Posts Tagged ‘March’

Brooklands Museum Shortlisted for Museums + Heritage Award

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Brooklands Museum

Brooklands Museum in Surrey, operated by an independent charitable trust, joins some of the world’s best known institutions after it was announced yesterday they have been shortlisted for their ambitious Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed project for an annual award. The Museums + Heritage Awards are held as an extension to the annual Museums + Heritage Show which this year is on 16th & 17th May at Olympia in London. It recognises projects of excellence, innovation and ground-breaking initiatives from galleries and visitor attractions across the UK and overseas.

These range from remarkable achievements of national institutions to projects crafted with limited resources and those championing their staff and volunteers who work hard to deliver inspiring visitor experiences. The Permanent Exhibition category, for which Brooklands has qualified, also includes National Army Museum, Ashmolean Museum, London’s Natural History Museum and part of the Science Museum Group, ‘Wonderlab’ amongst its shortlistees. Other categories include Volunteer of the Year, Educational Initiative, Marketing Campaign and Project on a Limited Budget.

The six-year project at Brooklands required extensive planning and fundraising which involved dismantling and restoring a Grade 2 Listed WWII Bellman Hangar, relocating it and reinterpreting it inside as an aircraft factory, restoring and re-profiling the section of original 1907 Race Track where the Hangar once stood and constructing a new purpose-built Flight Shed with archives and storage. The Aircraft Factory opened to the public in November 2017.

The experience is immersive: as soon as visitors enter through the doors of the Factory, they hear the sounds and drink in the authentic atmosphere of a busy factory. They pick up a “clocking in” card, don an overall and try for themselves the skills involved in aircraft manufacture on interactives at several workstations. In the Tinsmiths Shop, for example, they can roll, bend and rivet blanks of metal to make a small aeroplane to take home or see how wing shapes respond in a wind tunnel. Aircraft and their major components are displayed on “assembly lines” running through the factory.

Looking out over the factory floor is a new mezzanine level that tells the story of aircraft design at Brooklands, where visitors explore the challenges and compromises of designing new and future aircraft. From the mezzanine, a walkway leads into the Flight Shed, which houses some of the Museum’s live aircraft as well as radar and radio equipment and a permanent exhibition on pioneering pilots. Visitors can sit in the cockpit of a Harrier, open locker doors and discover the stories of real workers and pilots at the site and find out about the many aviation firsts and records set at Brooklands. Underneath, workshops for training in aviation preservation skills welcome students and other Museum professionals as part of an ongoing learning programme.

The whole experience is enhanced and brought to life by volunteer stewards and demonstrators, some of them former employees of the Brooklands factories (which employed 14,000 people from surrounding towns and villages at their peak). The volunteers share their own reminiscences making every visit unique and which is a highlight for most visitors.

The Awards are judged by a panel of the sector’s leaders and the winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday May 16th in London.

A Legendary Warbird, An aerobatic icon, a scale model and Norfolk’s Best Ice Cream

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Extra Duo by G Force Aerobatics

A P-51 Mustang fighter from WWII will once again grace the skies over Old Buckenham this summer and it’ll be joined by the most innovative modern display act; where a carbon fibre aircraft is chased around the sky by a 41% scale model. Both display acts will appear twice over the weekend of the 28 & 29 July 2018 at the Old Buckenham Airshow.

WWII icons are no stranger to Old Buckenham; adding to an enviable list which already includes a Flying Fortress, the most famous Spitfire in existence and a Douglas DC3, the weekend will also feature the P-51 Mustang, arguably the only fighter aircraft to be held in the same regard as the Spitfire. The P-51 which will display on both Airshow days is called ‘the Shark’ due to the highly distinctive shark’s mouth design on the nose of the aircraft, part of an extremely rare RAF marking scheme.

