Abingdon is usually the first show of the season, but this year has moved back to the second weekend of May. It’s always an interesting show bringing together many of the RAF display acts for their first public outings of the year. This year is no exception with displays from the Hawk, Tucano and Tutor teams all making their thier 2011 debuts at the show.
It is a popular show with the public and enthusiasts alike and enjoys strong support from the local military from RAF Brize Norton and Benson marked by the presence of a Merlin HC3A and Puma (a surprise returnee after being cancelled earlier in the week) on static display.
Abingdon has not been without it’s difficulties in recent years. 2010 saw a poor weather compounded by a late decision from higher authorities that the runway was unsuitable for fixed wing aircraft. Such heartache cannot be good for airshow organisers but the Abingdon team rallied to produce an excellent flying display to compensate in somewhat better conditions than forecast.
2011 has at least seen the runway become useable again, at least to the lighter aircraft though clear Tony de Bruyn has no qualms about bringing his beloved Skyvan and Bronco!
The weather forecast has been somewhat questionable too. All week a break in the fine weather (much needed just down the road between Ascot and Bracknell for those fighting the forest fires) has been forecast to hit the Abingdon show with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast to hit the show. All week peoplehave been questioning whether to attend the event based purely on this forecast!
Thankfully that threat waned over the week with the bulk of the rain passing over Abingdon during the night. Around the M25 and down the M4, the last of rain was still present but arriving at Abingdon this morning, we were greeted by some high-level clouds and large blue patches. There’s the occasional period of darker cloud, but nothing like the biblical rain we all feared!
Perhaps then the lesson should be to not believe everything the weatherman says !!!