Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby bigginmole on Sat 13 Jun 2015, 10:57 pm

aceyone wrote:Just arrived home and I only live 6 miles away ,not good !


Interesting as the last car left the car park a 7.30pm
bigginmole

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby Szazomy on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 12:54 am

Having had pretty much nothing but praise for last year's first Festival of Flight at Biggin Hill, it was a dead cert (especially given its local significance to me as someone who used to live there, and still does in Bromley) I'd be going again this year and for all years beyond. It's the kind of event that earned its loyalty from me for years of superb International Air Fair's - the loss of which just two years before its 50th Anniversary was one of the harshest and most abrupt decisions I've ever heard about the area. For years it has put the village/town on the map, and so it was wonderful to hear of the airshow being revived in a smaller, revised format in 2014. After a solid show last year that was admittedly smaller scale and made me yearn for the Air Fair of old, it captured enough of the spirit of what came before to assure me I'd never give up on going there. I've been each and every year since 1993, to the summer Battle of Britain shows they used to host as well, and would have gone to even more before that were I old enough!

A shame to say then that the Second Festival of Flight, probably ranks as my least enjoyed airshow at the airport in all of these years. That's not to say it was a bad event, but it was lacking the previously reliable charm that Biggin Hill always brought, even in the new format that had proved itself just last year. The line-up itself had me a bit concerned beforehand already. It had a concerning lack of variety on offer from very early on, and though I worried I was inadvertently comparing this to the International Air Fair, as more planes were confirmed I realised it lacked variety even compared to the show from the year before. Nonetheless, there were a good few things in there, and the general sense of optimism that they'd pulled it off the year before. Come the actual event, and that line-up failed to even meet the realistic expectations I'd had. That's not to diminish the efforts of what was there, as what did fly was on the whole absolutely wonderful and really very great. But it's hard to overlook the huge number of absences and no-shows that really hit the timetable hard. The Blenheim, the Swordfish, Sally-B, the Chinook, the Wingwalkers... off the top of my head these were some of those which were missing in the sky, and from the static aircraft section as well. Sadly these are the kinds of planes that were to offer the show its variety, as whilst I have tremendous appreciation and fascination with the Spitfire...there's only so much it can prop up an event like this. For various reasons there were other planes that were missing from the display that usually help bulk it out, and help add to that unique Biggin identity. There was obviously to be no Lancaster Bomber this year, there was no parachute display team, the Blades felt sorely missed, and there was nothing like the Dakota there this year either. This is on top of the lack "ground-shaking" jets that used to act as a nice contrast against the older aircraft. It'd be unfair to dismiss the efforts of the planes that delivered some great displays - the Spitfire and Typhoon duo was a real highlight, especially with the matching liveries (though it was a shame the Typhoon was tamed, and never allowed to give a demonstration of its full power in a solo act). The Red Arrows proved to be old-reliable, but their display seemed less engaging than it did last year for some reason and once again had to be scheduled around the Queen's Flypast. There were some other great moments including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the wonderful flypast of the Red Arrows and the Spitfires which proved to be the iconic moment of the day. On the whole though, the display itself was spread incredibly thinly. There are perfectly fine and acceptable reasons for the absentees of course and it's not the fault of them or the organisers that they weren't able to fly or even attend today, however as mentioned the line-up was already somewhat small (more so than last year) and lacking in variety so it did itself no favours. And whilst the model aircraft which bulked out the limited line-up are very impressive, seeing them go up for a third time to fill the gaps brought on by absentees was disheartening to say the least.

