Help for Heroes Airshow, Rendcomb
 

 

Around the Show
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The Golden Age
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The Aerobats
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The AeroSuperBatics base at RFC Rendcomb held an exclusive private airshow in aid of the Help for Heroes charity during the second weekend of September. Situated amongst the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Rendcomb played host to a number of the most popular display acts culminating in a performance by the Red Arrows.  Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of the Author.

The Home Team  - Team Guinot

AeroSuperBatics operates the world's only formation wingwalking team - Team Guinot. Their "flagship" display is the new five ship which also features the first coloured smoke to be generated from a piston aircraft in the UK. The five ship display has been seem at a few events in 2008 including Flying Legends and Shoreham airshows.

RFC Rendcomb is a name synonymous with the UK's display circuit. It's home to Vic Norman's AeroSuperBatics company which have been on the display circuit for the last twenty years with a number of display acts ranging from formation wingwalking displays to truck-top landings. The airfield itself is a stunning location and regularly hosts corporate days as well providing a base for Team Guinot. It was originally a first world war training airfield for the fledgling Royal Flying Corps. Today it has a nostalgic atmosphere celebrating those early days of aviation from the first world war though to the 1920's and 30's as well as the history of AeroSuperBatics display flying. Walls of many of the buildings are covered in airshow memorabilia from the last twenty years; pictures, posters, flying suits as well some of the aircraft themselves such as the Cri Cri!

The 1,000 guests at the show were treated to an excellent three hour flying display after lunch which got underway with a very unusual display from the Swift Aerobatic Display Team. The team led by Guy Westgate in the Swift S-1 glider and Pete Wells in the Silence Twister swapped the team's usual Piper Pawnee for one of Team Guinot's Boeing Stearman flown by Martyn Carrington as the tow aircraft! Not only that but when the aircraft returned to the airfield Tanya Gaze was up on the wing. The combination went through the same low level sequence as the normal display by the Swift Team but the entire package must have been something of a world first at an airshow!

Team Guinot themselves appeared later in the afternoon with the full five ship display that they first presented at Flying Legends in July, The display quite simply fills the skies with aircraft after the formation splits with a solo over head and two pairs of Stearmans performing opposition passes.

The early aviation and barnstorming atmosphere was continued by a number of other displays. The Great War Display Team put on a superb re-enactment of the early aerial combat that was seen over France and elsewhere. The display also included Paul Ford's Fokker Triplane replica which made it's display debut at Sywell in August. The 1920's and 30's civil aviation scene was equally well represented by the gorgeous pair of De Havilland Dragon and Dragonfly biplanes. Equally stunning was Sir John Allison's Miles Gemini.

As well as some of the British aircraft of the 1930's, the display also featured some rare types from Germany of the same period. Peter Holloway brought his collection of Luftwaffe trainers over from their base at Old Warden. Displaying were the Klemm 35D and Bucker Bestmann monoplanes. The Klemm in particular is a particularly beautiful aircraft and looks very much like a German version of the Miles trainers of similar design. On the ground was Peter's stunning Focke Wulf Fw44 Steiglitz biplane.

The Reds

The Red Arrows made one of their last UK public appearances at Rendcomb. The sight of the Reds performing over the rolling countryside was  truly spectacular

Warbirds were also much in evidence. Peter Teichman brought his P-40M Kittyhawk to display representing the American involvement in the second world war. There were also two Spitfires present for the show. Stephen Grey brought the Fighter Collection's Spitfire Vb while John Romain brought his Spitfire IXT. The wet conditions we had endured all summer were thankfully not present during the display but they had taken their toll on the Rendcomb grass with the two seater Spitfire becoming particularly bogged down in the soft ground! It took a fair few volunteers to push the aircraft clear! Once in the air however, Stephen Grey's solo in the MkV was one of the highlights of the afternoon. The naval variant of the Spitfire design, the Seafire XVII was displayed in a spirited fashion by John Beattie.

Though the Turbulent is a 1950's aircraft, the Turbulent Team's display in inspired by the barnstormers of the inter war years with flour bombing, limbo flying and balloon bursting all featuring in their display. Also hailing from the 1950's are three Cassutt Racers of the Dukes of Cassutt display team led by Richard Grace who recreate Formala 1 pylon racing!

Modern sports and aerobatic flying was also high on the agenda. One of the first displays of the afternoon was the Redstarz pair of Sukhoi Su-29 and Yak-52 flown by Nick Barnard and Peter Scandrett. Further Sukhoi action came later in the afternoon with the only 2008 display by the Red Bull Matadors display team of Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones. Paul and Steve have been kept very busy by their Red Bull Air Race schedules and simply haven't had time for more display flying. Their display however was as spectacular as ever though, and it's a great shame they haven't been able to present it at other shows this year. Rounding off the civilian teams in display were The Blades in their new Barclays colours. Like AeroSuperBatics, they also organise hugely successful corporate events at their home base at Sywell.

It was good to see some of the current military displays also taking part at the show. Flt Lt Andy Preece made his way down from the very wet Leuchars airshow to perform his last public display in the Grob Tutor T1 at Rendcomb. Sadly he wasn't able to bring the same Tutor that was at Southport with the display markings as it was in maintenance. Also making it down from Leuchars, albeit after the event had finished was the Apache AH1 which provided a flypast on it's way to Middle Wallop. The finale of the afternoon was a spectacular display by the Red Arrows. The team had a busy weekend having displayed at RAF Leuchars and Roanne in France before displaying at Rendcomb. They based themselves at nearby Kemble Airfield which was running it's own Open Day

The Help for Heroes Airshow was an extremely pleasing event with a number of unique and exciting displays to entertain the guests who had made generous contributions to attend. All the proceeds of the afternoon went to the Help for Heroes charity which is perhaps one of the most important charities at this time when so many of out armed forces are deployed on difficult operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.

Swift Opener
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Military Might
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Tutor
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