by Baron Halpenny, LincsMag Editor.
Date: 03 July 2012
RAF Waddington International Air Show once more proved to be a huge success and despite the temperamental weather ... Saturday starting wet and then becoming sunny with Sunday doing a flip as it started sunny to later become wet ... over 125,000 vistors attended to enjoy the RAF’s largest Air display.
The curtain raiser to this year’s spectacular air show was a flypast by the RAF Waddington based E-3D Sentry, of 8 Squadron and the Sentinel from 5 Squadron, along with a flying display by the E-3D.
Following this there was just one fantastic display after another from a rich variety of aircraft from the agile Chinook helicopter to the Dutch F16.
This year had an unprecedented line-up of international display flying from the UK, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Austria, USA, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The flying display was further bolstered with an impressive line-up of aircraft in the static line–up from: UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Algeria and Qatar.
Our own Lincolnshire based Red Arrows and the Blades, UK's only full-time civilian aerobatic team, gave superb displays and there were outstanding display teams from around the world giving the crowds hours of pleasure ...
The Italian Frecce Tricolori who had definitely a unique ground performance as first the Italian aircraft blasted out the Italian national flag in coloured smoke, to the sound of the Italian national anthem, before then taking to the skies to entertain the crowds.
The Saudi Hawks display, flying 6 BAe Hawk jets, were a joy to watch, though seeing the distinct shape of the Hawk in the sky the member of public, with only a passing interest in aviation displays, could be excused from thinking they were seeing the Red Arrows.
These Hawks, however, were painted in green and white, the national colours of Saudi Arabia and represented the Royal Saudi Air Force whose first time it was to attend the Waddington International Air Show.
The similarity and connection however didn't stop at just using the same aircraft as the world famous Red Arrows, as the team’s Airshow Advisor was no stranger to the Lincolnshire skies for Sqn Ldr Simon Rea is a serving RAF officer, who left the Red Arrows to take up an exchange position with the Saudi team. He has certainly done an excellent job judging by the fine performance of the Saudi Hawks.
The Black Eagles Aerobatic Team from the Republic of Korea Air Force made their first appearance outside Asia at the RAF Waddington Air Show. Eight T-50 Golden Eagles each painted in a striking black, white and gold colour scheme were flown by the team, and such was their demonstration that they won best display at Waddington Air Show.
You can read more about the Black Eagles in our article HERE!
The familiar Avro Lancaster bomber escorted by two Spitfires from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight brought nostalgic presence to the Air Show and acted as a timely reminder for not just the members of Bomber Command who lost over 55,000 aircrew during World War II, but also for all Service personnel who lost their lives during that war.
The Saab 340 AEW&C, sometimes called ‘Argus’, made a welcome return to the air show where along with the RAF Sentry AEW Mk1, the Boeing Wedgetail from Australia and the Royal Navy’s venerable Sea Kings ASACS there was a mixed range of Airborne Early Warning aircraft giving the public an insight into the world of Combat ISTAR.
The SAAB 2000 and Argus with the Austrian Air Force SAAB 105 and Czech Air Force SAAB JAS 35 Gripen made a unique SAAB Group presence.
Combat ISTAR, which means Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance, is RAF Waddington’s primary role, and provides support to allied forces at home for national security and in operational theatres.
The combat ISTAR theme is an enduring theme for the Air Show and the participation of the RAAF ISTAR aircraft will give visitors the chance to see a different and new type of platform with an ISTAR capability.
RAAF involvement at the Air Show reinforces the strong links between Australia and Lincolnshire, where many RAAF personnel were based during the Second World War, and more recently at RAF Waddington which has a number of personnel on exchange tours between their respective military Services.
In total the air show included over 7 hours of flying displays and more than 65 static display aircraft and on the Sunday Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton inspected the show.
Mr Paul Sall, Air Show director said “The Air Show has incorporated a lot on new innovations this year while building on the successes of previous Shows. Thanks to superb assistance from the local emergency services and the local authorities, we have been able to hold a wonderful event, allowing us to showcase the RAF’s capabilities to families and aviation enthusiasts alike. I hope everyone has had an enjoyable and memorable day at RAF Waddington.”
All the proceeds from the RAF Waddington Air Show are donated to the RAF Association (RAFA) and the RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF). Some £2.7 million has been raised since the first air show in 1995.
RAF Waddington will throw open their gates and be welcoming the public again next year for the 2013 Air Show on 6-7 July.
To see more pictures from the RAF Waddington International Air Show 2012, visit the Album on our Facebook page HERE!