For many, the annual Abingdon Air and Country Show marks the beginning of their airshow season. Gareth Stringer takes a look at what’s expected at the 2013 event.
As ever, this year’s airshow calendar opens with events at both Old Warden and Abingdon, although this year on separate weekends, so a number of spectators and participants will have already broken their duck for 2013 at the Shuttleworth Collection last Sunday.
Abingdon is always a popular first date in the diary though and this year will be no different, with many heading to Oxfordshire on Sunday 5 May to catch up with friends, blow the cobwebs off the camera gear and see what event organiser Neil Porter has managed to deliver. All proceeds from the event go to the wonderful Thames Valley Air Ambulance, and more than £30,000 has already been donated since the show began supporting the charity in 2007.
In truth, Neil’s been a little unlucky this year. The cancellation of the Royal Air Force’s Hawk T1 and King Air displays, along with delays to the Tucano and Tutor solos, have robbed him of guaranteed military participants in the flying programme but, that said, he’s still managed to put together a display with great variety, interesting visitors and plenty of ground-based activities.
No less than three foreign air forces are due to visit Abingdon with static aircraft this weekend, with the Polish Navy (PZL M28 Bryza), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Pilatus PC-7) and Belgium Air Component (Aermacchi SF.260) all down to appear. A great coup for Neil that demonstrates the willingness of these nations to support his event, and the value to them in doing so.
They should be joined on the ground by a Royal Air Force Merlin from nearby RAF Benson and a host of visiting general aviation traffic with, at the time of writing, more than 60 different aircraft booked in, including the likes of Tiger Moth, Bulldog, Harvard, Me-108, Chipmunk and Auster.
The flying display, which should last for around three hours, will include formation aerobatics from the Breitling Wingwalkers and the RV8tors, while solo Twister and solo Bulldog are also scheduled to appear.
Warbird fans are well-catered for with P-51 Mustang (Jumpin’ Jacques), Hurricane (R4118), Harvard and the T-28 Fennec all in the line-up, while the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be displaying the Avro Lancaster. That won’t be the only ‘heavy’ on show either and DC-3 Dakota ‘Drag ’em oot’ always puts on a stellar performance at the venue, while a Tristar from nearby RAF Brize Norton is also due to make a rare airshow appearance.
The Army Air Corps will also be in attendance once again with its spectacular Lynx AH7 solo display, in what could be the last year of public displays for the type, and two classic jets will bring some noise to proceedings with both a solo Folland Gnat from North Weald and Hunting Jet Provost T5 from East Midlands completing the programme.
All in all, and with a huge list of ground attractions to enjoy as well, the 2013 Abingdon Air and Country Show should provide an excellent day out. Let’s hope the sun makes an appearance too!
For latest news, and ticket information, please visit the event’s official website.