Headcorn Air Show

Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby itfcscott on Fri 05 Jul 2019, 9:50 pm

Your chances have got much better now there are two coming.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby mavvymoo on Sat 06 Jul 2019, 2:12 pm

Nice little show this. Long pauses are made up for by much closer display than I’ve seen at Duxford for example. Great view from our tent which I’d say is about 50 yards from the crowd line.
Last edited by mavvymoo on Thu 15 Aug 2019, 9:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Blackbird on Sat 06 Jul 2019, 10:33 pm

Although I enjoyed what there was, I did come away (earlyish- more below) feeling a bit disappointed.

I was delayed on the way there by a hold-up caused by temporary traffic lights controlling a four-way junction which caused a delay of around 20 minutes. I fully understand that was not the organisers fault. However... standing in a queue for 40 mins to get in so someone can look at your ticket and give you a wrist band is absolutely down to the organisers :mad: . It was nothing short of shambolic. They were clueless - and I'm being very polite. They were grossly understaffed and they will have had a very good idea of numbers from the online ticket sales. It also meant that those using the disabled car park were supposed to join the long queue that started in the further car park which strikes me as bonkers.

It was refreshingly quiet in the area towards to museum, but correspondingly rammed along the "showground area" unless you went right down to the far end. The area between the trade stalls and the boundary was very narrow while there was a very big empty field behind the stalls. That seemed totally unnecessary - why not use the space? There were also long gaps between the displays which I found tedious, and I have to disagree with mavvymoo as I didn't think the displays were noticeably closer. And I came away a bit earlier, around 4.00, as I feared getting out of the car park would be a nightmare. Whether it was I don't know.

It did give me the opportunity to try out my Sony for the second time with some different settings after a disaster at last month's OW show, and I do seem to have got to grips with it - or got lucky :smile: ! On a quick look, I do seem to have a good proportion of half decent photos whereas most of the OW shots were out of focus.

I'd be interested to hear what others thought.

Andy :smile:
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Flyforfun on Sun 07 Jul 2019, 10:31 am

If you pay the gate price it's not worth it, it's spaced out with a few lovely fighters and lots of advertising on the commentary for aero legends which became boring.
BBMF were good which wouldn't have been said years ago :) .
Andy by leaving early you missed the 3 hurricanes and 3 spits taking off.
Getting out was easy,although some poor person got run over in the car park ! air ambulance arrived so hope they are ok.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Blackbird on Sun 07 Jul 2019, 10:58 pm

Flyforfun wrote:Andy by leaving early you missed the 3 hurricanes and 3 spits taking off.
Getting out was easy,although some poor person got run over in the car park ! air ambulance arrived so hope they are ok.


Ah yes, but I saw the seven Hurricanes at OW today. :biggrin:

I am very sorry to learn that someone had to be airlifted out of the car park and do hope they're OK.

Andy
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby UKTopgun on Mon 08 Jul 2019, 6:52 am

The show this year did lack a little variety I think, resulting in 3 separate para drops to fill time. Aircraft such as the Devon from last year were missed.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby mavvymoo on Mon 08 Jul 2019, 11:31 am

Having travelled from Leeds we camped from Friday and expected Shenley Lane to be absolutely static when the gates opened each day, but I had a couple of family members living locally join us on each day with comparative ease although we did also suffer the four way traffic control on the way out yesterday.

Camping was well organised with sufficient toilets and showers despite there apparently being more than double the number of campers compared to last year. At £80 for four to camp for the weekend it turned out to be good value providing you didn't build it up in your mind and were prepared for lengthy pauses.

The big space at the western end of the site mentioned by Andy was the unused camping space and designated overflow car park, and perhaps it could have been used for disabled visitors, but the ground was hard and uneven in places and may have been problematic for some people with mobility problems. It would also have placed them further away from what seemed the busier part of the crowd line.

When we took a walk up to the hangar end of the airfield where the day entrance was, the crowd line was congested and the stalls did seem too close to the crowdline, but the permanent fence that runs at right angles to the runway just over halfway down the crowd line presumably encloses something else for the other 362 days of the year had the effect of discouraging day visitors to spread out in that direction, which made it nice for the campers who were treated to fast low take off runs on the Saturday, and then the beginning of the take off run when the very gentle breeze switched direction overnight. By mid-afternoon on Sunday, the western end was as a result very sparsely populated between the stalls and the crowd line

There is absolutely no doubt to me that the grass airstrip seemed much closer to the crowd line than Fairford, perhaps its narrowness supported an optical illusion but looking at Google maps today, I can see that the crowdline fence is 40m from the runway centreline so perhaps it just looked closer. There was no room for the C47 to taxi down the side of the runway on the crowd side, which was well used by parked fighters with enough room for them to taxi down and be nice and close to the crowd and ensured anything that wasn't tied down got blown away by the prop wash - I never saw how the VIPs in their picket fenced section coped with the cucumber sandwiches achieving cartoon status when the warbirds started up ten metres away! :whistle: The proximity of the taxi strip to the crowdline (however long a Spitfire is plus 5m) meant bags of opportunities to see the aircraft taxi very closely.

