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2014 UK Airshows : FEATURE

RAF Cosford Air Show 2014 Press Launch

The end of March saw the organisers of the RAF Cosford Air Show launch their 2014 at the Shropshire airfield. 2013 was a very successful year for Cosford raising over a third of a million pounds for charity and welcoming 65,000 spectators on Air Show day. The 2014 event promises to be an even more exciting event celebrating a number of themes both in the air and on the ground.

Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports. All photography copyright of the Author or as credited..

RAF Cosford Air Show is one of two Royal Air Force supported airshows in in 2014, the other being the RAF Waddington International Airshow in Lincolnshire. Cosford however is the largest such event in the West Midlands. Cosford is somewhat unusual amongst military airfields as it relatively small and retrains much of its original infrastructure. It is however one of the most important stations in the Royal Air Force providing training in a multitude of trades and disciplines vital to the modern Royal Air Force. Amongst the many units based at the airfield are the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering including No 1 School of Technical Training, the RAF Aerosystems Engineer and Management Training School, No 1 Radio School and the Defence School of Photography. Cosford is also home to flying units with the University of Birmingham Air Squadron and No 8 Air Experience Flight flying Grob Tutor T1s and No 633 Volunteer Gliding School. Also within the Hangars dotted around the airfield are the Local Air Ambulance and the Wrekin Gliding Club.

Cosford ‘s personnel are very active within the local and wider community not only supporting the air show but also the Birmingham Military Tattoo as well as the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. However, the Cosford Air Show is the annual highlight for the station.

Good weather and a varied line-up of entertainment made the 2013 Air Show very successful bringing in a bumper crowd of some 65,000. That meant the show was able to donate nearly a third of a million pounds to charity. During the Press Launch, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the RAF Museum each received cheques for £65,000. A further £45,000 will be donated to local causes. It is not only local charities that benefit from the event. Air Show spokesman Amanda Butcher said “There is a huge requirement for services for the event, from equipment hire to waste disposal and from tentage to catering outlets and whenever possible we give these contracts to someone in our wider catchment area.”

The huge crowds did however push the traffic management and organisation to the limit. 2014 will see a possible cap on ticket numbers sold and enhanced traffic management to ease the traffic into and away from the airfield.

The team also will be building on the success of the ground show. The 50th Anniversary of the Hawker P1127 Kestrel will see appearances from the RAF Museum’s P1127 plus based examples of the BAe Harrier GR3, Sea Harrier FA2 and later Harrier GR9 which displayed in their hides. As always Cosford’s Hangar will contain a wide variety of exhibitions from the RAF and other local organisations plus there will be arena displays which this year will feature the Combined Royal Air Force Pipes and Drums for the first time alongside the Field Gun Run and other displays.

However it the flying display that takes centre stage with six hours of aerial entertainment. Naturally, it is the modern day Royal Air Force that headlines the event with all of its current display assets on show including the Red Arrows marking their 50th Anniversary, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (albeit with the Dakota rather than the Lancaster, Falcons Parachute Display Team plus solo appearances by the Typhoon, Tucano and Tutor.

One of the themes announced at the Press Launch was a special Photo-Reconnaissance Theme. On the ground, visitors will get a chance to view some of the equipment the Royal Air Forces used to develop and analyse aerial photography while in their air two significant types from RAF history will mark theme. Peter Teichman will return to Cosford with his Supermarine Spitfire PRXI which is a particularly apt aircraft as it spent some time based at Cosford while in service. Marking Cold War Photo-reconnaissance will be the MidAir Squadron’s BAC Canberra PR9. Recently restored to airworthiness, the Canberra PR9 was only withdrawn from service in 2006 and the aircraft will be making its Cosford debut in civilian hands. Alongside the Canberra will be MidAir’s Hawker Hunter T7.

Looking even further back, Cosford will also be one of the few military airshows to mark the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with a special nine-ship display from the Great War Display Team.

Cosford is always a varied show with several civilian displays augmenting the military might. This year the Blades will be joined by the Yakovlevs Display Team and the Breitling Wingwalkers along with many others, some of which featured at the Press Launch.

Advance tickets are on sale now from priced £20 for Adults and Children under 16 are Free.

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