Airshow


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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

Once again I’ve got to my final Airshow blog  post without losing too much hair or going noticeably greyer (not possible, I hear people say).

From an organiser’s point of view, the flying display went extremely well As you may have noticed, I had to substitute the T6 Texan for the Skyraider at very short notice due to serviceability issues, and the Bronco had problems starting so missed his first slot . . . but other than that, and a small re-programming issue later in the afternoon, the display ‘ran on rails’, as they say.

OV 10 Bronco at Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 © Tom Sunley

OV 10 Bronco at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 © Tom Sunley

We were certainly lucky with the weather this year, and I do hope that nobody is suffering from a lack of sunscreen.  It was certainly a tad tropical in the control cabin, surrounded by all that glass.

Avro Lancaster from RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014. © Spencer Harbar

Avro Lancaster from RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014. © Spencer Harbar Photography

Highlights for me were the Lancaster, which looked and sounded magnificent as it flew down the display line belly on to the crowd, and the Bronco/T6 flypasts.  The RAF Red Arrows were their usual impeccable selves and, with Red 10 providing the commentary, made up a fantastic first half of the display.

Trying out the RAF Red Arrows Hawkjet at Scotland's National Airshow on 26 July 2014.

Trying out the RAF Red Arrows Hawkjet at Scotland’s National Airshow on 26 July 2014.

The Breitling Wingwalkers were as popular as ever, and having them on site early in the day to meet the audience and sign pictures and prints was a great bonus.  Their display was the usual elegant and spectacular affair, providing us with our own private fog bank – their smoke took a while to clear and resulted in a worried query from on high asking if we were going to lose the rest of the display due to the fog!

Meeting the Breitling Wingwalkers

Meeting the Breitling Wingwalkers

The Typhoon provided a fitting finale, and the sight of the reheat glowing through the cloud as the aircraft spiralled up to 10,000ft will stay as a lasting memory of Airshow 2014. So, that’s it for another year, at least until we start planning again in September!  The event just seems to go from strength to strength and it’s a pleasure to work with everyone.  So it just remains for me to say thank you to you all for reading my scribbles over the past few months, and to remind you that we’ll be back next year for, hopefully, an at least equally-successful Scottish National Airshow 2015.

Norm Webster

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

There’s only a few days to go to the Scotland’s National Airshow and I’m feeling quite relaxed – I wonder what I’m missing?

Six year old Mia looks forward to the arrival of the RAF Red Arrows at Scotland’s National Airshow on Sat 26 July © Phil Wilkinson

Six year old Mia looks forward to the arrival of the RAF Red Arrows at Scotland’s National Airshow on Sat 26 July © Phil Wilkinson

That’s a regular feeling for display organisers. When everything seems to be going well and all your plans are working you begin to worry that you’ve missed something, or there’s a large alligator waiting in the wings to take a bite out of you.

American Alligator in Florida, USA.

American Alligator in Florida, USA.

As it is, I’ve checked, double checked and triple checked, and everything that I personally can do to make the day a success has been done (I think!). The display is planned down to the last minute, the Edinburgh airport and Archerfield airstrip plans are done and work (I hope!) and the display team plan is written and distributed to my team.

The Breitling WIngwalker's Boeing Stearman aircraft at Archerfield ready for Scotland's National Airshow in 2013.

The Breitling WIngwalker’s Boeing Stearman aircraft at Archerfield ready for Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013.

This year, visitors to the Airshow will have the chance to get up close to some helicopters: the OH6 Huey and Wasp, which will be parked in the show ground; and the Royal Navy’s Sea King and RAF Red Arrow’s Squirrel helicopters will be landing on the day. I am confident that Scotland’s National Airshow will be a great success.

OH6 Huey Helicopter arriving at Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013 © Thomas Sunley

Anyway, that’s my musings today – I’ve not got a great deal to say because just about everything is done. I’ll be wending my way up the M6 next Thursday full of the joys of spring and ready for my favourite airshow of the year. I’ll write again when it’s all over.

See you at East Fortune,

Norm Webster

A guest post by Lydia Beadle (A.K.A Squid) from the Breitling Wingwalkers for Scotland’s National Airshow.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

I developed a need for speed and adrenaline at an early age, probably because I did lots of horse riding as a child.  When I heard about the Breitling Wingwalkers vacancy, I jumped at the chance. Fulfilling my need for speed while creating beautiful displays is something I’ve always dreamed of!

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

I was thrilled to get started. I have been amazed at how much work is involved in looking elegant on the plane whilst fighting against 160mph winds! My first flight was in pouring rain and strong winds, but even that didn’t put me off. I had grown up learning to take on any challenges given to me and the thrill of plummeting during the loop made me feel free as a kite. With the extensive worldwide travel and the support of an incredibly close team, being a Breitling Wingwalker is a certainly a dream come true!