Contemporary aviation is also well represented thanks to the return, by overwhelming demand, of Chris Burkett and Mike Williams. Chris, an aerobatic master, will fly his cutting edge carbon fibre Extra aircraft through one of the most demanding sequences of aerobatic manoeuvres imaginable. This alone is a remarkable sight, made all the more extraordinary by the fact that he’ll be chased around the sky by Mike piloting a 41% remote controlled scale model of the ‘real’ aircraft. Voted as the ‘Airshow moment of the year’ when first performed, both days will see the duo complete a truly unmissable airborne feat, guaranteed to be the talk of the Airshow crowd once again.

In another first, the Airshow will allow a few lucky budding aviators to start their flying career; aboard another WWII icon. We’ll be joined by a T6 Texan, known better in the UK as the Harvard; a WWII fighter trainer. Those lucky enough to climb aboard will not be going for a ride; they’ll actually be taking part in a first flyingn lesson, where they’ll take control of the iconic aircraft, all under the steady hand and guidance of a highly experienced warbird pilot and instructor.

Finally, the Airshow is improving its family friendly credentials even more. In 2015 we successfully took on the Ice Cream Van Cartel by offering quality Ice Cream at a wallet friendly price. This has proved a huge success over the last two years and we’re delighted to announce that we’re working with Dann’s Ice Cream to offer the very best quality ice cream, all made on their Norfolk farm using milk from a pedigree herd. Despite offering a truly luxury ice cream; the prices will still remain as affordable as ever and maintain our victory over rip-off prices.

Matt Wilkins – Airshow Event Organiser “ We’re rapidly running out of WWII icons to display at this year’s Airshow. The addition of P51 Mustang ensures that we’ve got the two most inspirational fighters of the war joining the legendary Sally B, B17 Flying Fortress and a DC3; a lineup beyond the wildest dreams of most Airshows. The Extra and the Model’s return ensures that everyone can be astonished and find out that the hype is well and truly justified. Add to that our new found ability to offer Norfolk’s best Ice Cream courtesy of Dann’s and this is shaping up to be the best Airshow yet”

100th Anniversary of RAF Open Cockpits Day

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Newark Air Museum Cockpit Fest

Sunday 1st April 2018, at Newark Air Museum

On Sunday 1st April 2018 the Newark Air Museum is organising an event to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

In addition to giving visitors the opportunity to view the cockpits and interiors of many of the museum’s collection of RAF aircraft, cockpits and CIMs; the event will also feature a host of visiting displays. The event will be open to the public from10am until 5pm (last admission at 4pm.

The cockpits and aircraft may not be open at all times during the day and access will depend on the availability of the museum’s team of volunteer cockpit openers. A small additional donation will be requested for access into the aircraft and cockpits.

As of 15.03.18 the supporting / visiting displays include:

Museum model aircraft display in Hangar 1
Mainly Military Models display in Hangar 2
RAF Recruiting posters display from the Museum Archive
RAF Balderton Memorial Group
WAAF 1940s display
Air Sea Rescue & Marine Craft Club, displays of marine craft models & storyboards
Canberra PR7 test cockpit
Phantom cockpit XV490 – with David Gledhill
Wingless Wonders cockpit display – Buccaneer XZ431; P1127 XV280 & 2 LWB Land Rovers
HS125 cockpit G-AVAI
Airfield Research Group

The event is open to everyone and normal museum admission rates will apply:
Adults £9.00; Over 65’s £8.00; Children £4.50; and Family ticket [2 adults & 3 children] £24.00.

{A small additional fee / donation will be applicable when going inside the museum aircraft – this will go towards funding the restoration & refurbishment of our aircraft.}

Please telephone 01636 707170 if you require any further information; regular updates will also appear on the Events Page of the museum website at

Shooting STAARs: Aerospace STEM summer camp launches for young adults

Friday, March 16th, 2018

STAAR Drone Activity

Northrop Grumman and Royal Air Force Museum are joining forces to deliver the Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme, a unique summer camp for young adults aged 14-15 years. The STAAR programme, being delivered also in association with RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy, will be rolled out in July 2018 with two residential weeks planned for up to 40 students.

