Now in its fifth year, the RAFBF Airshow stepped up to another level this year in terms of content and quality, with three renown display teams and a four engined jet bomber making an appearance at the annual show - held in support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and the continued restoration of resident Avro Lancaster Just Jane. With advance tickets sales in the region of 3500, visitors enjoyed an event with reasonably good weather and much to keep families & enthusiasts alike entertained amongst the busy flightline, aircraft cockpit displays and vintage cars.
Undeniably stealing the show was East Kirkby's first ever jet display act, in the incredible form of Avro Vulcan XH558/G-VLCN The Spirit Of Great Britain, performing two passes and crewed by Martin Withers, Bill Ramsey and Barry Masefield. The Vulcan's four Rolls Royce Olympus engines roared over the airfield, and no doubt rattled some windows in the local area, especially as she departed with a spiral climb out from the area! The audience were clearly entranced by this aircraft and I am sure we all hope the Vulcan to the Sky team can return for another display in the future.
One of the impressive display teams at the RAFBF Airshow, the Wildcat Aerobatic Team aims to deliver crowd thrilling displays; and thrill they most certainly did with their choreographed flying encapsulating both close formation and synchronized pairs flying. A three aircraft team, the Wildcats operate a pair of Pitts Special biplanes and an Edge 360 high performance monoplane. Team members Dave Jenkins, Willie Cruickshank and Al Coutts are to be congratulated for performing such an entertaining display.
Adding to the quality of the RAFBF flying programme were the renown Blades Display Team and Trig Aerobatics, flying colorful Extra EA-300s and Pitts Specials respectively. Warbirds were not forgotten at this former World War II airfield, with two P-51 Mustangs arriving from Hardwick Warbirds to perform their magical routine, with Marinell flown by Maurice Hammond and Janie by Rob Davies. Spitfire Mk.XVI TD248/G-OXVI was displayed by Richard Lake and accompanying the Spitfire for a first time appearance at the show was Richard's north African desert schemed Buchon, flown with real flair by Air Marshall Cliff Spink.
Other display acts included John Sully in his bright red yet diminutive Taylor Titch, Auster AOP.11 XP254/G-ASCC and Justin Needham's South Vietnamese schemed Cessna Bird Dog. Showing the agility of an autogiro was Peter Davies and at the other end of the spectrum were the antics of Captain Neville's Flying Circus, surely performing barnstorming at its best.
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre's Andrew Panton and display director Mike Woods are to be hugely congratulated for assembling such a varied and entertaining airshow. Special mention should also be made of the fire crews, aircraft marshalling staff and L.A.H.C.s ground staff for all their hard work on the day ensuring everything ran smoothly.
The next major event at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is Props and Pistons on 26 August, with millions of Pounds worth of exotic cars on display and flying displays by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, two P-51 Mustangs and excitingly, a first time display at East Kirkby by a B-25 Mitchell!
Above: Courtesy of Wildcat Aerobatic Displays, a unique view of the 2013 RAFBF airshow at East Kirkby.
Below: Images of the excellent display routine by the Wildcats.
Below: Avro Vulcan XH558 The Spirit Of Great Britain - the awesome first jet display at East Kirkby.
Below: The Trig Aerobatic Team
Gallery #1 - RAFBF Airshow 2013
Gallery #2 - RAFBF Airshow 2013
Below: Resident Avro Lancaster Just Jane performed two taxy runs to much applause from the crowd.
Below: Busy scenes along the flight line and the queue for a look at the Lancaster's cockpit.