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Torbay Air Show 2018
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Riviera Guy

Joined: 12 Aug 2018
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:38 pm    Post subject: Torbay Air Show 2018 Reply with quote

Paignton hosted the third Torbay Air Show on Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd June – the show being the first UK air show of the season and a special year celebrating the centenary of the RAF. The thousands of people that lined Paignton beach and promenade and the many other vantage points around Torbay, were treated to a very varied and exciting display of aircraft in perfect sunny conditions on both days.

The programme was very similar for both Saturday and Sunday. The Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers only appeared on Saturday and the Chinook displayed only on Sunday. On the original programme the pair of Vampire’s of the Norwegian Airforce Historical Squadron were due to display, but technical issues prevented them from leaving Norway, so they were substituted with the Bristol Blenheim which appeared on both days. The other alteration was the non appearance of the Spitfire and Hurricane which were due to join the Lancaster and Dakota of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – again, technical issues prevented them from taking to the skies.

Team Raven
The Team fly a mix of Vans RV4 and RV8 aircraft. All the planes are self built, although only Ravens 2 and 4 have been built by the Team members themselves. The planes are of an all aluminium construction using the Lycoming io360 180 hp engines. Steve Lloyd formed the team with Barry Gwynnett in late 2013. The Team is lead by Simon “Sid” Shirley in an RV4. The other pilots are ex professional rugby player Gerald Williams, and Mark Southern. The five pilots have racked up many thousands of hours flying between them in a vast array of planes – both prop and fast jet. Team Raven put on a great opening display of close aerobatic displays.

OV-10 Bronco
The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is an American twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s and specifically designed for the Vietnam War and also deployed successfully during the Cold war and Gulf War I (Operation Desert Shield). In 2016 the Pentagon sent a pair of highly upgraded Bronco’s to Iraq to take on ISIS and were extremely successful. They were fitted with the new and promising Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, or the APKWS, a 70 mm rocket with a laser seeker. The team of enthusiasts that display this aircraft were formed in 2010 and are based at Kortrijk-Wevelgem International Airport, Belgium. The OV-10B Bronco variant displayed was produced for Germany as target tug. 18 aircraft were delivered in the early 1970's and were equipped with a steel cable winch inside the fuselage. A clear dome replaced the rear cargo door and a backward facing seat was installed for the winch operator. They finished service in 1991. The Bronco carries a very distinctive poppy livery added in 2017 in remembrance of all those who died in the Flanders Fields 100 years ago during World War 1. The pilot put on a great display showing how manoeuvrable this twin tailed aircraft is, with a very distinctive engine note.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – Lancaster / Dakota
The Avro Lancaster PA474 is one of only two aircraft remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 that were built (the other is in Canada with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton, Ontario). PA474 rolled off the production line at the Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory at Hawarden Airfield, Chester on 31 May 1945, just after the war in Europe came to an end, so she was prepared for use against the Japanese as part of the ‘Tiger Force’. However, the war in the Far East also ended before she was deployed and she did not take part in any hostilities.PA474 completed a ‘major’ servicing at Duxford across the winter of 2016-17.Douglas Dakota ZA947 joined the BBMF in 1993. In 2004, an original and authentic floor and interior was re-fitted to the Dakota, returning the cabin to the original, wartime specification. ZA947 is now painted to represent Dakota FZ692 of No 233 Squadron, around the D-Day period in 1944. This aircraft, which was named ‘Kwicherbichen’ by her crews, was involved in Para-dropping operations on the eve of D-Day and subsequently in re-supply and casualty evacuation missions into and out of forward airfields in the combat areas.

To celebrate the centenary of the RAF, OC BBMF Sqn Ldr Andy ‘Milli’ Millikin and Bomber Leader Flt Lt Tim ‘Twigs’ Dunlop have designed a special display. The result is a choreographed 22-minute sequence that opens with the unique ‘Trenchard Formation’- named in honour of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO who was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force and has been described as the “Father of the Royal Air Force”. The Dakota and Lancaster should have been joined on either side by a Spitfire and Hurricane – unfortunately neither plane was able to join the formation due to mechanical issues. The two planes made a wonderful sight as they swooped majestically across the Bay in very close formation and on one pass, the Lancaster opened its bomb bay doors and the Dakota had its rear door open....the crowd could imagine the paratroopers departing......The crowd then heard over the PA a transmission from the pilots....”bombers break”, and the planes then split formation for their solo’s.

