2005 Edition





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2005 saw a brand new airshow on the calendar. The Thanet Airshow is welcome addition to the Kent events calendar which had lost it's other major seaside airshow held along cliff tops in Folkestone, the Shepwat Festival Airshow. Michael Rivett was there to bring us this report. All photography copyright of Author.

The weekend of the 18th and 19th June 2005 saw the birth of  a new seaside airshow in the south east, the EU jet Flight Thanet airshow in Palm bay, Margate.


Coastal Capers
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The venue was easy to find with adequate street parking for those arriving early, with traffic reasonably free-flowing.Undoubtedly the view from the cliffs, overlooking Palm Bay, provides a stunning and uninterrupted view, perfect for picking out approaching aircraft. The fun fair and stalls also ensured that there was something to entertain the non aviation enthusiast. Unlike most Coastal airshows there was a small charge for entry to the arena but this gave the best views and a chance to see the pin point landings of the RAF Falcons Parachute display team. A Crowd of over 30000 people turned up for the inaugural Kent display. Ground attractions were provided mainly by the three armed forces along with market traders, something for the kids aswell with a number of football tournaments for under 13’s.

Star Turns
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The flying display on Saturday got off to a start with the Kent air ambulance, then after an anxious wait, the RAF Jaguar came out of the haze to commence the display flying. This began to warm up after that with a seamless and varied flying program ensuing.

The diversity of participating aircraft ensured there was something for everyone: the graceful Stearman solo and formation wing walkers of the Utterly Butterly's to the breathtaking aerobatics of the Red Bull Matadors and the formation of Yaks with the Aerostars. Also one of the first sightings of the Catalina in its new United states markings.

The RAF provided the back bone of the flying programme with displays from the Hawk trainer along with the Jaguar, Tornado and Harrier had the crowd gasping and their ears ringing. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfires and Lancaster were also present to provide a poignant reminder of Britain’s finest hour.

However the undisputed stars of the show were the Red Arrows, bringing down the curtain on Saturday with a precision display of formation flying and dare devil, low level, high speed passes, a problem half way through the display meant RED 8 had to Divert into Manston and was safely recovered ready to display the next day.

So with British airshows meant to be in decline it is encouraging that a new event can pull in such a crowd, hopefully this will carry on year after year.

 copyright Flightline UK 2005