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Aces over Redhill

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Tiger Rag
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Little Black Numbers
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Rotary Club
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Occupying it's traditional mid August slot, the Redhill Airshow returned after a very succesful VE/VJ event in 2005. Organised by Acebell Aviation, the show maintains a unique and very relaxed garden party atmosphere in the beautiful amphitheatre created by the surrounding hills. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports.  All Photography copyright Paul Johnson/Flightline UK.

The Locals
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Wreck Fest P-63
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Flying Visits
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Redhill Aerodrome is always a very nice place to be. Apart from the perimeter track,  it remains a traditional large grass aerodrome with three runways surrounded by the leafy Surrey hills, the perfect place for a summer event. 2006 saw much better conditions for the airshow than 2005 despite some changeable weather with the majority of the day remaining dry. As always there's an impressive collection of aircraft and stalls to visit, both of which seem to grow year by year.

The fly-in may well not be as large as other venues, but it always seem to attract some very interesting aircraft. Amongst the Chipmunks and Piper Cubs this year were examples of a Percival Vega Gull and a Pilatus P-2. The latter was a military trainer which was designed in 1942 and is believe to incorporate undercarriage systems from the Messerschmitt Me109.

Another interesting aspect of this years show was "Wreck-Fest" which has the same suggests was a collection of wrecks and relics. However, they were all historically important. Most impressive was the diorama of a crashed Blackburn B2 caught up in all sorts of the vegetation. Also standing out was the front cockpit section of a Soviet Air Force P-63A Kingcobra.

Airshows: Not as glamorous as you think!!!

There's no glamour in being caught by a sharp shower while refueling your aircraft!! Poor Sarah Tanner from the Utterly Butterly Barnstormers found out the hard way having just landed at Redhill!! Anyhow, the rain soon went away leaving some sunshine for the Utterly Butterlies second performance of the day before departing for Rougham Airshow in Suffolk!!

The airshow itself had an impressive collection of "warbirds." Kicking things off on their way back from the Eastbourne show was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The team managed to time their display brilliantly to just miss a sharp shower that crossed the airfield as they approached. It was really good to see the team make full use of Redhill's dog-legged crowd line which is very much like that at Old Warden with the Spitfire Vb AB910 and Hurricane IIc PZ865 making several topside passes that you just don't see at other venues. After the Lancaster PA474 has completed it's display the pair of fighters returned for a formation topside pass to finish - brilliant!

Regular attendee of the Redhill show is Rob Davies in his P-51D Mustang Big Beautiful Doll. As ever, Rob gave a brilliant solo performance over the airfield making full use of the show's layout. Prior to his display, Plane Sailing's Catalina made a welcome re-appearance after it's display last year. Resplendent in the colours of a OA-10 search and rescue aircraft based in East Anglia the sun caught the all white aircraft well against the dark clouds. Prior to his solo display Rob joined up with the Catalina for a special formation that made a couple of passes. It took great skill as the Catalina is far from the fastest aircraft around and P-51s don't handle too well at low speeds.

As with many shows there were a couple of themes for the airshow. First of these was "Women in Aviation." Only female pilot to display during the afternoon was Anna Walker in her Bucker Jungmann in a display of classic aerobatics in the 1930's biplane. Her Jungmann has actually started to change it's colours slightly with the addition of some of the markings worn by the German Olympics team. Another display fitting the theme was that given by the Utterly Buttely Barnstormers. Pilots Vic Norman and Martyn Carrington flew with daring wingwalkers Lucy Foster and Sarah Tanner on a busy afternoon for the team. Their stop at Redhill was all to brief after their display at Eastbourne as they had to depart off-slot to Rougham airshow in Suffolk!

The other theme was the 50th Anniversary of the Tiger Club, which for many years was resident at Redhill before departing to Headcorn in Kent. That said Tiger Moths and Stampes haven't completely left the Redhill circuit with a few examples still based here. The Tiger Club sent the Turbulent Display Team by way of celebration with their usual antics of flour-bombing, balloon bursting and limbo flying.

More modern barnstorming came from some local pilots. Justyn Gorman has been regular performer at Redhill at past shows with the Vans RV4 and Pitts Special, both of which were based at Redhill. With the Pitts now sold on Justyn has moved upto the Extra 300L which is based with the Real Flying Company at Shoreham. Giving a display of unlimited aerobatics and gyroscopic manoeuvres, Justyn's display is quite different to some of the other Extra displays on the circuit. Pete Rutherford is another locally based pilot. He flies a classic Pitts Special in a classic routine of "Pitts" aerobatics. A late addition to the flying programme was a display by a Redhill based Hughes 300 training helicopter which seemed by crewed by Tigger!!!! This was a particularly nice addition considering how rare civilian helicopter displays are nowadays.

As has been the case in the last few editions of the Redhill Airshow, the Royal Air Force has managed to display a few of their solo items that operate from Biggin Hill for both the Eastbourne and Redhill airshows. First of these displays was the Shorts Tucano T1 flown by Flt Lt Daz Mackenzie who flew an excellent display. As he arrived we saw the spare aircraft fly off in the background as the team were due to appear at Rougham later in the day. As Daz finished his routine the spare also made a quick flypast chasing Daz to the north - a nice little touch. The day was concluded by the 100sqn Hawk T1 flown by Flt Lt Dunc Wylie.  The Hawk is always a particularly good display over a small venue as it's kept close in and Dunc made full use of the Hawks agility in his display. Something that was particularly well received this year was the attendance of some of various RAF and squadron personnel on the ground thanks to a little air taxi service from Biggin Hill allowing them to talk about their aircraft and jobs in the RAF. Hopefully this should be seen more in the future.

Redhill always provides a good family day out without all the unwanted hassle that often afflicts larger events. As ever, there's plenty to do on the ground with a sizable selection of stalls as well as a very good refreshments area provided by the Airport Hotel in Croydon. The show too is extremely good value and money raised goes to the Royal Air Forces Association, The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association and the Surrey Air Ambulance Appeal as well as other local charities.

 copyright Flightline UK