The programme will be held jointly at RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum Cosford on 16-20 and 23-27July, with 20 recruits taking part each week. This fully-funded residential week has five busy days packed with hands-on activities as well as social activities each evening.

What better way to experience the power of aerospace engineering than by discovering first-hand how it’s applied to the design and development of manned aircraft and other advanced aerospace systems? It stimulates innovation, pushes boundaries of scientific research and development to create next-generation technologies and manufacturing capabilities, producing a skilled workforce for now and in the future. This STAAR programme has been designed to provide a unique experience that will inspire young adults, help them to understand more about advanced aerospace systems engineering and encourage them to study and take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields.

STAAR recruits will explore advanced aerospace systems concepts: seeing how the need for solutions to achieve an air mission shapes the way engineers and scientist’s research, develop and design aerospace systems.

Maggie Appleton, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Air Force Museum said:
“At the RAF Museum we are passionate about inspiring young people into STEM careers, capturing their imaginations through stories of the RAF and its partners, stories drawn from the rich shared history and innovative vision of the future. We are working in partnership with Northrop Grumman, RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy to develop and deliver an exciting new residential aerospace programme for young people which will be launched this summer.”

Andrew Tyler, Chief Executive, Northrop Grumman Europe said:
“Science-based expertise is at the very heart of the high-technology culture of our industry and at Northrop Grumman we share the RAF Museum’s commitment to promoting STEM education to help inspire young men and women to pursue academic studies and careers in STEM-related areas. We have built a strong partnership with the RAF Museum through our support of the redevelopment programme for the Hendon site, and we are pleased that we have been able to extend this to include the creation of our new aerospace STEM programme.”

The partnership between Northrop Grumman, RAF Museum, RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy was first announced at the 2017 RAF Cosford Air Show. In July, 20 students from four local schools took part in a successful STAAR ‘pilot’ programme and this summer the programme is being rolled out nationally for students across the country who may want to apply for places.

Applications for the 2018 STAAR residency are now open online via the Museum’s website and must be completed by a teacher explaining why their student is suitable for the programme. The closing date for applications is 7 May and successful applicants will be announced on 21 May. The class of 2018 will be invited to attend the RAF Cosford Air Show where they will have the opportunity to meet with fellow recruits, STAAR partners and enjoy a day viewing the very pinnacle of the aerospace industry. Recruits will also be handed their starter packs and t-shirts ready to start the residential week in July.

New 2018 lecture series launches with the unsung Cold War strategist

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

V Force

Date: 16 March 2018
Time: 12.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at RAF Museum Cosford

On 16 March, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be hosting the next Cold War Lunchtime Lecture with a talk entitled ‘Air Marshal Sir John Slessor: An Unsung Cold War Strategist and His Role as the Architect of British Airborne Nuclear Deterrence’. In this talk, Mr Bill Pyke, an independent Cold War researcher with an MA in Air Power Studies will look at the influence of senior military leaders and the pivotal role they played in making British nuclear deterrence a physical reality during the Cold War.

Within this lecture, Mr Bill Pyke will look at how a declared policy of strategic nuclear deterrence has been at the heart of British defence thinking since the early 1950s. Prior to this time, Clement Attlee’s post-war government had sanctioned the development of Britain’s atomic bomb programme in January 1947.

The lecture will discuss how the means of nuclear weapons delivery: the development of the revolutionary four-engine jet bomber, did not proceed at the same pace. In any event, at a time of continuing post-war austerity, some senior politicians from both sides of the political spectrum were not in favour of an independent British nuclear deterrent, preferring to leave it all to the Americans.

