Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Ben H on Fri 01 Jan 2010, 8:20 pm

In reference to our latest feature article - Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009 - what do you consider to be the most memorable points of last season? Do you agree with us? What else would you recommend?

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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby EMarsh on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 12:55 am

Nice thread - will have a think and throw together a personal list. I'll go for the moments that meant the most, and those that will live long in the memory. I have plenty to choose from, but picking a 'top 10' is actually quite easy. As I have mere hours left until I go back to work, I may as well spend them doing something that requires thinking, rather than ploughing through my Christmas DVD pile. :biggrin: :grin:

With regard to UKAR's list, I only witnessed two of those moments in person, but from the descriptions, people's comments at the time and some of the DVD-based material I've seen, they are certainly some of the key stand-out moments from last season. Particularly hard to argue with the 'big' moments like the formations!
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby DaveGriff on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 2:53 am

Quite honestly, regardless of the quality of the display, just seeing 558 in the air was beyond special. There were many other displays which deserve probably more credit, but that much metal in the air does it for me. End of story!
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Mictheslik on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 8:34 am

I think it's a pretty good list (although I'd put #5 at the top :D)

I'd also put forward a case for the Hunter/Spitfire duo at Kemble on the Saturday, beginning their run in just as the low sun popped out behind a cloud....lovely :clap:

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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby timuss on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 11:49 am

No place for the MH434 finale at Biggin in particular the Sunday :shock:
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby F-86 on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 12:53 pm

It looks like it was a tough year for choices when a C-17 landing and taking off is the No.1 airshow moment of the year, as already said No.5 should be No.1. Then there was John Romain's display in the Spitfire at Shoreham which was a superb piece of flying as was the OFMC pair at the october show. The show at kemble had the the Hunter/Spitfire duo which must be worthy of a mention too.
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby LN Strike Eagle on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 1:02 pm

They're listed in chronological order. :wink:
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby F-86 on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 1:20 pm

LN Strike Eagle wrote:They're listed in chronological order. :wink:

So what was the top airshow moment then. I thought that the idea of a top ten was, least favourite to most favourite. :wink:
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby StevenH on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 1:36 pm

A king-air display and a C17 take-off and landing in the top ten? Doesn't bode well for 2010...
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Ben H on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 2:21 pm

StevenH wrote:A king-air display


Were you at RIAT on the Sunday? It was more of a 'moment' than the display itself; It had been raining pretty persistently and in monumental amounts for the whole day, so much so that the very large majority of the FRIAT stand had gone inside the tent or elsewhere at the end of the RNZAF 757 display. Only a few people (myself included) stayed for the King Air display, but as the first few bars of 'Mr Blue Sky' rang out across the tannoy a large break in the clouds appeared which bathed the whole display in warm afternoon light. Just as the song wound up and Leon made his final pass, the clouds closed over again. It was magical!
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby F-86 on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 2:47 pm

Random wrote:
StevenH wrote:A king-air display


Were you at RIAT on the Sunday? It was more of a 'moment' than the display itself; It had been raining pretty persistently and in monumental amounts for the whole day, so much so that the very large majority of the FRIAT stand had gone inside the tent or elsewhere at the end of the RNZAF 757 display. Only a few people (myself included) stayed for the King Air display, but as the first few bars of 'Mr Blue Sky' rang out across the tannoy a large break in the clouds appeared which bathed the whole display in warm afternoon light. Just as the song wound up and Leon made his final pass, the clouds closed over again. It was magical!

King Air and magical in the same post, that's twice you have been drinking. The last time you ended up with a MG in pink. :grin:
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby StevenH on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 2:50 pm

Yes I was at RIAT on Sunday, but I'd already left before that went on. We soldiered on for the majority of the programme to get most of the displays but had finally suffered enough as the 757 was up. I understand that it must have been a magic 'moment' but I still think that surely there was something 'deliberate' on the part of a pilot, organiser etc akin to Dawlish V/Reds or FW190 etc that merited inclusion ahead of a coincidence (albeit an enjoyable one I'm sure, although the fact it was the King-Air would have killed my excitement after such a day in the first place)?

Still, that's just me, maybe I'm too 'conventional' in my thinking.

