From May 14-16, 2004, Cirrus Associates held their eighth annual Great
Vintage Flying Weekend or G-VFWE, as they like it to be abbreviated to. This year it was
held at Abingdon airfield (Oxfordshire, UK) or Dalton Barracks, as it has become, since the RAF moved out some years ago. Last years, very successful event, was held at the Cotswold Aviation Centre at Kemble Airfield. As previous events, which are really meetings rather than air shows, have been held at Old Sarum, White Waltham and Thruxton. It is clear that they like to move around.
The aircraft present live up to the organiser's dream of accumulating the biggest gathering of vintage and classic civil aircraft in Europe. 600 aircraft, a record for the event, were pre-registered this year. Not all the visitors were vintage, a number of modern 'tins' were to be found, and to some extent were parked away from the historical flying greats, as so not to spoil the affect. With lines of Austers, Miles, Percival (Provost and Prentice) and de Havilland (various Moths and a Dove) types, this was a real treat to the eyes. At 12:40, when the last visitors had arrived, the public was allowed to
wander around the aircraft park, a major plus for the show.
Anyway on with the show, which consisted of 100s of rare vintage aircraft, some seldom seen during the air show season. What caught your eye immediately was the large and clumsy shape of the ex-East German Air Force PZL Antonov An-2T (D-FKMA ex LSK-440) in an 'Aero Troika' livery. It is believed to be currently based at the nearby Wellesbourne Mountford airfield.
Multi-engine veterans included the Twin Pioneer painted in ETPS raspberry ripple scheme but flying with civil registration G-APRS. Other ex-military aircraft noted were a pair of ex RAF Pembroke's (WV740 and XL954) in the original white (above centre), blue cheat line and grey colours.
The arrival of the 4 engine DH.114 Heron (G-AORG), was a thrill to see and by chance, I was in good position to get some decent shots, as it taxied to its parking place, but some distance from the crowd line. It was previously with the Royal Navy as a Sea Heron C.4 (XR441) but is now painted in Jersey Airlines markings.