Elvington’s Wings & Wheels
Despite the Great Yorkshire Airshow’s demise, Elvington Airfield still hosts some flying events. key.aero visited the ‘Wings & Wheels’ event held over July 31/August 1.
This ‘Wings and Wheels’ event staged by the Yorkshire Air Museum (YAM) evoked happy memories of airshows previously staged at this venue. Although this new event featured ‘Monster’ trucks and motor cycle stuntmen, it did feature taxi runs by the YAM’s active aircraft along with a whole variety of warbirds, aerobatic aircraft and radio controlled models.
Several of the participants had performed here before, most notably the Breitling Wing-walker team in its previous identities, plus Kennet Aviation’s Seafire and Skyraider. However, the main attraction was the first public outing of the YAM’s Nimrod MR2, which had been delivered to the Museum back in April and was the first of a series of disposals of this type. Sophisticated aircraft like this kept active for ground runs require a whole team of volunteers, some of whom should have experience of the particular type - in the YAM’s case, a ground crew of four has been assembled, all having a wealth of RAF service. Crew chief is Phil Bandy, who spent eight and a half years on the Nimrod Line Squadron at RAF Kinloss before being posted onto the Typhoon at RAF Coningsby. Dave Whittaker spent 23 years on various aircraft types but wears a patch that reveals a particular association with the Jaguar. Mal Greaves has 29 years on jet fighters - Phantoms at RAF Leuchars and then Tornado F3s at RAF Leeming. The fourth member, teacher Hannah Brown, has no previous experience but is shortly marrying into it when she changes her surname to Bandy in a couple of weeks!
Captaining the Nimrod for its display debut was Jack Reece, ably assisted by co-pilot Nick Lee, Engineer Kan Bannister and AEOs Raj Patel, Nigel Leeds and Steve Doane (who still flies them on 51 Squadron at RAF Waddington). As if jealous of the attention being received by a younger rival, Victor K2 ‘Lusty Lindy’ showed her displeasure by dislodging part of the surface of the runway threshold when running up her engines for her second taxi run, delaying the Nimrod’s entrance by some ten minutes while the fire crew assisted the ground crews in an impromptu ‘FOD plod’.
After the taxi runs, the flying display was opened by the Seafire and Skyraider, whose formation was rather too loose to capture on camera. Their individual displays were much closer to the crowd line and showed off the aircraft well, John Beattie in the Seafire giving his usual immaculate display and taking the trouble to position the aircraft for a photographers’ benefit pass. This was followed by a display by a locally-based Harvard substituting for the advertised Jet Provost that had failed to appear. The Breitling Wing Walkers gave their usual crowd pleasing routine, which always seems more exciting at Elvington due to the closer proximity of the aircraft, and they were followed by Martin Willing in his T-28 Fennec who gave a particularly punchy display, enhanced by the use of smoke, and the synchronised aerobatics of the Twister Duo.
Lasting just a shade over two hours, the taxi demonstrations and flying programme, though short, were very pleasing and the whole event represented good family entertainment and, more importantly, value for money in these financially challenged times. With this particular mix of attractions it should appeal to the audience of the ‘Discovery Turbo’ satellite channel, especially those with young boys with a liking for monster trucks.
Yorkshire Air Museum deserves great credit for staging such an event which offers the potential to develop into a more aviation-based show, particularly if RAF participation can be secured. I sincerely hope that the event will be repeated and would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who missed out. There is still an opportunity to catch the Nimrod taxi run again at the YAM’s ‘Thunder Day’ event on October 17.
Filed Under Airshows Features.
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