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2013 UK Airshows : REVIEW

On Your Marks, Bruntingthorpe

Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds and Aerodrome may be best known as the home to the Cold War Jets Museum and the Lightning Preservation Group, but it also holds a number of other events during the year including ‘On Your Marks,’ a major private event for the employees of ASDA supermarket which raises money for charity. While it is predominately a motoring event with arena displays and rides in supercars, ASDA Lorries and other weird and wonderful machinery the event also includes a significant aviation element with a lunch-time flying display.

Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography by the author.

‘On Your Marks’ supported two charities in 2013 with monies raised by the track experiences and other activities going to the ASDA Foundation and Orchid, a male cancer charity. The motoring side of the event saw Ferraris, Nissan GT-Rs as well some ASDA’s own fleet of HGVs running around the Bruntingthorpe circuit.

The aviation element took place during a break in the motoring action with a small air display during the mid-afternoon. It kicked off on Bruntingthorpe’s huge main runway with O’Brien’s Flying Circus. With added pyrotechnics, Brendan presented his crazy-flying and trailer-top-landing display in his little yellow Piper J-3C Cub. Sadly a brisk crosswind prevented a full stop landing on the trailer but it not often you see aircraft flying in close formation with cars!

The pace was changed with a series of flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on their way to the Blackpool Airshow. It is not often you see the full complement of Avro Lancaster B1, Supermarine Spitfire PR XIX and Hawker Hurricane IIc performing flypasts so it was a real treat to watch the formation curve around the showground.

The air display proper got back underway with the TRIG Aerobatic Team and their pair of Pitts S-1D Specials. Richard Grace and Dave Puleston put on a fast-paced display of close formation flying and aerobatics in these classic aerobatic biplanes.

The last segment of flying was purely about American warbirds. The Aces High C-47A Skytrain flew with Maurice Hammond’s North American P-51D Mustang ‘Janie’ flown by Rob Davies providing top cover. Andrew Dixon and his crew gave a great account of the C-47 with some lovely steep turns showing over the D-Day invasion markings on the aircraft wings and the slightly weathered look.

Rob closed the main show with the Mustang putting an a very elegant display of the thoroughbred warbird in the cloud-dappled skies over Leicestershire. The American element of the flying was highly appropriate for Bruntingthorpe which itself was a United States Air Force base for heavy bombers from 1954 to 1962.

Right at the end of the display it was great to see Beech 18 G-BKGM ‘KP110’ also take to the skies wearing new markings. It now wears the gloss dark blue scheme of a Royal Navy “Admiral’s Barge” and looks absolutely stunning and was a great way to end a relaxing afternoon flying display.

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