshows where you can watch the
aircraft from above them, it really does give a totally different
view of the show. Being in a valley, the view from either end
or from the middle of the line is different.
10.30 Helicopters started to arrive at the “Smugglers”
Field first was the Royal Navy Rescue Sea King, this was then
used to give local Air cadets and Sea Cadets an Experience flight
in the Sea King, This was followed by Red 10’s Squirrel
helicopter and last in was the Army Lynx.
weather forecast was good for all day with high level cloud
causing no disruption to the days flying programme. There was,
however, a stiff breeze from the North. Saturday’s show
started off with the arrival of the Red Arrows who performed
their full display show to everyone’s delight and satisfaction.
regular visitors to the Dawlish Airshow (being at the seaside)
both the RAF and RNAS flew Sea kings to demonstrate the working
relationship with the RNLI, by rescuing a person taking them
onboard the Sea King and then back to the Rescue Boat. A great
display for any one who has not seen it before.
new visitor this year was the Gloster Meteor, from the Classic
Air Force, which is now based at the Cornish airport of Newquay.
This meteor was the 20 year project and became the worlds oldest
flyable British Jet aircraft. With some lovely flying showing
off the beauty of such a lovely aircraft everyone was pleased
to see her fly here.
sight of two Breitling wing walkers over “Red Rock”
was a lovely sight, and being where I was you were at the same
height as them as they flew past on their many flypasts showing
not just the skill of the pilots but also that of the two ladies
“walking the wings” including showing how they can
perform hand stands while the aircraft were performing their
had seen earlier the Red Arrows, visitors and spectators were
now able to see the training aircraft that pilots in the RAF
and Royal Navy use to get their fast jet training completed,
the Tucano from 72 Squadron Linton on Ouse. It is used prior
to training on the Hawk T1 aircraft at RAF Valley.
a short interlude, we were pounded into an audible crescendo
that can only mean one thing:- The Typhoon has arrived, it has
been a few years since the Typhoon has displayed at Dawlish
but it was worth the wait, with the roar of the reheats echoing
around the bay it was an astonishing show that was put on and
was enjoyed by nearly everyone, the local gull population were
most put out but all the spectators enjoyed the display. With
the Typhoon climbing into brilliant blue skies and then just
holding the aircraft just above stall speed along the crowd
line was great to see.
vulcan was last seen in Dawlish at the 2009 Airshow where she
flew with the Red Arrows, now she was here on her own, the cliffs
echoed to the sound of the engines roaring as she done her routine
so gracefully against the blue sea and sky backdrop. From going
around the back of the Town and then starting the display from
the Teignmouth end of the Crowd line she was majestic just showing
everyone how such a giant of an aircraft can behave like a small
jet with a gentle cruise prior to hitting the reheat button
and roaring into the sky just to remind us all that she has
4 jet engines that are capable of so much.
bad weather affecting the East of the Country on the display
day, only one of the RV8Tors was able to display and show what
is capable by such a small aircraft. With all the loops and
turns being shown the crowds were enjoying the single aircraft
airshow would be complete without the Battle of Britain Memorial
Flight, and we were not to be disappointed the Lancaster and
a Hurricane came in on cue for their display routine. With the
red cliffs in the distance showing off the Lancaster, one could
have been taken back in time with her banking over the bay towards
Exmouth and just showing how majestic she really is. As becomes
such an event everyone had a lump in their throats as the Lancaster
done her routines so gracefully, and to think there is only
8 years between the Lancaster and the Vulcan it just shows how
good British aviation engineering was. This was to be the finale
of the airshow, but after the BBMF had cleared the airspace
the noise of two RV8’s could be heard.
both pilots and aircraft now in the display airspace the crowds
were surprised by the late arrival of the second RV8 but were
pleased when they were then given the full display which really
showed off the ability of such a small plane to the crowds.
is not everyday that you get two displays for the price of one
and it shows how much the teams love to show at Dawlish with
such a lovely backdrop to such a great day.
Wills and his team of hardy volunteers deserve a big pat on
the back for this years’ event and I, for one, cannot
wait to see what they plan for next year, all paid for by donations
and fund raising by the small team that is Dawlish Airshow.
by Ian Birdsey