2005 Edition

 

 

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Redhill Remembers.

60 Years On - The Warbirds
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Special Guests
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The Redhill Airshow 2005 saw a marked change over previous events. It still retained it's own unique garden party style atmosphere, but the whole event hss grown. Thanks to the New Oppuntunities Lottery Fund, the show boasted much more participation from the military and warbirds content as part of a series of events in East Surrey marking the 60th Anniversary of the end of the second world war. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of Author.

60 Years On - The Modern Day Armed Forces
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Sports Flying
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60 Years On - Redhill Today - The Residents
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 The first clues that this years Redhill show was slightly different came to light in Spring, long before any official publicity was released, as the RAF display team schedules started to be released. First to appear on the list was the Tornado F3, quite a coup for a small airshow like Redhill. Over the coming months Hawk and Tucano were both added. Then came the Official publicity and it read like the headline acts for many of the big shows! The show also promised 1000 free tickets to veterens as part of the "60 Years On" Themed events being held in East Surrey; a nice touch by the organisers.

Huey Debut

Bell UH-1H Iroquois 72-21509 made it's first appearance at a UK airshow at Redhill on static display. The aircraft was infact rebuilt at Redhill following being imported from the US. The "Huey's" history is quite staggering and it's is really the Mustang or Spitfire of rotary aviation following it's exploits in Vietnam and other conflicts around the world. This actual airframe served in Vietnam between 1972 and 1973. It's next appearance is due to be at the RAF Leuchars Airshow and hopefully will soon be able to appear in flying displays. For more information please vsiit http://www.huey.co.uk

Come show day, it was clear that this was a bigger event than usual with extra car parking and public transport links put on for an the larger crowds expected. Thankfully however, the show had not lost it "garden party" atmosphere that makes this show so appealing. Sadly though, the weather around the country really didn't play ball and there was a much smaller fly-in as a result. However, it was really good to see a lot of effort put in by the based companies such as London Helicopter Centres, Cubair and of course Acebell with static displays and open hangers. Acebell is a very interesting company and you probably seen plenty of their work at airshows around the country. They main line of work is the maintenance of vintage biplanes such as Tiger Moths and Stampes. They also have one or two special projects in their hangers, not least the maintenance of the totally unique Rollason Redwing and Spartan Arrow biplanes. Redhill is a hive of helicopter operations. Not only can you learn to fly Helicopters at a number of schools based at Redhill, but there are a number of executive charter operations and Bristow Helicopters have a major maintenance base here supporting the North Sea Oil Rig and Search and Rescue fleets.

There were a few aircraft on static display. Most notable of these was the newly arrived UH-H Iroquois which had been rebuilt at Redhill following import from the US. Also on display was the familiar Percival Pembroke C1 of Percy Airlines parked next another interesting Redhill resident. Over the last few years, a De Havilland Dove has been restored at Redhill in full RAF Transport Command markings though the airframe is really a Royal Navy Heron. Another example, the Mayfair Dove was giving pleasure flights over Surrey throughout the morning.

The show was opened by a parachute jump by the Parachute Regiment's display team, the Red Devils. It was an unusual jump for the team as they had left there usual Britten Norman Islander at home and instrad dropped from the RAF Chinook HC2. Full marks to the team, RAF and show orgainsers then for putting on something unique. Redhill Aerodrome is very close to London Gatwick Airport, and as such is very restricted so the team could only drop from 2000ft. It was still an impressive display of rapid descents and biplane stacks.

The first RAF participation of the day was the Shorts Tucano T1 flown by Flt Lt Ben Mark. Even Ben was restricted to a rolling show thanks to the proximity to Gatwick. Because there are no hard runways at Redhill, Ben flew in from Shoreham Airport where he had been based for the much larger show at Eastbourne. This was the second year that full RAF displays have been seen at the show. The next display was a look back at the basic trainer 60 years ago, the De Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth. This example K2572 and is based a White Waltham.  Tiger Moths are part of Redhill History. Not only were they based here before the war as part of the RAF Elementary and Reserve Training Schools (14FTS) between 1938 and 1940, but Redhill was home to the Tiger Club now based at Headcorn in Kent.