Lydia Beadle, Breightling Wingwalker © Richard Foord

Lydia Beadle, Breightling Wingwalker © Richard Foord

One of my favourite display moves is the Mirror, which is when I hang upside down on the inverted plane while reaching for the hands of the wingwalker flying below me. Seeing a girl below you in flight is very surreal and always leaves me laughing at how incredible it is!  Being up in the sky on the beautiful Boeing Stearman aircraft is such an honour.  I feel like a bird in the sky, so free and yet safe

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

I have been in five European shows so far, and they have all left me on a high. I keep a journal for each show I perform in, so that I can remember how amazing each moment was. I’m  looking forward to coming to East Fortune for Scotland’s National Airshow.  Being a natural redhead and having family from Scotland, it will be lovely to come back and embrace my roots once more, especially because this time I’ll be enjoying a different view!

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

Here we are, less a month to go to Scotland’s National Airshow, and things are sliding into place. As I mentioned last time, we’re never 100% sure of our line-up until the day and there have been a couple of changes since my last blog.

Jet Provost at Scotland's National Airshow, July 2011 by P_rocket on Flickr

Jet Provost at Scotland’s National Airshow, July 2011. Image by p_rocket on Flickr

I have managed to secure the services of Newcastle’s Neil McCarthy and his lovely Jet Provost. Neil is a great friend of the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune and has displayed here many times: he always produces the goods and I am delighted he will be part of the line up for what will be an exciting and varied show.

Royal Navy Sea Fury at Scotland's National Airshow in July 2013

Royal Navy Sea Fury at Scotland’s National Airshow in July 2013

I can now tell you all that the Royal Navy has confirmed the participation of the Sea King and the Sea Fury, so everything is in place and I can now go firm(ish) on the air display plan.  I’ve already mentioned that we are sharing a number of aircraft with the Sunderland show this year, and although this can complicate the planning we have been able to accommodate all the various requirements quite easily.

My next job in the planning cycle is producing the co-ordination plan for Edinburgh Airport, to ensure we don’t cause too much havoc in their already-busy air traffic plot.

Privately owned Westland Wasp at the Classic-Jet Air Show, Kemble, England, in 2003.

Privately owned Westland Wasp at the Classic-Jet Air Show  in 2003, similar to the Westland Wasp appearing at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014.

We plan to have a couple of helicopters inside the showground this year as ‘live’ static aircraft, and I’m glad to say we will have an ex-Royal Navy Westland Wasp and the OH-6 Loach.  I always think it lends something to an airshow if people can get close to live aircraft and their crews. Crowds will also see the Royal Navy Sea King and Huey helicopters on the other side of the showground fence. The crowd should always have something interesting to look at when there aren’t aircraft actually displaying.  The Squirrel helicopter will also be landing, carrying RED 10, the RAF Red Arrows display supervisor,  Squadron Leader Mike Ling.

Royal Air Force Areobatic Team "The Red Arrows" on Springhawk 2104 at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. © Crown copyright 2014

Royal Air Force Areobatic Team “The Red Arrows” on Springhawk 2104 at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. © Crown copyright 2014

My team is straining at the leash and ready to go. Let’s hope the great weather continues beyond the big day. That’s it for now, over and out…

Norm Webster

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

My second blog post is a bit earlier than normal, but I thought as I now know what fantastic aircraft we’ll be displaying at this summer’s Airshow, I’d like to share that information with you.

Red Arrows sporting new livery © Tom Hunter

Red Arrows sporting this year’s 50th anniversary livery © Tom Hunter

As you are all no doubt aware, the fact that an aircraft is programmed in the display is no guarantee of its appearance. Occasionally issues over which we have no control, from aircraft serviceability to weather, can have an effect on even the best airshow programmes. With that caveat out of the way, let me reveal that the proposed line–up so far for the Scotland’s National Airshow 2014, East Fortune, is as follows:

  • Red Arrows
  • RAF Typhoon
  • RAF Tucano
  • RAF BBMF Spitfire
  • RAF BBMF Hurricane
  • RAF BBMF Lancaster
  • Bucker Jungmann
  • Stolp Starduster
  • Tiger Moth
  • Breitling Wingwalkers
  • UH-1 Huey
  • OH-6 LOACH (static only)
  • RV8tors aerobatic team
  • Autogyro (type TBD)
  • OV-10 Bronco
  • North American T-6 Texan
OV10 Bronco at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight on 23 July 2011 © Robert G Henderson

OV10 Bronco at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight on 23 July 2011 © Robert G Henderson

I think we have the makings of a great display and I am already planning some great ‘theatre of the air’ moments.