This talk will focus on Air Marshal Sir John Slessor as a Cold War strategist and his role as the architect of Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent. Slessor was Chief of the Air Staff between January 1950 and December 1952 at a time of heightened Cold War confrontation. Many Cold War historians have focused primarily on the key politicians, international crises, and the threat of nuclear weapons. However, little attention has been paid to the influence of senior military leaders, of whom Slessor was a notable example. Slessor played a pivotal role in making British nuclear deterrence a physical reality. His involvement through strategic vision, leadership, courage, and dogged persistence ensured the implementation and build-up of the RAF’s complement of strategic jet bombers (the V-force) designed to deliver Britain’s nuclear weapons. That policy of defence through nuclear deterrence established the bedrock of British strategic defence thinking that continues to the present day.

This FREE lecture will be held in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at 12.30pm on Friday 16 March 2018, lasting approximately one hour. As spaces are limited, organisers advise visitors to book their tickets in advance via the Museum’s website to avoid disappointment.

The Cold War Lunchtime Lectures are delivered by emerging and established researchers. They explore key events and air power developments from the Cold War period. ‘Air Marshal Sir John Slessor: An Unsung Cold War Strategist and His Role as the Architect of British Airborne Nuclear Deterrence’ is the first lecture taking place at Cosford this year, with more planned throughout 2018. The series forms a part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2018 which also consists of the Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies, First World War lunchtime lectures at the Museum’s London site and conferences.

For further information about the Museum’s research programme or to book your FREE ticket to the lecture, please visit the Museum website The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry to the Museum is FREE of charge.

Government’s First “Champion for General Aviation” at 2018 YES Conference

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Brooklands Aircraft Factory

Brooklands Museum, 10th March 2018.

Byron Davies, recently appointed as the first ever “Champion for General Aviation” by the Government and the first chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for General Aviation, will be the keynote speaker at the Light Aircraft Association’s (LAA) Youth and Education Strut Aviation Education Conference at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey on March 10.

Mr. Davies has been tasked by the Government to gather evidence of the GA sector’s value to the economy and the need for a protected network of airfields.
The Conference brings together the key players in Aviation Education to discuss current initiatives and enable a better understanding of what opportunities are available for young people in General Aviation as a career or recreational activity. Organisations represented at the event include the Trailblazer and the Heritage Apprenticeship Programmes, Aerobility, the LAA, Air Cadets, the Royal Institute of Navigation, the Scouts and The Shuttleworth Trust.

Brooklands is the birthplace of British aviation as it was the site of the first UK flight trials in 1908 so it is apt that the conference takes place there. Perhaps more fittingly however, is the thinking behind their recently completed Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed complex as part of an overall £8.2m Heritage Lottery Funded project to revitalise and re-interpret the site and its unique 80-year legacy of aviation testing, manufacture and flight. As well as the collections of aircraft, the Museum has embarked on a number of learning initiatives that range from STEM-led activities for students through to aviation heritage skills and preservation programmes both on the ‘factory floor’ and in the purpose-built workshops in the new facilities. This is a pivotal role in providing a gateway to some of the learning as an introduction to a career path within the aviation industry and for other aviation heritage organisations to use as a hub for learning. Allan Winn, Director of Brooklands Museum and Andrew Cornish, Aviation Heritage Skills Officer will be speaking on this subject.

Aviator and adventurer Tracey Curtis-Taylor will also be part of the line-up and will be addressing the delegates drawing on her experience and passion for flying that has inspired many people throughout the world.

Attendees will also get the chance to look around the Museum’s exhibition areas and explore the incredible collections of classic cars, motorcycles and aircraft, including the only Concorde open to the public in the south east, 4D Theatre with simulator and Museum Shop.

Pre-registration is required so to book your place at the Conference which runs from 10am – 4pm please contact Virginia Smith at: or by call 01932 857381 ext 248. Tickets are £12.50 each and include a lunch.

For directions to the Museum please visit or telephone 01932 857381. Simulator rides in the 4D Theatre rides are approximately 8 minutes long each and are priced at £4 Adults, £2 Children. The half-hour Concorde Experience is £5 Adults, £3 Children.


