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Published: September 13th 2011
Iconic aircraft from the cold war warrior "Vulcan" to state-of-the-art "Typhoons", roared over Fife in Scotland on Saturday at the Leuchars Airshow. This year's event was a celebration of old and new to mark 100 years of the RAF at Leuchars. This was my first visit to the airshow and I hope the closure of the airforce base and the movement of all operations to RAF Lossiemouth in 2013 under government cutbacks, does not threaten any possible future events at this location.
There was an especially warm welcome for the Red Arrows aerobatic display team from everyone in the crowd who broke out into spontaeneous applause after they tragically lost pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging in a crash in Bournemouth last month. The crowd started clapping arms held above their heads in a moment of joint support as the men and one women dressed in scarlet strode across the short walk from their aircraft to their support crews and to acknowledge the public!
In a show of professionalism, the team resumed public displays in time for Leuchars and their display was a highlight of the programme thrilling everyone who watched it. As the eight-strong team completed a series of
breathtaking manoeuvres, a poignant gap in the sky left by Red 4 was a constant reminder of the dangers encountered by military show pilots.
We who were watching from the crowd were also delighted by the Arrows' Gallic equivalent, Patrouille de France. I believe we've definitely seen two of the world's premiere display teams throwing their jets around the sky — Patrouille de France from our strategic partners across the channel and our own RAF aerobatic team the Red Arrows.
The day had always been threatened by dark ominous clouds and fleeting glimpses of sunshine and when the heavy torrential rain shower finally arrived it caused a flurry of people to scatter in all directions for shelter underneath the nearest aircraft wing or the static displays in the hangars as the deluge caused the tar on the runway to fizz under the cloudburst. The weather was also partly responsible for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight being cancelled this year which to me was a huge disappointment, I had been looking forward to seeing the Spitfire and Hurricane, but there's no planning for the weather, I suppose these aircraft are irreplaceable and can't be risked in poor flying
I think it's fair to say the event in itself has been a phenomenal success. I heard there were over 35,000 people who came streaming through the gate, we've seen an excellent flying display culminating with the Typhoon flypast, which is the future of the air force, and we've seen the Vulcan, which is the iconic historic past of British aviation. It was great to see this grand old lady flying again, her shape was rather like a bat and looked very formidable as it came into view low and fast on the horizon! The grand finale has to be the mock bombing run which sent a huge flash of heat from the blast over us shortly followed by the BOOM, as the pyrotechnic charges lit up the sky!
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