Back in August, I went on holiday to Cornwall with the family. We usually end up away from Bournemouth during the bank holiday weekend when the Air Festival is held, but this year we were back a week earlier so I was excited about being able to go to more than one day… Except, they held the festival a week earlier this year too! So I only got a chance to go on the last day – Sunday. This was the day after Red 4 had crashed in Throop, killing Ft Lt Jon Egging so the feeling whilst going along to the show was very different, and there was obviously no Red Arrows display.
The day started cloudy and grey. So everything normal then! The display started at 1300 – today, with a minute’s silence for Ft Lt Jon Egging. It was absolutely amazing – very moving. Imagine a beach – a crowded beach – fall silent except for the waves and youngest children, for one minute. It was strange but very moving, and whilst standing and looking around at everyone I couldn’t help but shed a few tears at the situation. Despite the moaning twits (I’m being polite there!) in the papers saying the show should be cancelled, it went ahead in the spirit expected – pilots who love displaying doing what they enjoy most.
This shot above is a testament to the grey skies. It’s a tad underexposed, but I like them anyway I took the Canon 7D and the 100-400 f/4-5.6L IS lens. The 7D with it’s 1.6x crop gave an effective length of 640mm (or I prefer to look at it as 400mm on a 46MP camera, and just taking the middle bit!). Having said that, I wish I’d taken my 5Dmk2 – I think the results would have been better.
Above is the Lanc, a Spitfire and (I think) a Hurricane.
The Breitling Wing Walkers. Absolutely, completely and utterly – without any shadow of a doubt – nutcases! Not content with doing daft things in a plane, they do daft things on a plane, while someone else flies the thing in daft ways! Above… some laydees strapped to a plane, waving their arms in the air in apparent enjoyment. Ho hum.
OK, not enough to be strapped to the top of a plane. Let’s get out and wander around. Oh yeah, normal and sensible. Brilliant idea
Below, a little collage of the SWIP Team Twister, Gerald Cooper and The RV8tors. Brilliant displays by all of them – superb flying in some stunning planes. Gerald Copper files the Xtreme Air Sbach 300 which is a carbon fibre plane with a load factor of +/- 10G (you’ll break long before the plane does!). 240mph wherever the hell you point it… it must be amazing to fly – the Lotus of the aircraft world (i.e. properly engineered and excellent handling
The shots below – The Blades. These guys are the prop-driven equivalent of the Reds (I think Blade One is an ex Red One). Actually, thinking about it – try doing a Falling Leaf in a Hawk…!
Now… I know I said I’d shut up, but they saved what I would consider the best bit until last. Out of nowhere came a black dot, turning into a grey dart, then a thunderclap! The Tornado went from pier to pier and out to sea, reheat popping on and off on those jets. While not quite up to the racket produced from the back end of a Typhoon, it was a beautiful plane to watch:
Now, I admit to not having seen the Hunter before, but check this thing out – beautiful. A properly stunning looking aircraft:
And then one of my favourite planes of all time – the Sea Vixen popped out and joined the Hunter. What a pair. And obviously from the background, by this time the cloud had cleared and the sky was a beautiful blue:
A great day, a stunning mix of planes, free, on the beach… what more could you ask for?