As incredible as it might sound, this weekend marks the official start of the 2014 airshow season with the annual Abingdon Air & Country Show this Sunday 4 May; always one of the first events of the year. Greg Marsh previews the show’s line-up.
Held to support the Thames Valley Air Ambulance, the show has built a steady reputation for providing a fantastic family day out, with plenty of ground attractions supporting a varied flying display programme.
Once again, organiser Neil Porter and his team have booked a wide cross-section of acts to appeal to most aeronautical tastes. Star item for the enthusiasts will be the Midair Squadron Canberra PR9 XH134 and Hunter T7 XL577. The former only appeared at the Goodwood Revival last year, so many attendees will be eagerly anticipating a first look at the reconnaissance aircraft in its current ownership. The Hunter was formerly operated by Delta Jets and has only flown again, after a heavy maintenance programme, this past week.
Further classic jet participation will be provided by a pair of Jet Provosts; Neil McCarthy’s familiar T3 and Jet Aerobatics’ T5. A more recent Royal Air Force (RAF) basic trainer, the Bulldog, will also be represented by the Duxford based machine flown by Rod Dean, equally at home in this as he was in many piston warbirds and jets over his illustrious airshow career.
Warbirds themselves have not been forgotten with the Hangar 11 Collection’s Spitfire PR.XI, Peter Vacher’s Hurricane I, Kennet Aviation’s T-6 Texan and a further Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) due to appear. Other vintage themed acts include Mark and David Miller’s Dragon Rapide, Peter Holloway’s Fieseler Storch and the ever-popular Breitling Wingwalkers, whilst the TRIG Team will provide an aerobatic orientated interlude.
The modern day forces are supporting the show as always. In addition to the BBMF Spitfire, the RAF will provide the solo 72(R) Squadron Tucano T1, in its striking commemorative Poppy scheme, and a Brize Norton based C-130J Hercules flypast in the flying, while a Merlin HC3 from 28(AC) Squadron at RAF Benson, and a Vigilant from the resident 612 Volunteer Gliding School grace the static park.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly following this past weekend’s tragic events in Afghanistan, the Army Air Corps Lynx AH7 demo has cancelled, although a flypast by the local Air Ambulance EC-135 will provide the rotary-winged element to the afternoon flying programme.
Completing the static park are a Royal Netherlands Air Force Pilatus PC-7, the Bronco Demo Team’s lovely Rockwell OV-10B, a pair of Gazelles from the newly formed Gazelle Squadron, an SF260 in Italian Air Force colours, among numerous other light and vintage types.
With a favourable weather forecast, here’s hoping Abingdon kicks off the airshow year in fine, relaxed fashion. Gates open at 10am while tickets can be purchased on the day at a price of £15 for adults, £10 for OAPs and £5 for children aged 5-15.
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