The B-52 and Vulcan 'formating' on the runway the same day perhaps (despite the lack of a flying element)?
Last edited by StevenH on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby phreakf4 on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 3:24 pm

My personal view is that I go to a flying display to see the aircrew display their skills. Whether the aircraft involved is a multi-million dollar fly-by-wire air superiority fighter or a Tiger Moth, the crew try just as hard (maybe harder in such as a Tiger) to provide a good display. I suspect that the KingAir display, involving as it does, manoeuvres which one does not normally associate with such a type, perhaps reflects better on the aircrew's ability than a near-sonic pass on full burner from an F-18. The expectation that a Typhoon or Rafale display is always good whereas a KingAir display can only be boring, no matter the circumstances, seems to me to be almost an insult to the crews involved, as though the piloting skills are irrelevant. That is not to say that I do not enjoy fast jet displays ( I would not have been attending IAT/RIAT for more than 30 years if I did not) just that I can appreciate the skills shown by an Extra 300 display just as mich.

It is seeing an aircraft doing something out of the ordinary which is one of the things that makes an outstanding display for me, not how much power the type has available from its engine(s).

That is what made the Virgin747/Reds display so memorable. I think we enthusiasts tend to become somewhat blase' when assesing the quality of displays, a point I have raised several times on here. Unfortunately this seems to be the way of life now in so many fields, where image is far more important than content.

Regarding the list itself, I agree that MH434 at Biggin (on the Sunday especially) is certainly deserving of a place in there but it would be difficult to decide which item it would replace.
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby StevenH on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 4:00 pm

I can appreciate a good display by anything, be it a fast jet or a GA team. I enjoyed the Swift Display Team at Kemble 2007 more than I enjoyed the Dutch F16 at RIAT last year. I enjoy the Blades more than I enjoy Patrulla Aguila, I enjoyed seeing the FW190 more than I did the A10 at RIAT 2003, I am not a simple 'noisy things' aviation fanboy. I've got nothing against the skills of the King Air display pilot at all, I just find the type uninspiring as a display aircraft, in my opinion. My point was not related to the quality of the King-Air display anyway, more my personal 'disagreement' with the moment chose. Anyway this is going off topic, so I'll shut up from here.
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Ben H on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 8:06 pm

F-86 wrote:King Air and magical in the same post, that's twice you have been drinking. The last time you ended up with a MG in pink. :grin:


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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Russ on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 8:32 pm

StevenH wrote:A king-air display and a C17 take-off and landing in the top ten? Doesn't bode well for 2010...

Doesn't sound like you've bothered to read the captions Steve.
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby 225Mriya on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 9:04 pm

Can't really argue with the list - though maybe the vulcan take-off and wingover was even more dramatic at Leuchars than at RIAT. My number 1 moment of the decade, let alone 2009 was watching the Vulcan display at Windermere from the opposite hill. If a repeat happens again this year I think I might have to start walking to the viewpoint at midnight to get a spec!
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby EMarsh on Sun 03 Jan 2010, 5:53 pm

My failure to get out of bed before 12pm prevented me from going to North Weald for the New Year fly-in, so I've had a bit of time on my hands. As such, here is my self-indulgent "Top 10". Well, part of it. The allure of the final episode of 'Generation Kill' on DVD was too much to resist. Subsequently, I present only the first part of my list, in the order in which I'd rank the 'moments'.

#10 - B25 trio & P40 Kittyhawk sequence - Flying Legends 2009
This set piece saw John Romain (apologies - not sure who was co-piloting on the day) leading a trio of Mitchells in a tight tail chase. Not only was this the first time in 13 years that a trio of Mitchells have appeared at a European airshow, it was also the last UK airshow appearance by ex-TFC B25 'Grumpy', which departed Duxford for the USA just weeks later. Joining them - and beating up the airfield at high speed and low level - was Nick Grey in Christian Amara's P40 'Little Jeannie'. Particularly memorable from the sequence was the Mitchell scramble and the P40's aileron rolls, close and fast. The 'moment within a moment' would surely have to be the minute or so where the Mitchells and P40 shared the sky with the trio of Yaks (3 & two 9s) departing from both the grass and hard runways. Really quite spectacular and noteworthy for the reasons described above.

#9 - Dagling debut at Old Warden
The first time the Shuttleworth Collection's 'Dagling' German glider appeared at Old Warden in June, piloted by (I believe) 'Willy' Hacket - though it may have been Frank Chapman - and released from the Collection's new Piper Super Cub. I'll have to dig out my photos. In calm, sunny conditions, the Dagling wowed the crowds at the end of the show with a graceful, sedate routine. The perfect landing was rightfully followed by an ovation from the crowds. The Dagling has since become quite a favourite at Old Warden, but nothing beats seeing that first display.

