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Some airshows come and go. One of the new airshows last year was held at Lydd. After the show there was nothing but praise for this new event in Kent; it therefore had to be on the Flightline Uk list for 2007. Summer thankfully continued a bright coniditions prevailed for the weekend (albeit very windy) and another record crowd turned out to enjoy some fine flying displays. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of author.

Army Air
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The Warbirds
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Team Guinot
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Navy Lynx
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The Turbs
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Silver Yaks
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Team Swift
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The Killer Cat
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The Blues and Twos
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The BBMF
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The Parachutists
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Trainers
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The Great War
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Ultimate High
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The Lydd airshow was quite a late addition to the flying calendar last year and commmitments up in Scotland meant we missed it. With no such worried this year, Lydd was a firm addition on the "to-do" list. Though Lydd is very much a new airshows, the airfield and the local area do have an airshow history as Lydd was the base for many participants at the much loved Shepway Airshow. Also, Rob Davies strip at Woodchurch isn't too far away nor is Headcorn aerodrome. The presence of Lydd Airshow is also particularly welcome in 2007 as the Woodchurch Wings and Wheels event was cancelled and the Margate Airshow was downsized considerably.

The Bombers

Someone at Lydd knows what makes an interesting line up for photography. It's not often that Sally-B and the BBMF's Lancaster are parked up next to each for their overnight roost.

Lydd is a fairly unique event in some ways. Despite being on a very active airfield, the display and crowd line are perpendicular to the main runway looking over some grazing land. This is largely ro do with the nearby Dungeness Nuclear Power Station which is a No-Fly zone to the low flying display aircraft. This in turn means the crowd are to the south of an east-west display line giving some quite excellent photographic conditions. The layout also allows some great access to the parked aircraft all of which are parked on a large apron behing the crowd line.

The flying display itself really didn't follow any particular themes but concentrated on providing a varied and entertaining programme for the crowds. On each day, the flying display was opened by a parachute display team. Saturday saw the display opened by the RAF Regiment's display team, The Falling Rocks. They jumped from a Islander aircraft operating from Headcorn to jump into the arena in front of the crowd. They also closed the show on Sunday. Doing the opposite were the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team who put in some herculean efforts to be at the show. As we all know, the RAF's Hercules fleet is incredibly busy at the moment so no one could assure the team of an availible aircraft for the weekend. Hence the team flew in on a Hercules C3 to close Saturday's flying before driving all the way back to RAF Brize Norton and repeating the exercise the next day to open the show.

With no competing airshows, Lydd was fortunate to gain quite a number of the RAF's solo displays over last year. The displays were limited to strictly the training aircraft but commenced with the Tutor T1. Naturally, the next display was the Tucano T1 and finally the Hawk T1 completed the sequence. It was a busy weekend of the Hawk display; the team arrived on Friday and Flt Lt Mike Child rehearsed before departing for a families day at RAF Lossiemouth on Saturday before returning for a quick refuel and display!

Lydd actaully managed to pull in displays from all three armed services for the event. The Royal Navy being represented by a solo Westland Lynx HAS3 from 815 NAS. The Army provided several displays over the weekend. Saturday saw a full display by the Blue Eagles display team while Sunday saw three solo displays by a current Gazelle AH1 and the Historic Aircraft Flight's Sioux AH1 and Alouette II.

One of the show stars however, was the colourful Hawker Hunter F58 flown by Jonathon Whalley. It was undoubtly the noisest displays and also included a rare open cockpit flypast during Sunday's display.

Lydd's line up drew quite heavily from a number of comptempory civilian displays. Attracting a large round of applause were the Swift Aerobatic Display Team with their unique blend of on-two and solo glider and power aerobatics with the S-1 Glider and Extra 300L. John Taylor gave a frisky account of the Extra 300L in solo form as well. The bright lighting bringing out the splinter effect of John's Extra to good effect.

Team Guinot are a natural choice for the Lydd Airshow and they certainly put on an excellent show in some very windy coniditons. Also giving a great formation display despite the wind were the Yakovlevs who had an intersting weekend. One of their aircraft suffered a technicla problem en route forcing a precautionary landing at Shoreham leaving the team down to just three aircraft on Saturday, By Sunday, the problem was fixed and the final aircraft made it to Lydd for their full four ship display on Sunday.

Further barnstorming fun came from Headcorn and the Tiger Club in the form of the Turbulent Display Team. The weekend's blustery conditions did mean the team were unable to operate from Lydd so flew in from their base each day to perform their usual blend of limbo flying, ballon bursting and flour bombing.

The Showman

'One of the stars of the flying on both days was the Hawker Hunter - Miss Demeanour, flown by Jonathon Whalley. This aircraft is completely unmissable in it's striking scheme and Jonathon certainly puts on a noisey and eye catching display. On Sunday, he even managed a wave out of the open cockpit on his first pass at slow speed.

Another team struggling in the winds were the Great War Display Team flying nearly all their fleet in a massed dogfight over the fields. They also had to operate from Headcorn because of the winds. They had a slight drama on Sunday when one of the Junkers CL1 aircraft had an engine problem about 3m south of Headcorn. The pilot, Robb Metcalfe, managed to get the aircraft down in a field with no damage on minimal power safley and they aircraft was recovered a couple of days later.

Kent, and particularly the area around Lydd were very much at the forefront of the Battle of Britain and it goes without exception that warbirds flying over this part of Kent do remind the residents of those dark days. Perhaps the most emotion stirring display in this part of the world in that given by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. For Lydd, the flight was operating it's Lancaster B1 in formation with a Spitifre V and Spitfire XIX. All three aircraft overnighted at Lydd and the early evening crowds were treated to a rare sight of the Lanc parked up next to the B-17.

Another large aircraft in the display was Plane Sailing's Catalina. The big white aircraft was framed in bright sunlight against some dark clouds on Saturday making for some dramatic pictures for the photographers at the show.

One of the main features of each days flying was a collection of warbirds from Duxford led by AVM Cliff Spink. First to display was the B-17G Flying Fortress Sally-B which gave a solo display before being joined by Rob Davies in his locally based P-51D Mustang Big Beautiful Doll for something formation flying. Once together, the B-17G was "attacked" by Cliff Spink in Spitfire Ltd's Messerschmitt Me109J Buchon and started smoking. A dogfight then ensued between the Mustang and Me109 before they were joined by Alan Walker flying Spitfire Ltd's Spitifre XVI in Cliff own personal markings! As is tradition the Me109 was seen off into the sunset!

London Ashford Airport and the rest of the Lydd Airshow organisers should be congratulated on producing such a fun, friendly and exciting event for this part of Kent. Their efforts were rewarded with a bumper crowd of 25000 people and we should hopefully see Lydd return next year - thoroughly recommended.

Thanks to Lisa Duncan and Michael Rivett for making this report possible.

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