RAF Eurofight Typhoon aircraft will be part of the line-up for the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26  July 2014

RAF Eurofight Typhoon aircraft will be part of the line-up for the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26 July 2014

We had the initial Event Planning & Emergency Services meeting recently, the meeting that sets everybody concerned on the right path, and I think I’m right in saying that everything so far looks good.  Thankfully, I only really have to worry about the flying display: I’d be completely lost if I had to sort out the traffic management or the visitor handling arrangements – I’m sure I’d make a total mess of it!

Rv8tors aerobatic display team © Steve Hawthorne

Rv8tors aerobatic display team © Steve Hawthorne

That’s it for today: this has been just a short message to let you all know that we are on track, and have some spectacular aircraft lined-up for you. All I ask of you all now is to keep praying for good weather.

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

The Scottish National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, seems to arrive quicker and quicker each year – perhaps it’s an age thing, but I’m beginning to think it may be that I’m finally getting into the swing of Scotland. I’ve been quietly confident that we will be able to attract some decent aircraft to the airshow.

RAF Red Arrows display with 50th anniversary new tail fin © Jamie Hunter.

RAF Red Arrows display with 50th anniversary new tail fin © Jamie Hunter.

Well, I can now confirm that we have been very fortunate indeed with our RAF allocation. The Typhoon, Tucano, Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and last, but obviously not least, the Red Arrows, will all be part of our Airshow. I am hoping that the Royal Navy will be able to support us as well. As you may remember, the SAR Sea King from HMS Gannet, Prestwick, was due to take part in our Airshow last year. However, on the day the aircraft was called out to an emergency and couldn’t attend – although the fact that the crew subsequently saved somebody’s life puts their absence from an air display into stark perspective.

Sea King descending at the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Sat 28 July 2012

RN Sea Kinghelicopter descending at the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune in 2012.

I’m keen to attract a choice cross-section of commercially-operated aircraft to complete our line-up.  More information in my next blog post.

I have already had my initial meeting with the Edinburgh Airport authorities, as once again I shall be using the city’s airport to host some of the aircraft for the show.  I am always gratified by the enthusiasm of all concerned at Edinburgh Airport to make the show a success, and once again they seem happy to take on the challenge, with Air Traffic Control, Signature Flight Support and the Edinburgh Airport  itself all indicating their willingness to help.  It can’t be easy, integrating my display traffic into the already-busy flight schedules of an international airport, and I am always very grateful for their efforts.

RAF Typhoon display over East Fortune at Airshow 2013 © frontendkindaguy on Flickr.

RAF Typhoon display over East Fortune at Airshow 2013 © frontendkindaguy on Flickr.

As last year, the display date is quite a busy day in the UK airshow calendar, with displays on the south and east coasts as well as at East Fortune.  The ‘biggy’ as far as we are concerned is the Sunderland display, which will take place over the same weekend.  The reason is that it is comparatively easy for East Fortune and Sunderland to share some display aircraft, as we are not separated by a mountain range, we are on the same side of the country, and the distance is quite quickly covered by most display aircraft types.

RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster Bomber.

RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster Bomber.

It may seem strange to some that displays share aircraft in this matter but makes the job of the military display teams easier as they can support several displays from one airfield, rather than having to send ground crew and support teams to every location.  We have to be very organised as we must not only co-ordinate our own displays but also co-ordinate with someone else’s display as well.

That’s it for now, the next main event in the planning cycle is the Emergency Services Meeting,  after which planning will really start to gather pace.  See you soon, and let’s all pray for a ‘barbeque’ summer.

A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

Fantastic display and drier!

Well, that’s it for another year.  A fantastic display at Scotland’s National Airshow, and the weather just about held.  I’m sure most of you would agree that compared to last year the one shower we had in the midst of a day of sunshine doesn’t really count as rain!!  This year there was a certain amount of re-programming and juggling to do, which made for some hectic moments in the control cabin, but I think we did what we came to do – give Scotland a great flying display.

There’s always a fast ball waiting in the display business, and this year it was the withdrawal of the Sabre with literally days to go.  Luckily, Jonathan Whaley and his gorgeous Hawker Hunter, Miss Demeanour, stepped into the breach and we were able to carry on with hardly a blip in the planning process.

Miss Demeanour Hawker Hunter and Sea Fury at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013 © Spencer Harbar

Miss Demeanour Hawker Hunter and Sea Fury at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013  © Spencer Harbar

All the best laid plans…

As those of you who have been following the display plans know, the Sabre was the latest in a series of cancellations.  Not to be disheartened though, we always cope and come up with a new plan. By the time the first members of the public walked through the gate on Saturday morning, I was on display plan number 13 and was hoping it wasn’t going to be unlucky!

