Archive for March, 2012

Win a Day with The Red Arrows

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

The Airscene 2013 Airshow Calendar Competition has just got even better with the chance for the overall winner to spend a day with a friend at the home of The Red Arrows. Airscene is delighted to have secured this amazing prize, for which the waiting list is currently between 2 and 3 years.

To see what a day with The Reds would involve, see Dave Briers February report when Airscene was invited to pop along and spend the day….

In addition the Red Arrows are offering 2 limited edition signed prints as Runners Up prizes – which will be detailed once we know more.

The Airscene 2013 Calendar Competition is now open for early entries (e.g. those taken during the 2011 airshow season). For rules, full prize table and to enter please visit

Good Luck.

Bookmark and Share


Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Two of the world’s most potent fast jets are among a stellar line-up of RAF aircraft joining celebrations marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

As well as displays by the RAF’s frontline fighting force, the Typhoon and the Tornado, visitors to the Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 7-8 will be able to see a range of training aircraft including the Tutor, Tucano and King Air as well as historic RAF warbirds such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster.

Also taking part will be the legendary RAF Red Arrows, originally formed at RAF Fairford in 1965 who will be performing with seven rather than the usual nine Hawk jets in 2012.

There will be another special homecoming for the RAF’s solo Hawk display pilot Flt Lt Phil Bird who will be performing in his home town of Fairford. He said: “Becoming a fast jet pilot in the RAF was a life-long dream and the idea of displaying in front of the crowds at my home airshow is something I am incredibly excited about.”

It is also likely that the A400M, the new heavy transport aircraft that will supercede the C-130 Hercules in RAF service, will be put through its paces by its Airbus Military test pilot at the airshow.

Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said the level of RAF participation reflected the important role the Air Tattoo plays in enabling the Service to demonstrate to the public the capability of its aircraft and the professionalism of its men and women. He added: “We’re really looking forward to working with the Royal Air Force to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with an exciting aerial tribute that will live long in the memory.”

Other Air Tattoo highlights this year include displays by the Vulcan bomber, a US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey and the European debut of the Al Fursan aerobatics display team from the United Arab Emirates. Special Air Tattoo ‘Earlybird’ tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

Bookmark and Share

Harrier GR9 arrives at IWM Duxford

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Recently, BAE Systems Harrier GR9 ZD461 was transported from RAF Cottesmore to IWM Duxford, where it will undergo conservation work and a rebuild.

The acquisition of a second-generation Harrier with Afghanistan theatre history is hugely important to Imperial War Museums and enables us to communicate and interpret significant aspects of contemporary conflict. No other aircraft in the current IWM collection has Afghanistan service history so Harrier ZD461 presents an important addition to the IWM collection which develops our interpretation of modern warfare.

Harrier GR9 ZD461 was originally built as a GR5 model and was upgraded to a GR7 in 1992. In 1999, the aircraft served with No.4 Army Co-operation (AC) Squadron and moved with the squadron from Germany to RAF Cottesmore in Rutland, Great Britain.

During February and March 2003, the aircraft was deployed with No.4 AC Squadron to Operation Telic in Iraq. In August 2004, No.4 AC Squadron was deployed to Operation Herrick, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, followed by deployment to HMS Invincible in 2005. By May 2006, No.4 AC Squadron was once again serving in Afghanistan. This was followed by a tour of duty at Luqa, Malta before returning to RAF Cottesmore in August 2007. From there the aircraft was transferred to RAF Lossiemouth in September 2007 before being upgraded to a GR9 under the Joint Maintenance and Upgrade programme in 2008.

In January 2010, Harrier ZD461 was grounded at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, having suffered CAT.3 damage from brake fire during exercise Red Flag 2010-2. In March 2010, it was returned to RAF Cottesmore for repairs, where it remained following the withdrawal of the Harrier fleet from RAF service in December 2010.

IWM London is about to undertake a large-scale redevelopment, creating brand new First World War galleries as part of our plans to mark the First World War Centenary in 2014 as well as a transformed central atrium space. It is hoped that the Harrier GR9 will be able to be included in the reconfigured atrium, which will re-interpret and redisplay our iconic large objects, but we are still in the process of finalising our exhibits for this space.

Bookmark and Share

IWM Duxford shows newly conserved aircraft for the first time

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

IWM Duxford’s newly-conserved de Havilland Vampire WZ590 was presented to the media this Tuesday 13 March. Also part of a large gathered audience were members of Friends of Duxford and Duxford Aviation Society.

Steve Woolford, Head of Interpretation and Collections, made a welcoming speech, thanking IWM Duxford staff and volunteers for their dedication and commitment to the conservation of the aircraft, which has taken four years to complete.

Conservation team staff and volunteers were in attendance for photographs, including Dr Rohan Nelson, who travelled all the way from Canberra in Australia to assist with the conservation of the Vampire and who was in attendance at the aircraft presentation.

