The sixth RAFBF Airshow at East Kirkby offered a great family day out, with a varied mix of display teams, aerobatics and warbird displays. Sadly the weather conspired to disrupt proceedings a little, with a small number of brief, but heavy, showers moving across Lincolnshire during the afternoon’s flying. A small number of aircraft cancelled as a result, or rescheduled display slots to avoid the worst of the inclement weather conditions.

 

As regular visitors will know, the annual airshow is 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 4000, visitors enjoyed cockpit displays, vintage vehicles and numerous trade stalls around the museum site.

 

In the air, marking a first display appearance at East Kirkby was YAK-3M ‘White-100’ G-CGXG. Interestingly, although a WWII design, this aircraft was part of a small batch assembled by YAK and partners in the USA during the early 1990s, to represent as closely as possible a wartime aircraft. ‘White-100’ is powered by an Allison V-1710 engine as there are currently no operational Klimov engines available for installation, however the installed Allison V-1710 closely matches the original type by being a liquid cooled piston V-12 engine with very similar dimensions and power.  The pleasing blue/grey paint scheme of “White-100” is based on a YAK-3 of 402 IAP (Regiment). During the summer of 1944 the 402 IAP received brand new YAK-3 aircraft and went on to see combat in the Vistula-Oder and East Pomerania regions. The 402 IAP was later at the spearhead of operations during the Battle for Berlin, and fought very hard and with distinction in this campaign, to later finish the War as one of the most successful regiments in the Soviet Air Force - 13,511 sorties over four years of hard fighting and an officially recognized score of  810 aerial kills for the loss of 402 aircraft and 81 pilots. 

 

Special mention should also be made of the 1944 vintage Beech D-17S Staggerwing N9405H. Resplendent in her bright yellow paint scheme, N9405H was another first time visitor to East Kirkby. Also adding to the quality of the RAFBF flying programme was the Dutch B-25 Mitchell, Bulldog T.1 XX543/G-CBAB, Trig Aerobatics, the YAK Display Team, Hardwick Warbirds, Richard Lake’s Spitfire TD248/G-OXVI, Justin Needham's South Vietnamese schemed Cessna Bird Dog, Peter Davies in his Autogiro and the barnstorming antics of Captain Neville's Flying Circus.

 

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre's Andrew Panton and display director Mike Woods are to be hugely congratulated for once again 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 that resulted in such a smooth running event.