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Champions of the Cotswolds

The Kemble Air Day is always one of the highlights of the early part of the season and is always popular. It was good to see this despite the draw of World Cup Football. The last few years have seen Kemble set very high standards amongst civilian shows for organisation and the quality of it's flying displays. 2006 saw this continue with some very rare and exciting participants as well as plenty of action from some locally based participants. One of those local participants is Kemble based Delta Jets, restorers and operators of Hawker Hunters, Folland Gnat and Jet Provost, so the display always has a heavy bias to classic jets so is a must visit event for classic jet enthusiasts Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All Photography copyright of the Author.

Dobsons Choice
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Model Participant
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Golden Oldies
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World of Aviation
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Navy Grey
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The Classics
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Modern Classics
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Cotswold Club - Kemble's Local Heroes

Much of the displays at this year's Kemble Air Day were very much from the local area, something we think airshows should try and do as often as possible. Obviously, Delta Jets fleet took a leading role in the flying display with three aircraft taking part (Two Hunters and a Jet Provost) and their Gnat in the static area.



Also based at Kemble are Ultimate High, an advanced flying school and experience complany equipped with SA Bulldogs and Extra 300s. In the display they flew a formation of their aircraft before John Taylor gave a solo display of unlimited aerobatics.




Based at the nearvy aerodrome at Rencomb are the Utterly Butterly Barnstormers, part of the AeroSuperBatics Stable.



To the south of Kemble is RAF Lyneham, one of several RAF stations in the area. Lyneham is presently home to the RAF Hercules force which will move to RAF Brize Norton when Lyneham eventually closes. The Lyneham Transport Wing supplied it's Hercules C5 Tactical Demonstration.



Based at South Cerney, the Silver Stars are from Royal Logistic Corp. Their main role is to introduce RLC soldiers to sport parachuting as well as promoting the regiment at displays



The weather looked good for another scorching Kemble this year, but sadly the long stint of high pressure set off some anticyclonic gloom, though the forecast rain towards the end of the day stayed well away until well after the event had finally closed it's gates. The flying display was divided into two segments. There was a short hour long display in the morning before a two hour lunch break. After the break the main display got underway lasting for around three hours. During the break there was a display by a model C-130 and a parade of classic cars . At mmost airshows such things are usually seen before the flying display gets underway so it was a refreshing change. Many have commented on the airshow message boards that this break seemed a little too long and perhaps I would agree. Just over the hour would have been plenty or perhaps include some motoring displays on the runway a la Dunsfold? But I'm just nitpicking here.

In the flying display, there was plenty to entertain, a number of displays from the local area including the home based Delta Jets and Ultimate High as well as the Utterly Butterly Barnstormers and Silver Stars Parachute Display Team. See the box to the right. A full complement of RAF Displays were planned. Sadly both the Tornado GR4 and Chinook went unservicable just before their allotted displays - the Chinook at Manston while attending the Kent Air Show and the Tornado suffered a major engine problem on it's take off run. The Red Arrows too suffered a series of infringements on their display eventually forcing them to abandon their display. We hope the offending parties are found and suitably punished for their actions which not only marred the display but were also irresponsible. Star amongst the RAF performers for your scribe was the Merlin HC3 from "Team Merlin" and No 28(AC) Sqn who flung the RAF's newest battlefield helicopter around the Cotswold skies to great effect. They were joined by the usual suspects - Hawk (100 sqn), Harrier GR7, and the Hercules Tac Demo. The static park was dominated by the VC-10 from nearby RAF Brize Norton. The Royal Navy also sent a sizable contigent. In the flying the Black Cats were joined by the Historic flight's Sea Hawk FB6 on one of it's first outings of 2006. On the ground a Harrier GR7A from 800NAS was joined by the Merlin HM1.

However, show stars came from foreign air forces. Fitting in nicely to the Classic Jet bias the show offers was the Belgian Air Component's Fouga Magister flown by Lt Cdr Paul Rorive. 2006 will see the last displays by the type and it should be seen in the UK again at Yeovilton and Eastbourne airshows. Making the biggest impression (literally!) was the Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 display. This display of a large airliner simply has to be seen to be believed with some quite incredible angles of attack and bank during it display. The 757 was in the UK in support of the RNZAF participation in the Fincastle Trophy maritime surveillance exercise at Kinloss and it departed for home the next day from RAF Brize Norton. As with previous visits by RNZAF transport types, it was offered for use by the UK armed forces who took advantage it's route home to transport troops to Canada. Welcome a welcome appearance awat from the big military shows was a Polish Navy PZL M28 Bryza in the static area.

Historic military aviation was well represented by a number of warbirds and classic jets. No show is ever complete without a Spitfire and Rolls Royce supplied an example of RJ Mitchells masterpiece with it's Spitfire PR19 flown by Bill Perrins. A less well known warbird was Peter Teichman's P-40M Kittyhawk. Delta Jets naturally supplied a number of displays with solo and duos of Hunter T7s and a Jet Provost but there were a few visiting jets. Display pilot Brian Grant had a bust afternoon displaying two of the highlights of the afternoon - a Meteor and another Hunter.  Making quite a rare appearance was Air Atlantque's Meteor NF11 which has had a few paperwork problems in the past, though happily everything seems to have been resolved. However, the biggest highlight was the welcome return of a Hunter GA11 to the display circuit. XE685 has been absent for many years having first appeared on the circuit in the 1990's. Now fully refurbished in full FRADU colours representative of her final days in the Royal Navy at RNAS Yeovilton she makes a fine sight as one of the few single seat Hunters left in flying conditions and the only GA11 in Europe.

Making quite a contrast with the military display were the civilian displays - many of which were local to Kemble such as Ultimate High and the Utterly Butterly Barnstormers. However, traveling from further afield was the amazing Denny Dobson and his Extra 300. Denny as ever flew a perfectly positioned display with lots of unusual slips and slides as well as his world famous Limbo and ribbon cut

Kemble once again provided a great few hours of flying, marred only by some unavoidable unservicabilities on some aircraft and some irresponsible flying by others not involved in the Air Day curtailing the Red Arrows. As ever there was great organisation of the actual show by Glen Moreman and his volunteer team. If there is a blot on the day there was some confusion caused by car parking on the way out as there didn't seem to be any control  but at least the queue did move. It's just a real shame that the weather and technical difficulties denied the team a really memorable show. We once again look forward to Air Day 2007 on the 17th June 2007!!!

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