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RAF Waddington International Air Show round-up by Mick Britton.


All images - 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.

Saab Viggen

Soloturk waves to the crowd

Tiger tails of Czech AF Gripen

VC10 101 Sqn

Waddo '13 Sentinel & Reds


RN Avenger ZZ501

Saab Gripen Czech AF

Tornado GR4 + Vulcan tails

F16AM Display BAF

HX558 Arrival

F16 AM 349 Sqn BAF 70

Saab J29

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Robert Harrison said on the 10-Jul-2013 at 10:52

An excellent article with some quality pictures. Made me wish i have visited.

Andrew Ratcliffe said on the 13-Jul-2013 at 18:13

Great review, the flying display was excellent, the Solo Turk being the star performer amongst many other items. The Viggen was also a great display, thundering around the Waddington skies and the Patrouille De France put on a very polished performance as did the Red Arrows as usual. As for the static, I must agree, that it seemed to have been filled out with 'Civvies' and was definitely lacking 'Fast Jet' content, the Tiger schemed Gripen being the star attraction in the static, closely followed by the special scheme F-16 and the L-159 Alca special scheme, this one being different on each side of the tail. Of the 'props' on static display, the 'retro' Polish Navy Bryza stood out for me, as well as the immaculately presented Czech CASA CN-295. Overall, though the static was a bit thin on the ground, it was a fantastic day, blessed with equally fantastic weather and record crowds, 78,000 on Saturday when I was there. As regards traffic, I had no problems at all, arriving at the A15 Gate at 7.45am as they opened and departed the airfield at 7.00pm.

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