The aircraft was then rolled out of the Conservation Hall in AirSpace and onto the airfield jet pan for further photographs.

The Vampire will be transferred to the Battle of Britain exhibition this week, where it will go on permanent display to the public.

Chris Knapp, Conservation Manager, said “This is another successful project completed to our high conservation standards. It demonstrates the dedication of our staff and volunteers and helps us to uphold our reputation for excellence. We are particularly proud of the Vampire as it has involved more detailed conservation than we are usually able to undertake. Many components within the aircraft are still in the original paint and condition that they were during the aircraft’s time in service.”

Basil Gowring, who flew Vampires during the 1950s, recently reminisced on his experiences, “I flew a lot from Duxford, having joined 65 Squadron in December 1953, flying Meteors from there until mid 1956. I was posted away, to 233 Operational Conversion Unit at Pembrey, as a staff instructor and it was there where I flew most of my Vampire time – mostly in the single-seat Marks 5 and 9, and also the two-seat trainer version, the T11 – initially without ejector seats but later with the ejector seat equipped version. I did keep flying the T11s on subsequent tours, usually on gunnery instruction or occasionally when conducting instrument rating tests on other pilots. I returned to No 65 Squadron at Duxford for a further tour of flying, this time in the Hunter Mark 6 version. My subsequent fighter tours were all on various versions of the Hunter.

Returning to the Vampire, I always found her to be a pleasure to fly, both in the twin- and single-seat versions. When taxying on the ground, one sat much closer to the tarmac than in , for example, the Meteor or Hunter and , when landing, one had to “get right in” to the observed runway to avoid an over-high round out. Considering the limited power of the single-engined Vampire, compared with the twin -engined Meteor or more potent Hunter, the “Vamp” nonetheless leapt off the ground with fair alacrity and showed a reasonable rate of climb. We used to do formation training at 30,000 feet and above and, provided you kept the engine power up, the Vampire proved pleasant to fly. It had a good rate of turn, at high and lower levels, provided one kept plenty of power on. When doing simulated combat training some good hassles with the simulated enemy could be had – provided again that you retained plenty of power on. Needless to say, continued use of higher power settings had an effect on the fuel state, particularly at the lower levels, so sometimes training sorties were relatively brief!

The Vampire was a good gunnery platform, when firing at a towed banner target over a firing range. The aircraft’s general agility allowed you to safely get into the optimum range from the target to get good results. For air to ground firing, similarly the aircraft could be flown into an optimum firing position before the need to pull out, to clear the ground and avoid loose shrapnel from one’s own firing!

Although my experience on the Vampire was much less than on my “main” aircraft – the Meteor, Hunter, and Vulcan bomber, I still look back to those pleasurable days flying the mighty Vampire.”

Bookmark and Share

Key Publishing Sponsor 7th Annual Calendar Competition

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Airscene Calendar Competition is now in its 7th year in the current format and Key Publishing Ltd  are the first of  the prospective sponsors to confirm their continued support for the competition.

As with last year Key have committed to vouchers totally £300 to be spread across the first 3 prize positions as follows:

1st prize – £150 vouchers (to include p&p)

2nd prize – £100 vouchers (to include p&p)

3rd prize – £50 vouchers (to include p&p)

The Airscene 2013 Airshow Calendar competition can be found at

Key Publishing’s portfolio include both trade and consumer magazines, books and DVS’s covering many and varied aviation interests from historic biplanes to the latest military marvels, and flight sims to baggage truck technology. Please visit and visit their online shop.

Bookmark and Share

Gigantic Delivery for RAF Museum Cosford

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The RAF Museum today took delivery of a Nimrod fuselage, which arrived in style on a low loader lorry. The fuselage of Nimrod R.1 XV249 was escorted from Kemble, Gloucestershire with the load measuring some 38 metres in length.

The wings and some remaining components of the aircraft will be delivered in the near future and the Nimrod will then be re-assembled on site, before going on static display at the museum later on this year.

RAF Museum Curator, Al McLean says:

“It was amazing to see such a large aircraft transported by road to Cosford and we are pleased to be receiving a Nimrod aircraft into the RAF Museum collection. The aircraft has flown over 11,000 hours during its service with the RAF and we anticipate it being very popular with our visitors. The Nimrod will be re-assembled on site and will go on display later this year.”

Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R.1 XV249 was one of 46 aircraft used by the RAF for maritime reconnaissance and signals intelligence work, and was in service for nearly 40 years. It has a wing span of 35 metres and could reach speeds of up to 416mph. It was withdrawn from service in 2011.

