Paul Filmer reflects on the RAF Church Fenton SSAFA International Air Display 1983, a small-scale military event which enjoyed an interesting raft of foreign and domestic participants.
My one and only trip to RAF Church Fenton was for the SSAFA International Air Display on 12 June 1983. It was a small airshow, but hosted diverse participants.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force attended with a C-130H and an F-5F, both in the static display.
C-130H 344 is still active, and F-5F 1751 was sold to Kenya.
The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) sent a single F-16A Fighting Falcon, E-185. This aircraft was written-off four years later in 1987 at Skrydstrup Air Base. The gear collapsed on landing due to corrosion in an actuator. This was the first RDAF aircraft from which a pilot successfully ejected, survived and went on to go back into service.
US Navy P-3C 159318 from VP-45 “Pelicans”. I only took a shot of the tail for some reason; this logo can still be found on the P-8, after 50 years operating the P-3.
USAF C-141B 65-9401 came and performed a low approach, on its way either to or from RAF Mildenhall. As with most Starlifters, this was scrapped at Davis-Monthan.
A small selection of RAF types and colour schemes was seen. RAF Tornado GR1 ZA613 from 27 Squadron wore camo’ with high-viz markings at the time, and currently is a GR4 in grey.
Hunter FGA9 XF431 from 1TWU was later sold to the Zimbabwean Air Force.
Hawk T1 XX158 from 63 Squadron is now a T1A with 208(R) Squadron.
Jet Provost T4 XR679 was with 79 Squadron and is now registered as C-FDJP in Canada.
The aircraft that bucked the camouflage trend was Jet Provost T5A XW409 of 7FTS, which is currently stored at Hawarden as 9047M.
A small airshow, but full of memories, especially as a snapshot of how the RAF looked at the time.