Battle of Britain Airshow 2009 - Cotswold Airport, Kemble


Kemble "at Home"
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The third and final 2009 airshow to be held at Kemble (now known as Cotswold Airport) was the Battle of Britain Airshow. Like the Great Vintage Flying Weekend back in May, the event was held on the opposite side of the airfield to the main show in June and was a far smaller, more intimate affair. Held over a weekend, each day attracted some different fly acts. Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports from Saturday's event. Photography copyright of the Author.

Kemble's events this year have been hugely successful. First there was the re-invigorated Great Vintage Flying Weekend in May which was an absolute delight with the addition of a small flying display to accompany the busy fly-in. Then in June, the new two-day Kemble Air Show provided one of the real highlights of the 2009 season with numerous displays by Classic Jets including the mighty Sea Vixen and Vulcan.

The September event, rebranded the Battle of Britain Airshow, was a much more relaxed show, based around the "At Home" Day concept used by many RAF stations in the past. The area around the famous Kemble Control Tower and the AV8 restaurant was once again turned into a small showground with visiting aircraft parked behind. Delta Jets opened up their hangers to visitors and there were also pleasure flights.

The flying display was much smaller than the main summer event, but still provided a wide variety of types including a couple of special surprise guests. Appropriately, the show was opened by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Spitfire XIX and Hurricane IIc who arrived from their display at Goodwood. The small crowd line also helped photographers grab some rare topside shots of the pair as they arrived and ended their displays. Following the fighters was the BBMF flight's flagship, the Avro Lancaster B1.

Rolls Royce also had their Spitfire XIX displaying at Kemble in the hands of Phil O'Dell. There was further warbird action from Peter Teichman and his P-51D Mustang Jumpin' Jaques.

Providing a welcome interlude from the military action were the Swift Aerobatic Display Team with their S-1 Swift Glider, Silence Twister and Piper Pawnee. The team were clearly having fun during the weekend with a number of pilots taking on new roles in the team. Saturday's display saw Mike Newman flying the glider, Guy Westgate in the Pawnee tug and Peter Wells in the Twister. On Sunday Guy was back in his usual seat in the Swift Glider and legendary airshow pilot and commentator Brendan O'Brien flew the Pawnee.

Andrew Dixon and his Percival Pembroke are a regular feature of Kemble events. Andrew's Pembroke is currently the only airworthy example and a unique glimpse of some of the Cold War's less exotic types that played an important role within the Royal Air Force. Representing the "other side" was the mighty Antonov An-2 demonstrating the slow flying abilities and agility of this large biplane.

A Kemble event would not be the same without some classic jet action. The Battle of Britain Airshow didn't disappoint with some of the best on the display circuit. The Vampire Preservation Group's Vampire T11 represented the RAF's earliest jet trainer while one of it's successors, the Jet Provost T3, was flown by Neil MacCarthy. However the star of Saturday's show was a surprise appearance by Avro Vulcan B2 XH558 which gave a full display in the late afternoon sun. The show was closed by another surprise "classic" albeit one still in RAF service, the VC-10 tanker-transport which made the short hop from RAF Brize Norton which was holding it's annual Party in the Park.

As with all of Kemble's events in 2009, the Battle of Britain Airshow was a great day out, particularly in the late September sunshine. Next year all three events return; check out our display calendar to find out more.

Kemble "at Home"
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