Was it RIAT? No it wasn't and anyone expecting a seamless and pacy list of performances was on the wrong bus from the start, but was it value for money? Well compared to Scampton a couple of years ago it was absolutely worth it in my opinion, although my sister (herself on a free ticket courtesy of us only being able to buy camping passes for four) thought the £17.50 she might have paid was poor value, and she went to Farnborough last year! On the other hand people around us thought it was great, and like us are planning for next year. Undoubtedly the organisers won't have pleased all the people all of the time, but from our point of view - and taking the weekend as a whole - they nailed it. Kent is a place where WWII and the Battle of Britain in particular are remembered strongly, and the prevalence of re-enactors and period militaria made for a good ground display whenever the flying paused.

Looking to the flying performances themselves, the BBMF did put on a really good display, albeit they did take the fictitious trophy for furthest display from the crowdline - but it was still really dynamic. The Buchon v Spitfire segment was good too, and well supported by the commentator on the Sunday with air raid sirens, and simulation of a scramble call (after which the Spitfire sat on the ground for so long a real Me109 would have gone home on bingo fuel :lmao: ) but again a great run around the skies with some cracking photo opportunities in the Kent sunshine.

Special mention for the Stampe team who managed to pull off the Red Arrows Gypo Break albeit at 70mph. Lots of tight circle tail chasing made a great - if sedate - spectacle too.

It might not have been WWII, but the Devon was missed, and with the gaps in the programme, it would have been nice to have got the Chipmunk up but at least as a fly-in it was there to be seen on the ground.
Last edited by mavvymoo on Tue 09 Jul 2019, 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Roger_Over on Mon 08 Jul 2019, 7:05 pm

Overall – I enjoyed it and thought it was value for money.

I did a 600 mile round trip from Durham so stayed both days, the things I really wanted to see were the Devon/Spitfire formation and Sally B with two Daks. Serviceability scuppered the Devon and one of the Daks but that’s always the risk.

I admit to having a slightly decreasing tolerance towards tripping over peoples dogs, people putting up golf umbrellas in front of me, I thought the catering and merchandise could have been moved back a bit to make the crowd line less claustrophobic in places.

My first visit to Headcorn, the site has a nice feel to it and you can imagine it as an operational WW2 station, the flight line was close with an interesting mix of aircraft. My favourite thing is cold war jets but I have a general love of aviation, the Stampe team were great, Sally B + Drag Em Oot flypasts were impressive as were the round chute para drops and I’m amazed one of the paras didn’t end up hanging from an oak tree! The USAF Harvard display was good but could have been more memorable if they got the two smart looking USN painted Stearmans on the flight line airborne as a formation of four historic US trainers.

The gaps in the programme were understandable, it may not have had the polish we expect at a big show but it had charm. Weather wasn’t great for photography with low cloud and backlit skies especially Sunday but I was happy enough at the west end watching stuff taking off and landing and seeing the four Hurricane display was also a highlight. Is there a collective noun for Hurricanes? A storm of them perhaps.

I’d go again.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Stagger2 on Tue 09 Jul 2019, 10:32 am

[quote] Is there a collective noun for Hurricanes? [quote]
UK Summer? :whistle:
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby AlexC on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 10:39 am

Blackbird wrote:However... standing in a queue for 40 mins to get in so someone can look at your ticket and give you a wrist band is absolutely down to the organisers :mad: . It was nothing short of shambolic.


They need to talk to the people at Oshkosh. They use a wrist band system, getting in being quick and easy.

Anyone got any shots of the two smart looking USN Stearman's?
Last edited by AlexC on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby LN Strike Eagle on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 10:40 am

AlexC wrote:
Blackbird wrote:However... standing in a queue for 40 mins to get in so someone can look at your ticket and give you a wrist band is absolutely down to the organisers :mad: . It was nothing short of shambolic.


They need to talk to the people at Oshkosh. They use a wrist band system, getting in being quick and easy.

Entry was fixed overnight at Headcorn - it took us 55 minutes on Saturday, down to just 5 minutes on Sunday, despite arriving at the same time. They were aware that things hadn't gone smoothly and changed it for the second day. :up:
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby AlexC on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 10:44 am

LN Strike Eagle wrote:Entry was fixed overnight at Headcorn - it took us 55 minutes on Saturday, down to just 5 minutes on Sunday, despite arriving at the same time. They were aware that things hadn't gone smoothly and changed it for the second day. :up:


Well, that's good to hear. :up:
Pte. Aubrey Gerald Harmer, R. Suss. R. (att. to the Sherwood Foresters) KIA 26/9/1917 Polygon Wood, aged 19, NKG. RIP
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Roger_Over on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 4:15 pm

Hi AlexC, I've tried uploading pics to Google Photos and linking to them with but no joy I just get error message 'It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image'

I'll figure it out but in the mean time if you Google 'Stearman 143' and 'Stearman 227' you can see plenty of good photos of both via the images tab.

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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby LN Strike Eagle on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 4:17 pm

The Stearmans were from North Weald (N63590) and Woodchurch (G-NZSS).

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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby Blackbird on Thu 11 Jul 2019, 9:18 pm

AlexC wrote: Anyone got any shots of the two smart looking USN Stearman's?


Happy to oblige!
Image610A3047 by Andrew Shaw, on Flickr

Image610A3040 by Andrew Shaw, on Flickr

Sorry, didn't see them flying.

Andy :smile:
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Re: Headcorn Air Show

Postby UK Airshow Review on Sun 14 Jul 2019, 7:32 pm

  • "Soaring in Value" - Dan Butcher was in attendance across both days of the 2019 Aero Legends Headcorn 'Battle of Britain' Airshow.

    Image Image Image
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