Sunday 9 June sees the first of the RAF’s remaining three flying displays – namely the RAF Cosford 75th Anniversary Airshow in Shropshire. Gareth Stringer takes a look at what is scheduled to appear on the flying programme and on the ground.
The West Midlands isn’t blessed with a vast amount of aviation action so the RAF Cosford Air Show is always a busy event and one which, like those at RAF Waddington and RAF Leuchars, truly caters for the whole family. That isn’t to say that the enthusiast won’t find anything to tickle his or her fancy however, and this year there are one or two set-pieces that should definitely appeal.
With both Cosford’s 75th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the Sepecat Jaguar being commemorated, it is entirely appropriate that not one but two examples will be taking to the runway (including the famous ‘Spotty’ variant), although sadly not to the skies, as the Station is now the last to ‘operate’ the much-loved aircraft, used as it is for training technicians and engineers.
In the air, and on the ground, another highlight is sure to be the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) demonstration, featuring an RAF Chinook and Army Air Corps Apache, both of which are also making their season débuts as solo performers too. The MERT demo will incorporate all those units which would be involved if such a response was needed in-theatre, including RAF Regiment Gunners and the specialist aero-medical evacuation team, with the Chinook performing the transportation job accompanied by its Apache escort, patrolling overhead.
Being an RAF show, Cosford always provides an opportunity to see this year’s solos in action and the flying programme includes a début for Flt Lt Andrew Fyvie-Rae in his dazzling desert schemed Tucano. ‘Fyvie’ told GAR, “I can’t wait to finally get started and RAF Cosford is a great place to begin displaying the aircraft. The Team looks forward to seeing you all there!”
Also making their public débuts are Flt Lt Jamie Norris in the Typhoon as well as the aforementioned Chinook display courtesy of RAF Odiham. The RAF’s display teams will all be on view too so expect to see the Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and RAF Falcons parachute display team, as well as a Search and Rescue demo courtesy of a Sea King. A C-130J Hercules from RAF Brize Norton is also scheduled to make a rare (these days) airshow appearance with a fly-through.
The remainder of the UK’s armed forces will also be well represented. The AAC Apache Longbow (we’ll be interviewing the crew at Cosford for a forthcoming feature) will be joined by the fully-aerobatic Lynx AH7 display which was so well received at Abingdon last month, and the Royal Navy Historic Flight will be appearing with the ever-impressive Sea Fury.
Civilian participation looks excellent this year and will be headed by an appearance from the Avro Vulcan, with two other classic jets, the F-86A Sabre and Jet Provost T5, also booked. Formation aerobatics will come from the Aerostars, RV8tors, SWIP Team, The Blades and a solo Pitts Special, whilst Brendan O’Brien’s Flying Circus will deliver its own unique brand of entertainment. Warbird fans haven’t been forgotten either with both B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B and a solo Spitfire from the Hangar 11 Collection included in what looks like a strong, and varied, flying display programme.
Static aircraft will also be on show, including the likes of Tutor, King Air, Chinook, Merlin, Squirrel, Griffin and Sea King, while a Royal Netherlands Air Force Pilatus PC-7 is also expected to join the line-up, as will a number of Cosford-based training airframes such as Jaguars, Tornado GR1, Harrier GR3 and Jet Provosts.
Visitors to Cosford Air Show should always expect a huge variety of entertainment and attractions on the ground, of both the aviation and non-aviation varieties. Military displays will be numerous and will include a host of Royal Air Force training units, a Cold War mock-up complete with Harrier GR3, a mock Afghan village featuring a static MERT scenario (complete with an RAF Merlin, representing the type’s role in Operation HERRICK – a role which drew to a close this week with the withdrawal of RAF Merlins from Afghanistan) and also the RAF Presentation Team which you’ll find in Hangar 3. The RAFPT will spend the day conducting video presentations on current capabilities and operations and will also be interviewing various RAF display crews and personnel, a great chance to hear from some of those you will see participating in the airshow itself.