2005 Edition

 

 

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Shoreham Sizzler.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
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Today's RAF
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The Royal Air Forces Association Airshow at Shoreham has become one of the more important shows in the south. There's no doubt that it's a firm favourite with the crowds and pilots alike. This year, the show was held over the particularly busy first weekend of September but was blessed with brilliant sunshine throughout which helped create a record attendace. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of Author.

Spirit of Yesteryear
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Thank God for the Royal Navy
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A Load of Hot Air
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The Beat
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The RAFA Show at Shoreham has become one of the finest airshows in the country in recent years always offering a diverse collection of aircraft in it's flying displays. One of the striking features of this show is that all profit goes to charity, namely the Royal Air Forces Association Wings Appeal that cares for RAF personnel past and present. Hopes are high that this year the Shoreham Airshow will break the £1,000,000 mark - a great achievement for any show. The first weekend of September turned out to be very favourable with warm temperatures and blue skies, and there was notably less haze at Shoreham than at Biggin Hill! Shoreham has fast become a very popular show not only for the public, but also the pilots and other celebrities. Rt Hon Norman Tebbit CH was the patron of the event while other famous visitors included Uri Gellat and Jane Torvil.

Flying with the Birds

It was Christian Moullec's third visit to Shoreham and once again he put on this amazing display of man and birds flying together.

The show was opened once again by Christian Mollec and his amzing display of flying with Geese. Conditions at last year's show meant he was unable to perform his last display of the weekend. A matter of hours later he was on the phone asking to come back. He's a form favourite at Shoreham quite simply because of just how unique a display it is demonstrating not only his flying skills but also those of the geese he flies.

The popularity of the weekend for airshow organisers put a certain amount of pressure on the operators to get to the airshows. The first act to suffer were the Great War Display Team with most of their team displaying at Portrush in Northern Ireland. At Shoreham, they could only muster a pair of the SE5a Replicas flown by Doug Gregory and Des Biggs, the elder statesmen or the airshow world - they are both well into their late seventies. Nevertheless, they put on an unusual display of aerobatics and dogfighting complele with smoke.

Shoreham Peronalities

An important part of any show is the commentary which at Shoreham is done by Peter Eager. However, not only is he responsible for the commmentary, he's also the flying display director. Along with the rest of the volunteer team, Peter spends many of the weeks before the show putting together the flying displays and working out slot times etc. Come show day, he gives the display breifings as well as provding the display commentary and interviewing the pilots and personalities at the show. Thay included Haurel and Lardy and usual antics and taxi driving skills!

Shoreham favourites the Utterly Butterly Barnstormers were another "stretched" by the number of airshows and were only able to bring their usual two ship. The Utterly Buttierlies were heading a fine cast from the world of civilian sports displays. Deny Dobson returned with his usual panache in his Extra EA300XS with limbos and ribbon cutting passes at really really low level. The Honda Dream Team  and Will Curtis took advantage of the date clash with Biggin Hill to appear at Shoreham Airshow for the first time after their performances at Biggin. Another team appearing at both shows was the Red Bull Matadors who used Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey as a based for fuel and smoke oil to perform at both shows. There were, however, two unique acts to Shoreham. The Aerostars team of Yakovlev Yak-52/50s made a welcome visit to Shoreham and were the biggest team at the show while the very unique Lazer aerobatics aircraft made a rare appearance in the hands of Mark Jefferies who even included a little skywriting in his display- SMILE!!!! Contrasting with the power unlimited aerobatics was another amazing display by Guy Westgate in the Fox Glider who was able to perform a full routine of graceful aerobatics including flicks and stalls before landing perfectly to stop just infront on commentator Peter Eager fore a brief chat! Equally elegant though far less aerobatic was the beatiful Proteus De Havilland DH89a Dragon Rapide.

Dennis Kenyon's Last Display

It was a sad day on Sunday as it was Dennis Kenyon's last ever display of his unique helicopter display before he heads off to enjoy retirement. Over the years Dennis has performed at a number of airshows, won the World Helicopter Championships in 1993 and performed stunts in films like "Black Hawk Down." To end the show Dennis provided a very unique proze draw. TYhe public invited to buy a numbered tennis ball which would be one of a thousand dropped by Dennis from his helicopter, the one in or closest to the target winning the star prize.

Much of the show though is given over to historic and modern military aviation, this is of course a RAFA event. As ever, 2005 saw tremendous support from the warbird operators. The Aircraft Restoration Company made a welcome return with a trio of Spitfires from their base at Duxford lead by Rod Dean in Spitfire XIV RN201. Perhaps the most photographed Spitfire of the trio was Spitfire XVI TD248 flown by Pete Kynsey now owned by a syndicate led by AVM Cliff Spink and repainted in the markings of 74sqn (which Cliff was in command of during his RAF years) though with the spurious squadron codes CR-S - Cliff's initials. This isn't an inauthentic as some purists will make out. During the war, many squadron commanders did the same; Johnnie Johnson's JE-J for instance.

Another highly anticipated aircraft was Peter Vacher's Hawker Hurricane I R4118. Flown by Sqn Ldr Al Pinner from the Battle of Britain Memorial the aircraft remained based with the BBMF at Biggin throughout the weekend and made touring appearances. Because of the warm air temperatures, his display had to be cut short to prevent cooking the engine. Due to the rarity of this machine it is flown with great care and sympathy. The rest of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight were out in force too with their Spitfire IIa, Hurricane IIc (LF363) and Dakota C3. On the ground there was another Dakota from Aces High on static display near the terminal.

The enemy was played by James Pittock in the wonderful Messerscmitt Me108 Taifun recreating a daring raid by such an aircraft during the North African Campaign on an Allied base complete with very impressive pyrotechnics (Biggin please take note) and some very energetic flying at low level.Allied Air Power was showcased by three more popular types. Peter Teichman made his Shoreham debut with his P-51D Mustang Jumpin' Jaques while B-17G Flying Fortress Sally-B was making a appearance at one it's favourite airshow venues. Largest aircraft operating from Shoreham was Plane Sailing's Catalina which made an impressive sight on the small airfield.

The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy contributed a noteworthy contingent. The Eurofighter Typhoon T1 made it's Shoreham debut not in the hands of the display pilot, but with Anthony Parkinson at the controls giving a brief glimpse of Typhoon's agility. It is hoped that the full display will be able to be performed at Shoreham in the future. Also making a brief appearance were the Red Arrows on their way to Biggin on Saturday. Sadly, the team remains unable to perform at Shoreham due to Air Traffic restrictions. However there were no such problems for the Harrier GR7A, Hawk T1 (100sqn) or Tucano T1 all of which were able to perform full displays. But again it was the Chinook HC2 that really stole the show - nothing ever prepares you for what a large transport helicopter can really do! On Sunday it really was a case of "Thank God for the Royal Navy." The Organisers were left with a hole in their programme after the RAF Falcons couldn't get to the event. The Royal Navy when hearing of the dilemma offered their own Royal Navy Raiders Parachute Display Team who dropped from the last remained "Black Cat" Lynx. The Navy also sent their solo Lynx HAS3 display as well as the Royal Navy Historic Flight.

Shoreham 2005 was a top class event in excellent weather with plenty to see and do in a beautiful location and one of the most friendly atmospheres on the circuit. The flying display is much more diverse than many others and is certainly great fun to watch with not a dull moment in sight. Well dome Shoreham.

Thanks to John Periam and all the Shoreham Airshow Team for some great hospitality and a great event.

 copyright Flightline UK 2005