Festival celebrates 100 years of the RAF

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Merlin and Herc Engine

Date: 1-2 April 2018
Time: 10am-5pm
Cost: FREE

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF) with a nostalgic Bank Holiday Weekend event on 1-2 April 2018, packed with displays and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Founded on the 1 April 1918, the centenary year provides a unique opportunity to commemorate the world’s first and most famous independent Air Force and the extraordinary success, achievement and sacrifice of the RAF.

The ‘100 Years of the RAF Festival’ will see re-enactors, living historians, interpreters and a variety of entertainers bring the Museum to life with authentic experiences for visitors to enjoy. A walk-through history, exploring the 100 years of the Royal Air Force, vintage vehicles and children’s activities will be nestled amongst the historical, pioneering aircraft on display and will engage visitors throughout their tour of the Museum site.

WHAT’S ON over the festival weekend:
• Chat amongst Second World War pilots, have a go at plotting maps, or relax in the Officer’s Mess.
• Take aim and fire with a have-a-go anti-aircraft area. For the young and the young at heart, take a seat behind replica anti-aircraft guns and see whether you can catch the enemy (charges apply).
• Join family friendly interactive talks; get involved in tactical mapping, learn how to scramble to all manner of aircraft and explore RAF missions in the wider world.
• Wonder at the skills of pilots in the new Jet Age and practice your own Scramble to the Vulcan.
• Watch Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk500 and Bristol Hercules Mk216 demonstrations (2 April only).
• Meet the originators of the Royal Flying Corps and see up close what these young pilots undertook to defend our skies 100 years ago.
• Meet serving personnel from the RAF today and hear more about their roles.
• Marvel at some of the earliest technologies in flying machines, from bi-planes to airships, and hear how integral their roles were in making the Royal Air Force what it is today.
• Hear the stories of peacetime operations throughout history, the Royal Air Force’s wider community involvement, and its continuing spirit.
• Dress up in RAF attire and grab some props from the Museum’s handling collection and take photos as a memento of your day.

The ‘100 Years of the RAF Festival’ will run from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 1 and Monday 2 April 2018. On arrival, make sure to pick up your free handy festival map to help guide you round the site and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the displays! The Museum will also be operating a free shuttle bus service from Cosford train station for any visitors travelling by train or using the park and ride and will run continuously throughout the day. For more information about the event visit

Plus, a new display which celebrates the first 100 years of the RAF will be open to visitors in time for the festival weekend. Highlighting the principle roles of the RAF; Attack, Defence, Support and Prepare, the display also incorporates a snapshot timeline and artefacts spanning 100 years including uniforms, equipment, tools, personal possessions and commemorative items. In addition, a collection of life size silhouettes will be positioned around the Museum site, sharing the personal stories of RAF personnel throughout the years, spanning a variety of roles within the service. The new display is supported by National Lottery Players through the Heritage Lottery Fund and with support from BAE Systems and is part of the RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme across its two sites in London and Cosford. For more information about the RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme visit

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum honours the heroism of RAF aircrew

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Victoria Cross

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum commemorates RAF 100 with its exhibition honouring the heroism of RAF aircrew during World War II.

2018 is set to be an important year for aviation as the Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary. To mark this occasion, Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum will open their next exhibition on Sunday 1 April 2018 entitled ‘Gallantry in the Air’ honouring Royal Air Force aircrew who were decorated for their bravery during World War II.

Gallantry is defined as bravery shown by someone who is in danger. This exhibition will feature RAF personnel who were awarded UK gallantry medals including Guy Gibson who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), Distinguished Service Order & Bar (DSO) and Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar (DFC). Gibson was most famous for leading No. 617 Squadron during the Dam Busters raid in 1943 and was awarded the VC, the highest award of the UK’s honours system. Two of the others that will feature are Leonard Cheshire who was awarded the VC, DSO & 2 Bars, DFC; and ‘Ginger ‘Lacey, one of the RAF’s highest scoring fighter pilots during World War II, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal & Bar.