#8 - Vickers Vimy at the Goodwood Revival
In her penultimate display prior to retirement to Brooklands, the Vimy flew a surprisingly tight display at Goodwood, with the machine kept well within the airfield boundaries. Poignantly flown in the early evening, the sun had long disappeared below the clouds lining the horizon, but the sky remained a pinkish red - the perfect backdrop for a wonderful aircraft. The spellbinding display ended, somewhat appropriately and poignantly, with a very impressive spiral climb, similar to that flown by another famous V-bomber just a few hours earlier. It was a fitting, emotional finale to this aircraft's career and the sight of her climbing into the red sky will live long in the memory.

#7 - Edwardians at twilight - Old Warden, September 2009
The finale to the magnificent 'Meet the Pilots' event hosted by the Shuttleworth Collection, which was in itself one of the true highlights of last (and any) season, saw the full compliment of Edwardian aircraft take to the skies. As with the Vimy, the sun had long since passed below the horizon, leaving these old ladies of the air to display in near perfect conditions. No cloud, no wind - the sight, sound and smell of some remarkable machines. It was pure airshow magic - a lot like the event in its entirety!

#6 - Battle of Britain set piece, Shoreham
The BoB scramble and dogfight has become the centrepiece of the Shoreham airshow; a refined, masterfully choreographed 40-minute sequence featuring multiple warbird elements interspersed with ground action courtesy of the "Dad's Army" re-enactors. This year saw the 4th scramble, featuring four Spitfires, two Hurricanes, the Buchon and an Me108. The 'battle' began with the Me108 (Dan Griffith) and Me109 (Cliff Spink) straffing the airfield, with multiple pyrotechnic, straffing and flak effects, along with the traditional air raid siren. This led to the scramble of Dave Harvey and Keith Dennison in the Hurricane XII and Hurricane I, who intercepted the Hun and engaged them in a lengthy, twisting dogfight over the Downs. Eventually the RAF won the day, leaving the Hurricanes to fly a celebratory tail-chase before breaking into the circuit, leaving the stage clear for Cliff Spink to put the Buchon through her paces. During the earlier dogfight, four Spitfires had scrambled and formated to the east. With the Buchon's solo complete, Russ Alchorne (sp?) led Charlie Brown, John Romain and Dave Ratcliffe in a box-four of Spitfires over the field. After a couple of formation passes, they broke into a tail-chase, which lasted several minutes, before Charlie Brown in HAC's Spitfire V BM597 broke off from the stream whilst the other machines recovered. As Churchill's voice echoed over the tannoy, Mr Brown put on a typically excellent Spitfire solo, flying cubans, rolls, loops and topside passes galore. To top it all off, the weather on both days couldn't have been better. Blue skies and plenty of August sun, with airliner contrails providing an appropriate, emotive backdrop to the whole thing. Just brilliant.

Numbers 1-5 coming soon...
EMarsh

Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Finningley Boy on Sun 03 Jan 2010, 8:23 pm

I couldn't disagree with anything on the list. My personal favourite would be the Rafale solo. If I were to suggest a personal best moment which isn't on the list, it would have to be Matt Whitfield's Sea Vixen solo. His display in XP924 at Kemble stands out, but also his impromptu short display at Biggin Hill on the Sunday and the early evening slot at Culdrose when the sun made an eventual appearance were gold dust as well! :biggrin:

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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Chris P on Sun 03 Jan 2010, 8:26 pm

225Mriya wrote: My number 1 moment of the decade, let alone 2009 was watching the Vulcan display at Windermere from the opposite hill. If a repeat happens again this year I think I might have to start walking to the viewpoint at midnight to get a spec!


My feelings as well.. totally awesome in that enviroment
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby StevenH on Mon 04 Jan 2010, 12:57 am

Russ wrote:
StevenH wrote:A king-air display and a C17 take-off and landing in the top ten? Doesn't bode well for 2010...

Doesn't sound like you've bothered to read the captions Steve.

Doesn't sound like you've bothered to check for any follow-up posts Russ. :wink:
StevenH

Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Liveforriat on Mon 04 Jan 2010, 11:30 am

Thought the Gripen Dump and Burn was a good one at RIAT :)
Was once Liveforriat2007 but that wasnt a great year so Ive decided to simply live for RIAT period.
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Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby EMarsh on Mon 04 Jan 2010, 2:06 pm

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[/url]

Thanks for looking!
EMarsh

Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Rob Leigh on Mon 04 Jan 2010, 4:07 pm

Random wrote:
Ark. Grey!

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:grin:


Would that be Strawberry Grey?
Rob Leigh

Re: Top Ten Airshow Moments of 2009

Postby Ben H on Mon 04 Jan 2010, 4:12 pm

You're all custards, the lot of you! :tongue:
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