Having briefed the crews operating out of Edinburgh airport, I arrived on site at about 10.45 to be told that the Search And Rescue Sea King helicopter had been called out, but still hoped to make it to the display.  There is nothing you can do about that, and it’s always a caveat of using the Navy Sea King that, if needed, it will answer Search And Rescue calls.  As our commentator Ben said on the day, the people who need her will be a lot more pleased to see her than we could possibly be.

Eurofighter Typhoon at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013 © Spencer Harbar

Eurofighter Typhoon at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013 © Spencer Harbar

And off we go!

Opening the display with the Typhoon really set the scene for a great day.  The clear blue sky and the noise and drama of the aircraft served to get us off to a grand start.  The Breitling Wingwalkers were spectacular as usual and the idea of getting them over from Archerfield to meet people was inspired.  The queues at the ‘meet the crew’ tent showed how just popular they were.

The Breitling Wingwalkers', Danielle and Freya came to meet-and-greet visitors at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013

The Breitling Wingwalkers’, Danielle and Freya came to meet-and-greet visitors at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013

I thought the flight display was terrific this year and behind the scenes there was so much going on to coordinate the show, including arranging for some aircraft to take part at the very last minute!

Our autogyro had problems  with starting.  Having already possibly lost the Sea King display, I wasn’t keen on losing another display item!  So, after a few minutes of manic activity, with a phone at each ear to try and find a replacement aircraft, I was delighted that  Jim McTaggart at Archerfield came up trumps with his Piper Cub – a lovely looking aircraft in such a small arena.  I gave Jim a start time and the challenge that we needed a five minute display as there was aircraft on the way from Edinburgh.  And he did it, a perfect five-minute show, clearing the display line in order to allow the Buchon (Me109) to fly in.  What a graceful aircraft, beautifully displayed by John Romain from the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford.  I could relax… for a bit…

Oh no, what do we do now?

After a quick phone call to Prestwick Airport, it was obvious we weren’t going to see the Sea King, so my next challenge was how to fill this gap?

The answer? Get the SWIP team to display early and massage the gaps from then on, slowly filling the time from the back of the programme so that when we reached the finale we would be back on time.  And that is precisely what happened.  Everyone played their part in modifying timings when asked.  And everything was going swimmingly until we were told the BBMF Spitfire had suffered an in-flight engine problem and had to return to Newcastle.

SWIP team performing at the AIrshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013 © Spencer Harbar

SWIP team performing at the AIrshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013 © Spencer Harbar

By this time I realised that I’d have to accept a slightly earlier finish time than planned, and I started making arrangements accordingly.  But, as it turned out, the crews came up trumps.  We were able to get back on time quite quickly and by the time the Sea Fury arrived we were back on track for a spectacular finale.  I think you will all agree that the Sea Fury and Hawker Hunter formation was brilliant and that Jonathan in Miss Demeanour provided a fitting end to a great day.

It turns out that the Sea King was called out to a job off the Isle of Man, and from there was re-tasked to two more missions, clocking up over nine hours flying by day’s end: that’s a very long time to sit in a helicopter, and here I speak from experience.

Trying out the static Lytham St Anne's Spifire at the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013

Trying out the static Lytham St Anne’s Spifire at the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013

Well that’s it for another year

Last year I commented on the two little girls playing in the puddles in their new wellies, oblivious to the flying display.  Well this year it was a little boy, about five or six years old, who caught our attention , bang in front of the control cabin.  He was definitely a future aircraft enthusiast or even pilot – he was wearing a children’s flying suit, complete with pilot’s wings, and had a toy aeroplane in his hands.  As the display aircraft twisted, rolled and looped in front of him, so he twisted, rolled and looped his toy, getting in such a spin at one point that he fell over!  Up he jumped, and off he went again – the future of aviation is safe in Scotland.

Norm Webster, Flying Display Director, Dave Bolsover, Flying Control Committee, Jonathan Smith, Air Traffic Controller, Steve LeVien, Air Traffic Controller, BenDunnell, Commentator and Tom Gibbons, Ops Officer after the air display at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013

Air display team from left to right; Norm Webster, Flying Display Director, Dave Bolsover, Flying Control Committee, Jonathan Smith, Air Traffic Controller, Steve LeVien, Air Traffic Controller, Ben Dunnell, Commentator, Jon Nixon, Flying Control Committee and Tom Gibbons, Ops Officer after the air display at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 27 July 2013

Well, that’s me just about done.  All that remains is to thank Steve McLean, General Manager at the National Museum of Flight and his team here at the Museum and ask him if he has enjoyed his first East Fortune Airshow – and I hope you did too!  I’ve written far more than I intended but I hope I haven’t rambled too much.  Have a great summer and Christmas, and hopefully I’ll be back next year!

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