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RAFA Airshows – East Kirkby takes a quick look at the Royal Air Force Association’s first airshow to be staged at East Kirkby in Lincolnshire.


Just Jane was, of course, the star attraction for many. All images Key - Gary Parsons

To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) a special birthday airshow was staged at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby in Lincolnshire. The owners of the site, the Panton family, combined with LAHC volunteers and the RAFBF – with a little bit of help from FlyPast magazine (editor Ken Ellis provided the commentary) – produced a superb show at an incredible venue and there are high hopes that this will now become an annual event. East Kirkby’s inaugural airshow, held on August 1, attracted a capacity crowd of 3,000 ticket holders, as numbers were strictly limited at this small venue.

On a day that looked likely to host the worst weather of a poor summer, pilots braved it out to attend and staged a magical show that was only met by heavy rain in its last moments. As well as the ‘flyers’, LAHC’s fantastic Lancaster VII NX611 Just Jane had star-billing with two taxi runs to delight the large audience.

Opening the flying display were Maurice Hammond and Dave Evans in P-51Ds Janie and Marinell, presenting first a glittering duo, then singles displays. Their performance included a poignant missing man salute in honour of Key Publishing photographer Steve Fletcher, who was killed in a flying accident in Florida in January - our sincerest thanks to both pilots for this moving gesture.

Peter Vacher’s immaculate Hurricane I R4118 was among a strong warbird turn-out. During the show all the participants, other than the Mustangs, used East Kirkby’s excellent 3,000ft concrete and grass runway. Pilots are now welcome to visit the LAHC by air – strictly PPR – check out the website for details.

Taking the shortest transit flight prize was Justin Needham in his South Vietnam-schemed Cessna O-1 ‘Papa-Dog’, which came from its airstrip base to the north of nearby Sleaford.

Dale Featherby brought along Fairchild PT-19 Cornell N33870 – a unique sight in UK skies. He hooked up with Nigel Wilson’s Yakovlev Yak-52 before the pair separated for their own routines.

A strong RAF line-up for such a small event saw the Tutor and Chinook give sparkling displays in the growing murk.

With admission at just £10 for an adult, this show has to have been one the best value of the 2009 season – more please! See for details of the 2010 event to be held on August 7.

East Kirkby's airshow 2009

Filed Under Airshows Features.


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