Further to my earlier post, here are my top 5 picks:#5 - Avro Vulcan - Goodwood Revival
I had been underwhelmed by XH558's appearances at Biggin Hill and Shoreham; of course, the Vulcan is a mighty, impressive machine and seeing it in the air will always be a pleasure, but the routine, I felt, lacked some of the punch that made the display so popular in the 1980s and 90s. However, '558's appearance at the Goodwood Revival saw the display take on a different format, thanks to the curved crowdline. The crowds in the main viewing area were treated to several top-side passes, loud climbs and the odd wing-over, with the Vulcan banking directly overhead at times. It was a magnificent, memorable display that will live long in the memory. For a few minutes, I knew what all the fuss was about.
Clips of the display from another vantage point can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa_yhGYs1zU#4 - OFMC P51D Mustang & Spitfire IX - Goodwood Revival
2009 saw my first visit to the Goodwood Revival; I was immediately hooked, and have already booked accommodation for the 2010 event, the only difference being that I'm doing 3 days instead of 1! The day was filled with highlights, both in the air and on the ground. Unlike previous years, Saturday's proceedings were rounded off with an evening display by the Old Flying Machine Company's Spitfire IX and P51D Mustang 'Ferocious Frankie', piloted by Lee Proudfoot and Alister Kay respectively. The duo had flown earlier in the day - the Spitfire had joined with Charlie Brown in HAC's Spitfire V for an early morning pairs routine (the morning light in itself providing a memorable moment) and later, the duo had accompanied the aforementioned MkV and TFC's TF51D 'Miss Velma', flown by Red Bull Air Race winner Paul Bonhomme for a wonderful four-ship formation aerobatic routine, reminiscent of the Breitling Fighters display of 1999-2004. Despite the high quality of all the flying at Goodwood, the highlight for me was the 7pm duo display. Performed long after sun down in still evening air, against a red sky and the odd twinkling star, this was a masterclass in formation flying, with all the trademark OFMC low flying that makes their displays so exciting to watch.
There is some excellent footage of the Vimy and OFMC pair here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuaxYK7to1M
.#3 - Virgin 747 & Red Arrow formation - Biggin Hill Air Fair
If you're looking for a real "money shot" of the 2009 season, this is surely up there with the likes of the Reds/Vulcan formation. Little more can be said about the formation and 747 overshoot - the ovation from the crowd, the likes of which I have never seen before at a UK airshow, said it all. Bravo, Biggin!#2 - Flying Legends opening sequence - FW190, Buchon & Spitfires
Again, this particular moment has been covered in depth before so I won't bore you by re-capping what has been written elsewhere. Simply put, it was the most exciting opening to any airshow I've been to. Remarkably, they maintained the pace for the next 90 minutes, with some stunning flying and memorable set pieces - but nothing could live up to that opening salvo. Marc "Leon" Mathis and Brian Smith took the FW190 and Buchon, joining seven Spitfires. It sounded good on paper, but all expectations were exceeded. With the Spits tailchasing in the background, the German duo flew two formation passes before breaking into individual low level beat ups - very close, very low and very fast. Absolutely perfect in every way. The atmosphere on the 'Tank Bank' was pretty special in itself - I think we all knew we were witnessing something world class, that will be talked about for many years to come.#1 - Spitfire IX MH434 solo - Biggin Hill
Back to Biggin Hill again for one of the best warbird displays I've ever seen. I've waxed lyrical about how good Nigel Lamb's Spitfire display was in the closing moments of the Air Fair, and with good reason. It was airshow magic, with multiple elements coming together to make a truly special display. Sure, it didn't have the "wow" factor of the Reds/747 formation, or the excitement of the Flying Legends opening sequence, but as an all round emotional experience, it tops everything else. Flown to music - the beautiful orchestral arrangement of 'The Last Post' and Katherine Jenkins' cover of 'Jerusalem' - Nigel's display was a very moving, emotive routine. There certainly wasn't a dry eye where I was standing. To top it off, Sunday's solo saw the return of the legendary 'Valley Dive', which drew gasps from those who hadn't seen it before, and a broad smile from those who recalled in that moment the Spitfire displays of the legendary Ray Hanna. Beautiful.
This YouTube clip should give you some idea of what I'm talking about. [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fKFYqDb5sY
Thanks for looking!