Outside of the display itself, the weather was mostly gloomy with the best of the sunshine held for the end of the day. In fact the weather was near identical to the year before - not ideal conditions for photographers as it was extremely hazy much of the time, though on the positive side it stayed mostly dry.
Traffic on the whole seemed to be marginally better than last year. There were still people who were reportedly stuck in traffic both to and from the airport, and the farce of leaving the car parks seems to have been only slightly improved upon from last tear as well. We've admittedly had no problems on either occasion - getting out in less than ten minutes at the end of the day in 2014, and taking no longer than half an hour to get out of the airport this year. We faced half hour of traffic getting to the show last year, and none at all this year.
There were more food outlets than last year which was a welcome improvement. Last year we queued for over an hour only to be told when near the front of the queue that there was actually no food left! This year we queued for about twenty minutes and got food, so that's a definite improvement.
There did seem to be generally less on-the-ground activity than in the previous year. The static aircraft display was notably smaller though this may have been down to the aformentioned absentees. There did seem to be less in general though - less stalls, less cars, less interest from the people who bulk out the ground attractions. It took only half the time to see everything this year, and that was even with generous time given to the things we remembered seeing a year earlier.

On the whole, the day just seemed to lack the typical Biggin charm that always came part-and-parcel with an airshow here. After inhibitions, 2014 had proved that the new format was capable of working - a bittersweet but welcome replacement for the International Airfair which I'll perhaps always lament the loss of - and that aside from some teething problems was capable of being an enjoyable annual event that would keep Biggin Hill on the map, and give the Borough of Bromley a treasured event back that it rightly deserved to keep in the first place. And whilst I'll be attending in the already announced third Festival of Flight in 2016, it'll be for the first time purely out of loyalty to the airfield and the shows its hosted, rather than because the event from the year before enticed me back. There was much to enjoy, and maximum effort made by pretty much everybody there on the day, but the event itself just felt a little flat to me. Whilst last year proved that the new format could pursue a unique identity of its own that wasn't an immediate pale imitation of the large-scale events before it, this year struggled to do the same somewhat.
It's a big asking price for a display that lasts shy of four hours, and had such a fragile line-up in the first place. It goes to show that it's easier to forgive an empty stomach and a long wait out of the venue if the actual airshow lives up to some kind of expectation. Last year had issues regarding the actual ground operation, though this year I think attention needs to be turned to the display itself. While impractical to keep a bunch of aircraft "on standby", even a more varied line-up would have made the no-shows a bit less noticeable. If I recall correctly, last years display was also staggered between 1pm and 8pm, split between the usual business proceedings of the airport. This meant more opportunity to face those long queues without missing any displays, and if replicated this year may have enabled some of those absentees the chance to reach the airport for a display later on.

Despite my somewhat negative tone in this post I still had a relatively enjoyable day. It just felt like a day that had more potential than the final product suggested, and one that was unfortunately marred in no short measure due to some technicalities. Positives or negatives though, a huge thanks to everybody who worked in any capacity to put the event together. Any airshow at Biggin Hill is a welcome one, and as was the case with last year I hope that the Festival of Flight can grow and learn from the experiences of its previous event :)
Szazomy

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby iGol66 on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 8:20 am

It was my first airshow at Biggin Hill for me, and I have to say I very much enjoyed it. Of course, cancellations are always disappointing, but it is not something the organisers have any control over. I wonder though if any of the aircraft already at the airfield weren't able to do an extended display for example or go up again as a replacement act, or if any replacements could be booked at short notice? Again, it was very unlucky because of the weather and tech issues.

Overall, there was some great acts, the Spitfire and Bf 109 dogfight for me was very well choreographed, it was great to see the Typhoon with the MkII Spitfire, and for me, it was a great display, the symmetry of the act looked amazing. However, I echo what has been said, it would have been great to let the Typhoon of the leash as well as the early mark Spitfire.

I can't compare this show to others at Biggin Hill, but it was a quite enjoyable show, shame about the cancellations but looking forward to see if there is any star items like the 109 in the future.
iGol66

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby eddywinch82 on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 11:05 am

Did the Daimler-Benz engined ME109G fly at the Airshow ?
eddywinch82

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby Pen Pusher on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 11:08 am

eddywinch82 wrote:Did the Daimler-Benz engined ME109G fly at the Airshow ?