In complete contrast to the Tiger Moth was perhaps the show star, the Panavia Tornado F3 from No 56(R) sqn, RAF Leuchars. This aircraft operated out of nearby Biggin Hill Airport and was also part of the Eastboure show. It's display at Redhill has to be one of the tightest the crew have to perform due to the proximity of Gatwick to the south and the hills to the north. The Tornado shattered the relative peace of the Aerodrome and Nutfield Village with it's noisy display of low passes and rolling aerobatics culminating in the tradtional fast past before returning to Biggin Hill. Further RAF fast jet participation came from the solo Hawk T1 display from No 208 sqn based at RAF Valley making it's second appearance in the skies above Redhill. Like the Tornado it was also based at Biggin Hill and was also at Eastbourne. Flt Lt Phil Diacon flew towards the end of the display and had to contend with particularly dark skies.

The RAF also supplied the award winning Chinook HC2 display fresh from it's duties as the Red Devils dropship. It was the first helicopter display at the Redhill airshow that we can remember and is somewhat surprising considering the major role in helicopter operations Redhill serves. Flt Lt Carl Zarecky made good use of the small display arena although tweaked his display slightly to avoid blowing away some of the light aircraft!

The flying display also featured sports and aerobatics aircraft, a number of which are based at Redhill. First Redhill resident was Justyn Gorman in his Vans RV-4 kit plane. Justyn put on a very accurate display to music in the fading light but at least it remained dry. Not something that could be said for Pete Rutherford's display in hs Pitts S1 Special who had to content with the heaviest downpour of the afternoon. Despite the rain Pete continued with his display deserved a medal for doing so. Much more modern aerobatic machinery came in the form of Richard Pickin's CAP 232EX and a very punchy display of unlimited aerobatics.

However, with a show themed around "60 Years On" it came as little surprise there was significant participation from Warbirds. First overhead were the spectacular duo of Old Flying Machine Company Spitfire LFIXb and P-51D Mustang Ferocious Frankie led by Nigel Lamb. The pair put on a formation routine before spitting into individual displays showing off the performance and classic lines of these famous fighters, both of which were based at Redhill in RAF markings during the war. During 1944 the 2nd Tactical Air Force used Redhill as a major base for various marks of Spitfire and RAF Mustangs whicih were pivotal in their role in preparation for and during the D-Day landings.

Two World War Two heavies also made impressive contributions. Aces High's C-47 Dakota appeared on static display and was open to the public throughout the morning before displaying and departing back to her home base of Dunsfold in the afternoon. Of course, the C-47 is famous for it's role in the D-Day landings and Operation Market Garden and would have been a familiar sight in the skies over southern England on their way over the channel. Not such a comman sight in this part of the world would have been the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina. Plane Sailing's new repainted example flew in to give a gentle display in it's new guise as a OA-10A from the 8th Air Force which would have been involved in search and rescue operations looking for downed bomber and fighter crews in the English Channel and North Sea.

 Another martime aircraft on display was the Royal Navy Historic Flight's Hawker Sea Fury FB11 flown in from Yeovilton for a powerful display in one of the few gaps in the clouds! Though too late for the war, the Sea Fury's design is actually based on data collected from a capturesd Fw190. The Sea Fury went on to serve with distinction in the Korean War.

The show was closed by Redhill favourite, P-51D Mustang Big Beatiful Doll flown brilliantly by Rob Davies. Rob has been to many of the previous show and BBD always seems to turns heads whenever she has appeared.

Redhill Airshow 2005 certainly provided a great day day for all the family and a top class atmosphere. Money raised from the show is spread amongst a number of good causes. The main charity is SSAFA and RAFA, though money also goes to support Combat Stress, the Limbless Association and the new Surrey Air Ambulence Project. The show maybe much larger than a few years ago, but it retains much of the charms from those early shows.

 copyright Flightline UK 2005