Grob Tutor
The Grob Tutor T Mk1 is powered by a 180hp Textron Lycoming AE 360B engine and the air frame is 96% carbon fibre construction. The Tutor is used by University Air Squadrons and Elementary Flying Training Squadrons. It is simple to fly, yet also sufficiently demanding to be a fine elementary trainer enabling a student and instructor to sit side by side. It is a challenging display aircraft for the pilot as “energy” (combination of speed and height) must be maintained between manoeuvres and therefore demands smooth and precise handling. The Display Team are based at RAF Wittering.

Peter Troy-Davies gave a very entertaining display in his RotorSport Calidus gyro copter powered by a Rotax 914 engine developing 115hp. Always a popular crowd pleaser, Peter has been flying for 32 years, 22 specialising in gyro’s and he holds many awards.

Pitts Special S1-S
Rich Goodwin put on an impressive display in his Muscle Biplane Pitts S2S G-EWIZ. The original Pitts was designed by Curtis Pitts and first flew in 1945. G-EWIZ is a Pitts S2S, one of only 30 aircraft ever built – designed in the 1960’s for air show aerobatics. Most were certified production aircraft, but a few, including G-EWIZ were home built from factory kits. Powered by a 8.5 litre engine producing in excess of 300hp it can reach over 200mph and pulling plus 6g and minus 5g. Rich is an ex RAF Tornado pilot. He opened and closed his display with his trade mark knife edge pass as he went the full length of the prom low in the sky and sideways with full smoke on – incredible plane control.

The Red Arrows
Arguably the most famous aerobatic team in the world. The Red Arrows fly the Hawk Mark 1 and are based at RAF Scampton. The team started displaying in 1965 and at the start of the 2018 season – the Torbay Air Show being their first display – had flown almost 4,900 displays in 57 countries. This is their 54th season and they have more than 60 shows in the diary for 2018. The latest season is the first time the nine-aircraft formation has been led by Squadron Leader Martin Pert, who flies as Red 1. In this years display as well as some of the old favourite manoeuvres such as Tornado and Phoenix, there is a new manoeuvre christened Centenary Split to celebrate 100 years of the RAF. Seven aircraft will pull up at 4g and 420mph, climbing over a mile high before simultaneously splitting in a fan like break. The low cloud on Saturday restricted the Red’s to a flatter display, but on Sunday, they were able to show off their full display including the heart and arrow. The Centenary Split will also become a new crowd favourite – as always, another stunning display.

Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers
The fearless girls atop the wings of the two Boeing Stearman biplanes went through their moves whilst the planes were put through their aerobatic paces by the pilots. These manoeuvres include, loops, rolls, stall turns and even inverted flight! During all of this, the wingwalkers experience speeds of up to 150 mph and 'G' forces of up to 4G! The team is a favourite at air shows all over the world and were until recently sponsored by watch maker Breitling. Wingwalking can trace its routes back to the early days of flying. In 1918 an American flier called Ormer Locklear came up with a stunt that was guaranteed to wow the crowds - he would climb out of the aeroplane and walk along the wing and even climb from one aeroplane onto to another. Apparently Locklear first clambered out of the cockpit to fix a technical problem while training during WW1. Soon wing walking was a mainstay of any flying circus and Locklear was soon joined by numerous other daredevils including the worlds first female wing walker - Ethal Dare. In those early days, the wingwalkers were completely untethered with no parachute – one slip and it was all over for them. Always a highly entertaining display the planes in their bright orange livery flying in close proximity to each other set against the blue sky with the girls performing acrobatics and waving to the crowds as they passed at low level – a display not to miss!

The Tigers Freefall Parachute Display Team
The Tigers are soldiers from the The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment's Parachute display team. The team was formed in 1986. The five troopers demonstrated their precision parachuting by landing on a marker on Paignton beach.

Bristol Blenheim
The Blenheim was a welcome late substitution in the show programme for the pair of Vampires which could not make the air show due to mechanical problems. This is the only Mark 1 Blenheim flying today – L6739 - and took to the air for the first time in November 2014. The restoration was completed by John Romain and his team at the Aircraft Restoration Company based at the former RAF Duxford. This particular Blenheim is actually a hybrid airframe, incorporating the bulk of a Canadian-built Blenheim Mk.IV, more correctly referred to as a Bolingbroke, and the restored cockpit section from a British-built Blenheim Mk.I. The Blenheim is an under-appreciated aircraft which was vital to Britain’s early war effort. A very unusual and distinctive looking plane. The pilot performed a number of passes showing off the capabilities of this bomber from the early days of WW2.

