WADDINGTON SCORCHER (AGAIN)
RAF Waddington International Air Show round-up by Mick Britton.
Although Waddington International Airshow has not always been blessed with the best weather (the first two were positively nithering, and then there was the monsoon of 2007) it has been lucky for the last few years and this year’s event coincided with the hottest weekend of the summer bringing back memories of the 2006 event when standpipes were erected to allow the crowd to cool down as they were on this occasion.
The flying was also hot stuff with more heavy metal than has been seen in some recent years, dominated by F-16 displays. As for the highlights these would have to include the two formations flown to commemorate the anniversaries of two distinguished squadrons. First the Lancaster and Tornado GR4 flown in honour of the 70th. Anniversary of No. 617 (Dambusters) Squadron and secondly the Sentinel R1 with the Red Arrows in honour of the resident No. V Squadron which is celebrating its centenary. (The latter was a surprise addition to the programme and could easily have been missed by anyone who had ventured out of range of the address system. Thereafter the highlights depended on the tastes of the individual. For many it would undoubtedly have been the Vulcan although some found its display somewhat subdued on this occasion. For others (including the author) another highlight was the display of the SoloTurk in the F-16C who had made his UK display debut at last year’s Fairford. With the more familiar Belgian and Dutch F-16AMs also on the programme it was a bit of an F-16 Fest reminiscent of some of the late eighties Mildenhall shows which frequently had triple doses of the type.
Another type which rolled back the years was the Saab Viggen of the Swedish AF Historic Flight, still capable of assaulting the ears! Its stablemates the fifties vintage J29 Tunnen and the small Sk 60 jet trainer also performed. Winding up the show on the Saturday was the Patrouille de France making only a flying visit as they had a prior engagement back home on the Sunday.
Whilst the static is just a shadow of its former self, and getting smaller and more reliant on civil participants with each year there is always just enough to maintain interest. Anniversary paint schemes were much in evidence this year, including one of the two 617 Squadron Tornados, a particularly nice F-16AM of Belgium’s 349 Squadron and a Czech L-159 ALCA, which was positioned next to a 211 squadron Gripen in this year’s very colorful Tiger scheme. First footing were RJ100 of the Empire Test Pilots School and the Navy Avenger T1 Finally we must mention the VC 10 making its final appearance in the Waddington static which will be sadly missed by many enthusiasts. To sum up then, whilst perhaps not a classic Waddington Show, certainly an enjoyable which has maintained the high standard we’ve come to expect.
Soloturk waves to the crowd
Tiger tails of Czech AF Gripen
VC10 101 Sqn
Waddo '13 Sentinel & Reds
RJ 100 ETPS
RN Avenger ZZ501
Saab Gripen Czech AF
Tornado GR4 + Vulcan tails
F16AM Display BAF
F16 AM 349 Sqn BAF 70
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