Your earliest airshow memories

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Just for fun, let's see how back some of us can take our aviation memories. What was the first airshow you attended and what do you remember from it?

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Biggin Hill probably around 1977. Watching lovely hestitation rolls by a Korean War striped Sea Fury.
The Rothmans Aerobatic team flying over Peckham to advertise the show.
It was always raining.
Getting the Greenline bus from New Cross or being driven to the show by my Dad in his Zephyr.

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Sea Fury FB.11 TF956, sadly now at the bottom of the Irish Sea.

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Empire Air Day at Hawkinge 1939, when our new wonder fighter the Spitfire was displayed. This set off my craze for aeroplanes.

Something else which sticks in my mind from that display was the tribespeoples village, no doubt made with packing cases, which was set up out on the airfield to be bombed. A convincing crowd of angry Arabs rushed out, shaking their fists, as strong explosions blew the places up and set some on fire. This was a demonstration of how 'natives' in the Middle East were pacified. I wonder why we were not liked when I subsequently went to Egypt.

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The Rothmans aerobatic team in their Pitts Specials doing formation stall turns at North Berwick. 2 years later, in 1975, at my first full airshow.... the Prestwick International, there were energetic aerobatics from Douglas Hamilton test pilot in the prototype Scottish Aviation Bulldog, a PR blue Spitfire crackling and popping through a barrel roll and the Belgian Slivers team doing some very fast (and hairy looking) opposition manouevers in their F104 Starfigjters.

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Air display at Dunstable in 1964 when the Slingsby Motor Tutor crashed on the hill, we ran down to the wreck as they lifted the wing off in one piece to get the pilot out. Another one at Dunstable when the Vickes Gunbus was coming into land and some stood up on the pathway and the Gunbus pilot had to lift the wing so he didn't hit him. The Gunbus landed heavy and broke its undercarriage. A race at a Dunstable display airshow with a Luton Minor, Spitfire and Piper Pawnee. The Spitfire had a odd painted propeller so it looked like a strobe and the Pawnee crop dusted the Bowl pat of the Downs each lap. I think the Minor came last.

Dave

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A couple of shows at Nairobi Wilson in 70/71/72. I recall Kenya AF Caribous doing a tactical assault, parachutists, one of whom landed in the adjacent Nairobi Game Park and was rescued by a Police Bell 47 which I believe was damaged by a rotor strike on something! Aero Club of East Africa Chippies cutting toilet rolls ending with an unscheduled dead stick landing with the carb inlet choked by macerated toilet paper! Also a handicapped air race around a quite small course - I felt sorry for the Cessna twin waiting for ages to be flagged off which then belted round the course gobbling up the slower types and may well have won. Loads of other stuff I don't recall...

First show here, Greenham Common 1976 - ahhhh!

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RNAS Merryfield about 1961 the final act being the Black Arrows. As they came in the sky turned inky black and they turned on their white smoke. They were almost invisible against the sky and you could only follow them by their trails and the whites of their roundels. In spite of the deteriorating weather conditions they carried out a magnificent display at the end of which it tipped down with rain. I had to make my way back to Taunton and waiting for a bus I was offered a lift by a couple of Round Tablers who had organised the air show. Unforgettable.

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Probably Lightnings at Brawdy aged 6 , parental hands pressed hard over ears (1970 ) . First reliable memory, a surprise item announced at the 1975 Booker show in August, then a silver B-17 sweeps overhead !, (Sally B as she was to become ) . Probably 5-8 shows a year for 45 years, seen quite a few mishaps, about 5 serious accidents, thankfully no fatalities.

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Farnborough circa 69. Lightning’s taking off in the rain and going vertical into the the cloud base. Sat in a grandstand in the pouring rain with a flask of tea and soggy sandwiches. Not many aircraft flew due to poor WIX

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Finningley, about 1963, 4 ship Vulcan scramble, and ASJV in its pale blue civilian scheme

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Biggin Hill with family they new what to expect but I didn’t scared the life out of me much to my brothers amusement
will never forget the sight and sound of my first ever display by a Starfighter asbit arrived from behind

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Growing up next to North Weald Airfield there were always going to be aircraft around.
My first air display though was at Stapleford around 1979-80. My memory may be playing tricks on me now but I'm sure I saw an enthusiastic display by an Invader.

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Sea Fury FB.11 TF956, sadly now at the bottom of the Irish Sea.

Yes. Very sad. Wonder why no attempt was ever made to recover the aircraft?

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St. Mawgan in 1956. The Valiant really impressed.

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They salvaged some of the Sea Fury a week or two after it crashed the magnesium was badly corroded and the rest was a loads of bits.

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I remember Gaydon about 1965 there was a Valetta outside the hangar with a row of astrodomes on top.

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Used to cycle to Elstree to see Spencer Flacks Spitfire & Sea Fury, missed to Hunter, almost made it into the hangar once, got sworn at to leave. Remember standing through the sunroof of my fathers Hillman Hunter & feeling like my head was going to be removed by Ray Hanna in 434 while in the queue to enter Booker.
My introduction to Duxford was just after getting out the car in the car park, getting the s**t scared out of me by a very low level arrival, staight over our heads that turned out to be Stefan Karwowski in MOOSE. Was instantly in love with that Mustang ever since.

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RAF Newton in 1954,(grass airfield).The flying program included a Sunderland and an RAF Neptune. I remember the Valletta as we were allowed to scramble up inside and it had the glider towing hook on the back. There were several Mk's of Meteor in the static including a Mk 14. The next year Wymeswold was better as we had a Spitfire 16, a Mosquito TT 34 and a Fairchild Argus in the static. The display included Skyblazers Thunderjets, the RR reverse thrust Hunter and a formation of Attackers and a Dart Kitten. Based there were 504's Meteor 8's and 34 Sqn's Sapphire Hunters..

John

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Wattisham BoB air display 1953. The B-45 in the static will never be forgotten, and Sedburgh glider towed aloft by steam driven traction engine !.

Goldilocks

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Hucknall, late 60's. How fast a (maroon) Mustang can fly, the smell of those burning oil canisters that the parachutists wore as one landed in front of me, barely ten feet away from the ash paling and wire fence that kept the crowd back. Just how close and noisy the Blue Angels can be flying Phantoms. The joy!