A crowd favourite - the British jet powered training and attack aircraft was first flown in 1967. A total of 146 were built. The plane displayed carries the markings of the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force. It is an 82A – 12 versions were built and all supplied to Oman. Over the winter, the plane has been re-painted and is now resplendent in a camouflage pattern. The plane was flown by Mark Petrie.

The Blades
The Team were formed in 2005 by two ex RAF pilots. The Blades are a team of 5 highly experienced pilots flying the Extra EA-300LP and 330SC. These planes are specially designed for aerobatic displays. The Blades are led by Andy Evans – a former Red Arrow. The Team also has the first female to be selected for the Red Arrows – Kirsty Murphy. Another of the pilots, Ben Murphy, is also representing the Blades and GB as the only British pilot competing against 13 other elite pilots in the 8 race Red Bull Air Race 2018 series. He will be flying the Edge 540 Race Plane in the Air Race series which can reach speeds of 245mph and can pull +14g / -14g. This year Gerald Cooper has joined the Team. Gerald is a highly experienced display pilot having held numerous British National Aerobatic titles. He has also regularly featured in the World Championships top 10. The team put on an impressive display of tight formation aerobatics with some moves being similar to those performed by the Red Arrows – not surprising as most of the pilots are ex Reds – but also a number of original set pieces including the Champagne Break. Gerald Cooper also put on an incredible solo display – it is easy to see why he is probably one of the worlds top pilots when you see how he throws the plane around – the commentator referred to one sequence of moves as like being in a tumble drier!

Spitfire MKIX – City of Exeter
With Exeter being only 25 miles away, it was quite fitting that this particular Spit took to the skies over Torbay. RR232 was built in Castle Bromwich by Vickers Armstrong and delivered to the RAF in October 1944 as an ‘HF.IX’ high altitude fighter where it was allocated to an anti-aircraft co-operation Squadron. It was then sold to the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 1948. After changing hands a few times and being only fit for static display the plane returned to Britain in 1986. Further changes of ownership followed until being purchased by current owner Martin Phillips, a businessman from Exeter, who began a 13 year restoration to return the Spit to full air worthiness. An immense challenge – friends presented Martin with a single rivet on his 40th birthday and asked him to produce a Spitfire! Parts were salvaged from all over the world – one of the wings was found in a hedge outside an Exeter pub. RR232 took to the skies again in December 2012 being the last aircraft to be built at the Filton Aerodrome (home of Concorde) before its redevelopment. Christened “City of Exeter” in honour of the presentation Spitfire donated to the war effort by the people of Exeter from local fund raising. RR232 today operates from Goodwood Aerodrome – the plane operated from the same airfield during the war when it was known as RAF Westhampnett. The Spitfire was put through its paces by local pilot Matt Jones who grew up in Torquay and Exeter. The distinctive engine notes of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine hanging in the air on every swoop....very special....with the Spit finishing off the display with a victory roll. Perfect!

The always impressive Chinook came in close to the beach to demonstrate just how manoeuvrable this massive helicopter is – a vital workhorse. Based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

The awesome Eurofighter Typhoon FGR Mk 4 closed the show on both days. With a top speed of Mach1.8 and able to operate to a maximum altitude of 55,000 ft. - it is an incredible piece of engineering. This years Display Team is from 29 Squadron based at RAF Coningsby. The display pilot for 2018 is Flt Lt Jim Peterson – having flown fast jets in combat in Libya, he is now an instructor for the Typhoon and electronic warfare systems. The display routine has been designed by Jim to demonstrate the immense capabilities of the Typhoon – it sure lives up to the Team’s catchphrase – “Bring the noise”! The display ended with the Typhoon flying vertically up into the stratosphere and out of sight.

The good news is that the fourth Torbay Air Show has already been confirmed and will be back again in Paignton on the 1st and 2nd June 2019 – get it in your diaries!

For a video showing highlights from the weekend, please go to my YouTube channel:

For a selection of my pictures from the weekend, please visit my Flickr album:
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