Scampton Airshow: Our Highlights
Above: Red Arrows taking off to entertain the crowd
The inaugural Scampton Airshow took place on 9th and 10th September 2017 and with over 50000 people in attendance, the organisers are hailing it a great success.
Royal Air Force Scampton has a long and interesting history. The site was used in both the First and Second World Wars, most famously in the latter as the home of squadron 617 known as the Dambusters. However, RAF Scampton's importance as a military site is not just historical, since 1983 it has been home to the RAF Aerobatics Display team, the Red Arrows and so it was fitting that they were the aircraft chosen to open the show.
Accompanied by the Sentinel from nearby RAF Waddington, the Red Arrows performed a flypast at 11am on Saturday to kick off what would be a two day flying programme to entertain and delight. Despite the poor weather conditions, most of the scheduled flights were able to take place on Saturday. In total over the weekend, 104 aircraft took part in the show with 41 in the flying programme and 63 on static display.
Visitors Kept Busy
With lots to see and do across the site, many visitors were kept busy browsing the trade stands and talking to service personnel and representatives in the RAF village. However, the largest draw to the crowdline on Saturday afternoon was reserved for the display by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF). In their sixtieth anniversary year, the sight of the BBMF Lancaster accompanied by a Spitfire and a Hurricane was something not to be missed. In the days leading up to the show there had been some doubts as to whether the BBMF would feature but with the all-clear given on Friday, the crowds assembled in anticipation of what was to be a spectacular display.
The Lancaster was not the only large wartime plane to feature in the two day programme. On both days of the show, visitors were treated to wonderful and evocative displays by the lesser known B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B. This aircraft is privately owned but based at Imperial War Museum Duxford and after watching her graceful display on both days at Scampton, it is not difficult to see why she has such a large following from the loyal 8000 members of the Sally B Supporters Club.
Away from the military focus, visitors on both days of the show were treated to a very entertaining display from Rich Goodwin in his Pitts Special. Flying in a Pitts S2S known as G-EWIZ, the former RAF Tornado GR1 pilot delighted the crowd with all manner of twists and turns. The display was fast and fun in the Union flag colours and it was brilliant to see its return on Sunday when G-EWIZ was chosen to open day two.
Both days of Scampton Airshow included displays by the Red Arrows. However, technical problems with one of the aircraft on Saturday prevented 'Enid' from appearing in the flying programme. This resulted in a much shorter display as the first half of the performance had to be cancelled. Following first day problems, visitors on Sunday waited in anticipation to see whether the Red Arrows line up would be complete. Despite the poor weather conditions and low cloud base, the thousands of visitors were not left disappointed. The Red Arrows performed spectacularly in front of their home crowd including many friends and family who had made the trip to Scampton to see them.
Above: Squadron Leader Mike Ling's daughter celebrating her birthday at the show
Amongst the close connections in the crowd, it was a particularly special day for the family of Sqn Ldr Mike Ling, also known as Red 10. Red 10 was commentating on his last UK performance with the Red Arrows and it was a very special moment for his daughter who was celebrating her second birthday at the show. Following the Red Arrows display, Red 10 ceremoniously handed over the microphone to his successor whilst the crowd applauded.
Above: Squadron Leader Mike Ling (Red 10) ceremoniously handing over the microphone to his successor
A large-scale event such as Scampton Airshow would not be possible without the support of lots of different people including many hundreds of volunteers. As visitors passed the admissions point they were warmly greeted by volunteers known as the Scampton Crew. These helpful and friendly faces were reminiscent of the 2012 London Gamesmakers and with high 5s and stickers for all, the volunteers ensured that the Scampton Airshow was an enjoyable day out for all ages.
Away from the flying programme, many children and young people enjoyed interacting with the teams situated in the Techno Zone. This area supported by companies such as Siemens and Rolls Royce was designed to inspire future generations of engineers through various interactive exhibits. Throughout both days of the show the Techno Zone was literally buzzing with excited young visitors.
Reflecting on the weekend, Scampton Airshow Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said the event's success had exceeded his expectations.
He said: "Launching a new airshow involves a huge amount of planning and I must pay tribute to the many agencies that have come together to deliver a very safe and successful event. We had our fair share of sunshine amongst a few short showers but this failed to dampen the spirits of our very enthusiastic and supportive visitors. It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves over the weekend."
Did you attend the Scampton Airshow? Organisers are very keen to hear feedback on the event and this can be passed to them via the comment cards that were handed out at the exit gates. If you would like to contact the organisers, you can also visit their website at www.scamptonairshow.com