The Nimrod is the latest addition to the aircraft collection along with a Hercules C-130K and Harrier GR.9A. The Museum is open from 10am – 6pm (last admission 5pm). For further information, please call the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit the Museum website at

Bookmark and Share

Rare Osprey to Swoop at Air Tattoo

Monday, March 12th, 2012

A unique-looking aircraft that is both a helicopter and an aeroplane will make a very rare appearance in the UK when it takes part in the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford this summer.

Having stolen the show at the Air Tattoo 2006 where it marked its UK flying display debut, the US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey – the world’s first tilt-rotor aircraft – will be making a welcome return to Fairford on July 7-8.

A cross between a helicopter and a fixed-wing aeroplane, the Osprey’s rotor blades can tilt mid-air enabling it to take off vertically and then reconfigure to fly like an aeroplane. Not only does this allow it to reach speeds twice as fast as a helicopter but it also enables it to carry heavier payloads and fly at higher altitudes.

In 2007, the aircraft was deployed operationally for the first time, supporting routine cargo and troop movements in Iraq. Two years later, the aircraft performed its first offensive combat mission, Operation Cobra’s Anger, transporting US Marines and Afghan troops into Helmand Province to disrupt the Taliban’s communications and supply lines. In 2010, Ospreys performed their first humanitarian mission, operating in Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response following an earthquake in the country.

The US Marine Corps plans to send two MV-22Bs, one for the flying display and the other for the static park.

An Air Tattoo spokesman said few other modern aircraft have been so revolutionary in terms of their design and operational capability. He added: “In musical terms, adding the Osprey to the flying display is a bit like Glastonbury adding Jay-Z to the bill – it’s sassy, has lots of good moves and looks downright cool.”

This year’s Air Tattoo will see organisers join with the RAF to stage special aerial tributes celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Special Air Tattoo ‘Earlybird’ tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

Bookmark and Share

Announcing Flying Legends 2012

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

The Fighter Collection and IWM Duxford are delighted to announce Flying Legends 2012 with the release of a thrilling clip of a trailer which will whet your appetite for this year’s extravaganza event. See the clip at

This year, Flying Legends will be held on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July.

A knowledgeable worldwide following has ensured that Flying Legends is the air show event in the aviation calendar.

Each of the historic aircraft on display at Flying Legends is a living tribute to the outstanding skills of the people who designed, built,maintained and flew themand to the dedication of those who have restored these stunning aircraft back to life.

Flying Legends presents these iconic aircraft in a spectacular display that honours their history and aerial achievements.

The flying display promises an unmissable fusion of power, sound, excitement and nostalgia as a series of rare and unique piston-engined propeller aircraft performtheir breathtaking flights over the historic airfield at IWM Duxford.

On the ground, there will be a whole section devoted to vintage nostalgia with a fabulous forties wartime atmosphere. There will be livemusic, including a welcome return by The Manhattan Dolls, who will be bringing their Andrews Sisters-style show direct fromNew York. The Manhattan Dolls were hugely popular at Flying Legends 2011, performing those instantly-recognisable songs of the 1930s and 1940s.

The whole museum will be open to explore throughout the day, with eight fantastic exhibition spaces and over 200 aircraft to see. Our award-winning exhibitions take you on an unforgettable journey through aviation from the earliest flights to present-day jets – all part of a rich and unique collection.

For just a hint of what to expect at Flying Legends 2012, watch the filmclip at

Buy your tickets in advance and save 10%. Hurry, the offer ends at 5pm on Friday 15 June for overseas postal delivery and at 5pm on Wednesday 20 June for UK postal delivery.

VIP Hospitality

Go For Gold at Flying Legends

Enjoy a very special Flying Legends experience with our Gold Pass, offering admission to Flying Legends with priority car parking, access to a luxury hospitalitymarquee with cash bar, café-style seating and a private garden enclosure. Gold Pass also offers access to the thrilling flight line walk, giving closer access to those wonderful historic aircraft, and a complimentary souvenir programme.

A pre-bookable two course lunch is also available as part of Gold Pass.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Box Office on 01223 499353. The Box Office is open Monday to Friday from9.30amto 4.30pm.

The Flying Legends Bremont Flight Lounge

Experience Flying Legends fromthe VIP Bremont Flight Lounge hospitality suite.

The Flight Lounge offers priority parking, private luxurymarquee and garden located on the flight line, morning coffee and biscuits, garden access to the flight line walk (9amto noon only), champagne reception with canapés, gourmet buffet lunch served with red and white wine, Flying Legends souvenir programme, luxury toilets within the private enclosure, luxury indoor seating area with television viewing , daily newspapers and magazines, event hostess and bar table service, finishing with a traditional English afternoon creamtea.

To discuss your Bremont Flight Lounge individual requirements please contact Jane Larcombe at The Fighter Collection on 01223 834973 or

All flying is subject to weather, serviceability and operational commitments.

Bookmark and Share