Posted 22 August 2011 by Andrew Gardner
I spent an enjoyable day on Saturday at the Shoreham Airshow, one of our listed What's on events in Sussex. It was good to have a few hours free to enjoy a great day out.
The back drop at Shoreham by Sea is really picturesque. Not only is Shoreham Airport the oldest civillian airport in the country with its art deco designed terminal building, it has views straight to the South Downs and the imposing Lancing College to the north.
I have been to the Shoreham Airshow a number of times over the years and one thing does not change, it has an easy relaxed atmosphere and makes a great family day out. The aircraft approach Shoreham from along the Sussex coast or through the Adur Valley which splits the Downs to the west of Devil's Dyke. Yes it's a great location from which to watch an airshow
The cuts we are seeing this year has impacted on the RAF displays and sadly we would not see the Harrier either, an aircraft that was always the show hightlight. However the show was still good without the full programme we would ususally expect with impressive warbird displays, in particular three Spitfires performing as part of a wartime scramble. Two P51 Mustangs accompanied the B17 Sally B and of course no show would be complete without an appearance from the Lancaster as a part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The sound of the four Rolls Royce Merlins is really iconic.
The Vulcan bomber always a crowd pleaser unfortunately had a fuel problem so was not on the programme but impressive displays from the Hawker Hunter and then the Sea Vixen two RAF jet aircraft also from the 1950's helped make up for it. We learned during the day of the sad news of the RAF Red Arrows and the crash of one aircraft and the tragic loss of life of the pilot at Bournmouth. At Shoreham we had a display by two Gnats shown in a bright red paint finish. The Gnat is the predecessor aircraft to the Hawk now used by the Red Arrows and it was somewhat fitting in hindsight. We also enjoyed a special display by a single Hawk from one of the few female display pilots in th RAF.
Each year there is always an appearance by the Breitling wingwalker girls perched on their Boeing Stearmans. I am not sure how they do it, and I certainly don't want to find out but I am sure the view looks great from up there, even upside down! Their streams of white smoke left the equivalent of a 'morning mist' that lingered in front of the South Downs for some while, even though it was the latter part of the afternoon!
The Shoreham Airshow is certainly an excellent family day out every August. We know we have a number of visitors to Sussex in particular those that enjoy a holiday cottage break in nearby Steyning who make a point of popping down to Shoreham by Sea for that weekend.