Overall a great day, but wanted to add a few points about the day haven’t really been mentioned yet.
Whilst the excellent amount of static items was very nice to see, the lack of signage for some of the aircraft (especially the older aircraft out of the museum) was apparent when members of the public were heard wondering what the aircraft were. Fair play to GJD Services for all the airframes they provided for the event (GJD's museum should be worth a visit). Along with GJD, the Museum and Engineering squadron aircraft, the Gulf War painted trio and Meteor to Tornado line ups made for some great images. Foreign air crews were also very friendly – made it feel much more like RIAT in that aspect, with the Dutch NH90 crew happy for us to take some pics after a pedantic press photographer got his shots
I know the Pakistani Hercules cancelled, but there was a definite lack of an interactive ‘heavy’ aircraft within the static park, especially considering how well the static A400M went down in 2017. There also felt like a general lack of current RAF aircraft on static – a Tucano, Prefect, Viking and the two DHFS being the only RAF airframes? (I’m not including the Chinook/Tucano etc. parked on the flightline as static items). Will certainly make me appreciate the 23 currently serving aircraft the RAF are due to send to RIAT for their static line-up.
Whilst it was a hot day, quite a few of the RAF personnel behind the cones seemed to enjoy setting up their chairs/WI Meetings right under the wings of the aircraft, and in some cases royally taking the mick (who knew the Qinetiq Harrier made such a good sunshade in the evening light?)
Flying display was the best at Cosford in my memory – makes a change to be complaining about too much sun at Cosford after recent years. It definitely felt very slickly put together, other than the long gap before the Anson where the commentary was just dead air, which didn’t help. When the commentary was working, Ben Dunnell was a breath of fresh air for Cosford – showing his clear enthusiasm and proper research, particularly during the foreign fast jet acts, although being further back in the huge crowd meant that the commentary was only just audible at times.
Organising the MiG-29/Hurricane has to take some plaudits – not going to get that view again in the foreseeable future. Shame the Dutch KDC-10 cancelled, but it’s almost to be expected when one of their two aircraft are announced for an airshow appearances. Personally, the foreign participants blew the RAF displays out of the park – maybe it was due to the RAF segment being pushed to the end of a very hot and long day, but the Typhoon / Chinook just didn’t meet the excitement levels as other acts did on the day. Tornado flypast was certainly a highlight, although it does just make you realise how the type is slowly but surely being retired without any sort of major celebration. The hawk flypast seemed to bank of rather prematurely too, but was nice to see. The Sycamore, Anson & Pembroke were personal highlights from the civilian displays – however there did seem to be a gap in the form of some cold war jets in the flying display (say what you want about regulations etc. blah blah blah), but was nice to see a good chronology.
Whilst Cosford may not always be blessed with the best weather, a series of RIAT-style water bowsers would have been ideal on Sunday – and would have meant the hundreds of plastic bottles of water wouldn’t have been needed to be given out at the end of the show and thrown about the site after most stalls sold out.
Not going to go too in-depth about the entry/exit situation, but we were parked up and walking the static by 8am, having narrowly avoided being in the lane for the dreaded off-site parking – a definite lack of signage and communication about that turn off meant a few people I spoke to on the day had no idea they were being directed to park so far from the flight line.
A very enjoyable day overall, but it certainly felt that it could have been an effective two-day event.
2024 - Midlands AF, Cosford, Sywell, RIAT etc...