Heritage Assistant, Angela Riley who has been working on the exhibition said:

“This exhibition has been the most challenging to date in many ways, not least the subject matter. To try to pick a limited number of men to cover in depth from the many, who did enormously brave acts has been difficult, but I hope our selection shows just how utterly brave and in some cases selfless the men of the air are.“

To hopefully make ‘Gallantry in the Air’ particularly relevant to Lincolnshire, many of the aircrew that will be featured were based in the County at some point during their Service careers. Regardless of origin or background, these heroic individuals were determined to serve their country in a time of war and some had to apply to do so on more than one occasion before they succeeded in becoming aircrew.

Leader for North Kesteven District Council, Councillor Richard Wright said:

“We’re very proud that North Kesteven is right at the heart of ‘Bomber County’ and it is important that exhibitions like this allow everyone the opportunity to learn about the bravery of the RAF airmen who have fought in World War II. Their heroism needs to be remembered and respected for generations to come. The RAF 100 anniversary makes this even more poignant.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten, in this year that we celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the fight for equal voting rights that 168 women flew all types of military aircraft for the Air Transport Auxillary, during WWII, delivering them to forward bases and sadly 15 of them didn’t make it through the war.
“I’d encourage everyone to go and see the display at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum.”

Many of the airmen, featured in the exhibition, gained the highest award for their valour with some of them paying the ultimate price. Regardless of their individual circumstances, they all shared at least one thing in common – their incredible acts of ‘Gallantry in the Air’.

This exhibition is open to the public from Sunday 1 April until Sunday 30 September, 10am to 4.30pm. Admission is free.

Belgian Air Force on board for the Scampton Airshow

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Belgian F16

An F-16 fast jet from the Belgian Air Force has become the first international aircraft to be confirmed in the flying display at the inaugural Scampton Airshow in September.

The aircraft, which is performing at the dynamic new airshow at RAF Scampton from 9-10 September, will join the RAF Red Arrows and Typhoon in the five-hour flying programme.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon has been flown by Belgium since 1979. Although its examples are among the oldest still in service, a series of major upgrades mean that they remain very capable fighters.

Two Wings of the country’s Air Component operate a total of 54 F-16s, comprised of single-seat F-16AM and two-seat F-16BM (mid-life upgrade) models. They have taken part in coalition air operations over the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as the Baltic Air Policing initiative.

Paul Sall, Airshow Director, said: “We have already received fantastic support in the UK from the RAF and we’re thrilled to see support for the show coming in from beyond these shores.

“We have extended invitations to a number of nations, in Europe and beyond, and are working hard to secure a variety of impressive flying and static aircraft to display throughout the weekend. Belgium is the first overseas Air Force to confirm their attendance in September, and I am looking forward to announcing the involvement of more countries in due course – watch this space!”

The 2017 display aircraft, provided by 31 and 349 Squadrons from the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine Brogel, will be flown by Cdt Tom ‘Gizmo’ De Moortel in his third season as the demo pilot. He said: “I’m really looking forward to displaying the power and agility of the F-16 during the Scampton Airshow. 2017 will be my third and final year displaying the Viper for the Belgian Air Force. I’ve always enjoyed working with the best display team in the world so flying over their home base is a real honor for me. As a display team we really appreciate the warm welcome we get from the UK audience. See you in September!”

The Scampton Airshow, staged in aid of the RAF Charitable Trust at the Lincolnshire home of the Red Arrows, is a diverse, family-friendly event. It will encompass an impressive five-hour flying display, complemented by an array of entertainment on the ground, from a nostalgic Vintage Village through to interactive and engaging STEM exhibits in the Techno Zone.

