Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton Air Day has won the Silver Award in the ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ category at last night’s (6 Feb) South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2011-12, hosted by TV presenter Teresa Driscoll and BBC Travel Writer Simon Calder at Torquay’s Riviera Centre.
The annual airshow which took place last July attracted nearly 30,000 visitors who experienced one of the best Air Days in recent years. The judges described the show as “A major event with excellent levels of repeat business and year on year improvements acting as a major draw to the area”.
Although the show put on an exceptional display in the air the whole visitor experience was scrutinised for the awards. Commodore Paul Chivers OBE, Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton said: “This is an outstanding achievement for the Air Station community and our commercial partners, AHA Events Ltd. Despite being extremely busy delivering the high demands of our operational commitments worldwide I am very proud of my team in putting on a top class event on the ground and in the air”.
Air Day 2011 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Lynx helicopter which has developed an enviable reputation over decades of service as the best small ship’s helicopter in the world and is used by the Royal Navy and many foreign navies. The show attracted exceptionally rare displays to the UK by the Polish Air Force MiG-29, French Navy Rafale and Super Etendard, and Royal Netherlands Air Force Apache. It also featured a unique flypast by the world’s only airworthy Sea Vixen and Vulcan Bomber – a formation of British built classic jets that will probably never be seen again.
The organisers now turn their attention to this year’s Air Day, which will take place on Saturday 23 June and will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falkland’s Campaign, in which Yeovilton based aircraft and personnel played a significant role in the successful outcome of the operation.