Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Blackpool Air Show 2016

On Sunday we spent the day with David and Jeannie, going down to watch the Air Show on the Promenade and then going for a Chinese meal at Chu's Phoenix on Whitegate Drive, Blackpool - highly recommended!

We were a little selective in what we wanted to watch - the main attractions being the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (which ended up being cancelled due to strong winds) and The Red Arrows. So the show had already started when we left David and Jeannie's home to walk down to the Promenade. From near their house we kept seeing the Eurofighter Typhoon appear over the houses as we walked.

There were huge crowds as was to be expected, but we found a spot on the inland side of the tram track and the first plane we saw relatively up close was the BAC Strikemaster. They were an armed version of the Jet Provost.

The Calidus Autogyro came next. Highly manoeuvrable, it's probably fun to fly in but only if you are ok in flying in something that would drop like a stone if the engine cut out... I know commercial flights are not known for gliding long distances to safe landings without engines but at least they look as though they have a chance of gliding...!

I've never been in a helicopter either, but I'd quite like to experience that even if they seem to match the non-gliding qualities of the autogyro. This is a Gazelle helicopter. So called because they are "deer" to buy? There are very few helicopters that look pretty but this is definitely not one of them...

Team Raven aerobatic team. The aircraft are an RV-4 (the leading aircraft) with the rest being RV-8s. These are kit aircraft for home-builds although not all of these aircraft were built by their pilot-owners as some were bought second hand. Described as "Quick-Build" by the kit manufacturers, I suspect it takes probably more time and knowledge than your put-together wardrobe and there will be slightly more agonised angst if you find you have several screws and bits left over at the end...

The Twister aerobatic duo. The Silence Twister aircraft were originally designed as radio-controlled aerobatic aircraft but the design was modified and this aircraft is the result. With the beautiful elliptical wings reminiscent of the Spitfire they make for a stunning sight in close formation.

The Red Arrows made a superb entrance, bursting from behind the Tower and flying over the heads of the crowd who roared their approval. It was a much better sky this year than the last couple of years as there was no low cloud. The only bug-bear was that by the time of their appearance at 4:00pm, the sun had swung itself into the line of sight. You can't win. A morning display would be better for Blackpool as the sun would be over the land and behind or at worst to the side of the audience, but it would cause difficulties for anyone wishing to just come for the day to watch.

I took lots of photos, but will limit myself here to just a few!

Now that's what I call a close pass!

A brilliant display by the world's leading display team. At the end of the display, the Red Arrows make one final pass along the front to say goodbye and take applause.

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