Paul Sall added: “We are putting together what’s shaping up to be a truly spectacular show, with a real family feel. The wide variety of ‘on-the-ground’ activities, mixed with what’s happening in the air, means there will be something for everyone. The Scampton Airshow will see guests from across the central and north of England, as well the traditional support from ‘RAF Lincolnshire’ – this is shaping up to be the premier outdoor event in the area. I look forward to welcoming our international guests in style and showing them what Scampton and Lincolnshire has to offer!”

Tickets for the Scampton Airshow are priced at £39 and must be bought online in advance. Inspiring the next generation of aviation enthusiasts, tickets for under 16s are free with a ticket holding adult. To find out more about the Scampton Airshow, or to buy your tickets, please visit .

The Old Buckenham Airshow – Return of a Family Favourite

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Yoyo - O'Brien's Flying Circus

The Award Winning Old Buckenham Airshow is delighted to announce the return of arguably the most successful and entertaining pilot in history, Brendan O’Brien.

O’Brien last visited Old Buckenham in 2014 where he successfully landed his Piper Cub on top of a trailer moving along the runway. This feat forms part of his legendary “Flying Circus” a firm family favourite on the Airshow circuit for decades. Brendan’s display, aside from being fabulous entertainment, relies on his unrivalled skill and experience. He has over 200 FAI Aviation Records, more than anyone in history. His has a license to fly every type of machine capable of being airborne, from balloons to airliners. His list of aircraft flown includes over 300 types and he has operated aircraft on every continent, including Antartica. Along the way he’s hosted his own TV show, syndicated worldwide and become one of the most admired spokesmen for Aviation flying today.

Brendan will be appearing both days at the Airshow and everyone will get a chance to see his extraordinary antics aboard the venerable Piper Cub. He’ll try once again to land on a trailer, a feat which requires ultimate skill. It’s small wonder that Brendan is the only pilot performing such an act in Europe.

This year, show goers will get a chance to see even more of Brendan’s skill than before. The Airshow will see the debut in Norfolk of Brendan’s latest acquisition, Otto the Helicopter. A fixture in the US, Brendan managed to acquire Otto in 2016 and bring him permanently to England. Otto, in the hands of a master aviator like Brendan, is capable of simply extraordinary and entertaining feats. Otto, by way of example, is the only helicopter which likes to play with a yoyo; in this case a specially made toy with 3ft diameter.

The Airshow is also delighted to confirm that a 1943 Beechcraft Staggerwing will display on both days. The Staggerwing is often voted as being one of, if not the most beautiful aircraft of all time in surveys. Only the Supermarine Spitfire appears as routinely in such surveys. The aircraft is also one of the most advanced for its time ever built. Capable of taking off from small grass landing strips, it can cruise for a thousand miles at 200mph before landing on another small grass strip. The example displaying is named High Maintenance. Once affectionately described as the most effective means of turning money into noise, the aircraft earns her name not least because she is fitted with (and needs) six fuel tanks.

On the ground the Airshow, the EDP Hoseasons Tourism Awards ‘Family Event of the Year’ in 2016, continues to make improvements. New facilities for families, including baby changing facilities are being planned. An improved site layout will add more viewing space and more entry lanes will limit queues at peak times.

The Airshow is also delighted to announce a new alliance with Brasteds, one of the regions’s foremost catering companies. Brasted’s will be bringing their unrivalled expertise to the extremely popular VIP Enclosure during the show. Brasted’s is a multi award-winning catering and events company, with over 30 years’ experience serving royalty, dignitaries, celebrities and guests across Norfolk.

Matt Wilkins, Airshow Organiser: “ The English Language contains 171,476 words. None of them are good enough to begin to describe Brendan O’Brien, statistically the greatest peacetime pilot there has ever been. We’re therefore thrilled to have him back and offer Otto the helicopter his East of England debut; sure to be a massive hits with the kids here as he has been in the States. With all the improvements we’re making we hope to continue to be worthy of our award as Family Event of the Year. “