28 July 2010

Walking around a funfair (Farnborough: Part Two)

 Part One

Once the Airbus A380 had done its thing, it was followed by the Blades, a display of ex-RAF pilots flying four small Extra 300 LP piston aircraft.

Acrobatics in tiny aircraft is something I find a little boring after a while (IMHO), but this one was particularly notable for aircraft changing roll positions at blinking speed. Apparently, 10g was being pulled at times.

That one, a kind of mini-Red Arrows (I'll get to them later), was pretty impressive. During the display; which I kept an eye on, I started to look around the rest of the very large site.

This air show was simply huge. It would take a good fifteen minutes to walk from one end to the other. There were multiple food stalls, several dedicated huts for some of the larger companies and a small funfair for the children.

The US military had its own collection of static aircraft, including an UH-1Y, a MH-60R Seahawk, a F-15E Strike Eagle, a F/A-18E Super Hornet and an F-16C Fighting Falcon Viper.

The biggest thing in the airshow business at the moment is XH558 Spirit of Great Britain. A restored Avro Vulcan nuclear bomber (although it ended its RAF service as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft), it has been wowing air show crowds for the last couple of years, mainly because it looks like a stealth fighter, flies like a stealth fighter and does both of these things despite being built in 1960. It is flown by Martin Winters DFC, who flew XM607 in the first "Black Buck" mission against Port Stanley in May 1982 (read Vulcan 607 for a brilliant account of that)

I've seen a Vulcan before at the RAF Museum in Hendon, but it was pretty impressive to see a flying one, even out on static display. It was due to fly on both public days and had flown earlier in the week, but the plane was found to have a faulty brake on landing that evening and couldn't fly on Sunday.

I looked around the shop, but didn't find anything to buy. Found it a bit odd that it had a 3M logo in the bomb bay.

Seriously though, it's extremely agile for its size.

Part Three

1 comment:

jams o donnell said...

Vulcans are noisy devils!