No, but the Daimler-Benz engined Buchon did :biggrin:

Brian
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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby aceyone on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 11:13 am

bigginmole wrote:
aceyone wrote:Just arrived home and I only live 6 miles away ,not good !


Interesting as the last car left the car park a 7.30pm


Never said owt about what time I left the car-park ,just had a heap of problems on the way home,a journey that would normally take me about 15 min took an hour !
Regarding getting out it was marginally better than last year but I am astute enough to know getting 6 thousand or so cars out of two exits is always going to be difficult !
As for the display, yes there were a few cancellations ,nothing the organisers could do about that,it happens to the best of shows at some time !
Weather was not good to start but fortunately did improve later in the day .
Highlight for me was the Typhoon /Spitfire pair ( although like the above poster I was hoping the Typhoon would just let go a bit) I did think the Reds seemed just a tad lacking,I can't really put my finger on it.they were, as ever, professional and polished,just seemed to lack oomph !
The109 /Spitfire was enjoyable as well as the Reds/Spitfire flypast .I quite enjoyed seeing lots of Spits/Hurricanes in the air,so although a bit thin ,through no one's fault, I think it was quite a good show nevertheless !
Don't know about those jets ,they spoil a very nice place
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aceyone

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby seacat192 on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 4:11 pm

Visited the Biggin show for the first time yesterday - I had a great time :yahoo: :yahoo:

I stayed in Fleet on the Fri/Sat nights (100+ miles closer than home and around 50 from Biggin), and arrived around 8.20-9.00 and got on to the airfield with no issues at all. At the end, I just sat back and let the majority of the other cars leave before joining the back of the queue and eventually got off site at 19.30.

OK, some items had to cancel due to the weather - these things happen, but I still came away at the end with a big smile on my face.


Thanks to the Organisers and all the aircrew for a cracking day out.
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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby duxfordhawk on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 6:13 pm

Pen Pusher wrote:
eddywinch82 wrote:Did the Daimler-Benz engined ME109G fly at the Airshow ?


No, but the Daimler-Benz engined Buchon did :biggrin:

Brian



Looked, flew and sounded fantastic too.
Martin
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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby Rocker on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 8:33 pm

I thought the event was excellent, the flying was great to watch although I would have liked some more on the ground. It was a big location but half of it was given over to a funfair and corporate stalls. I suppose they bring in money for the organisers but I'm sure they could've given some of that space over to more static aircraft or classic cars.
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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby ted633 on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 9:27 pm

Really good day, first time I've been to biggin since the air fair days. Without the canx aircraft, the line up was very good, so can't really moan about that. Only issue was getting out, I left shortly after the displays finished and it took me 2 hrs and 15 mins to get out. I arrive early so I'm at the back of the queue to get out. Unfortunately, it would have been quicker if some people didn't think there were better than everyone else and drive straight down the car park and push in at the front.
However, will definitely go again next year, but will put the bike in the back of the car and park a few miles away. Worked well at shoreham so I'd expect it to work the same there
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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby seacat192 on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 4:16 pm

Vodka wrote:FOB. . . . Travelodge :lmao:


It worked out fine!
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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby UK Airshow Review on Sat 27 Jun 2015, 12:18 pm

"Big Grin" - Scott Perry was among the capacity crowd at Biggin Hill and reports for UK Airshow Review.

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Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby frank on Tue 30 Jun 2015, 6:30 pm

There was a Wessex in the static, situated up on the far "east" of the flightline. Does anyone know whether its a long term resident at Biggin and is it a flyer.
thanks Frank
frank

Re: Biggin Hill Festival of Flight 2015

Postby WG655 on Tue 30 Jun 2015, 6:46 pm

I think the plan is to get it airworthy eventually, although it was a similar story when it appeared statically in 2010 at the last Air Fair IIRC?
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