Waddington  2004    Waddington  2006
th Waddington International Air Show
RAF Waddington

July 2-3, 2005
The Waddington International Air Show a great show attended by thousands and enjoyed by all.
Above and below: The Polish Air Force's 'Team Orlik' in their nine PZL-130 Orlik trainers from Radom, Poland.
From time to time foreign air forces visit our shores. The Waddington Air Show team this year were quick to invite the Romanian Air Force and it's attractive MiG-21MF Lancer Cs down from Lossiemouth where they were on deployment. Another bit of good fortune and opportunism came by way of HMAS Anzac of the Australian Navy which was visiting our shores for the Trafalgar 200 anniversary event. They were invited to fly up north from Portsmouth in their Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk and were pleased to accept. A very rare bird indeed and nicely positioned in the static display area.
Left to right: Royal Australian S-70B Seahawk (N24-012), support for Romanian Lancers Antonov An-26 (810) and support for Hungarian MiG-29, another Antonov An-26 (407)
Left to right: The Hungarian Air Force MiG-29UB (27) being put through its paces from start to finish
To give the show even more 'Eastern promise', the Hungarian Air Force flew over a MiG-29UB Fulcrum from the 59th Fighter Wing at Kecskemet, Budapest. Rather than grace the extensive static display, this spectacular aircraft was one of the highlights of the day's display. With afterburner glowing, the pilot performed high G turns and tail slides to demonstrate this aircraft's incredible capabilities.
Whilst the Polish Air Force's aerobatic display team 'Team Orlik' in their nine PZL-130 Orlik trainers might not be the most spectacular, their display was varied and interesting. They are not regular visitors to our shows and for me they were one of the highlights of the day. There first public display was back in 1998 at Fairford, when they only had four aircraft in the formation.
Naturally Waddington is very reliant on RAF and Royal Navy participation. We were certainly were treated to the cream of our forces display aircraft. Getting to near the end of its all too short career with the Royal Navy, is the Sea Harrier FA.2 flying in a four-ship display team for this season. Whilst you can't help thinking that the display could have been more impressive, just seeing four of these gravity defying aircraft, hovering in front of the crowd line, was more than enough for everyone.
The four ship Sea Harrier FA.2s prepare for a formation take-off. One of the two identical RAF Valley 2005 display Hawks (XX309) which both attended the show and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC.2A (ZH895) being demonstrated. The Chinook is difficult to photograph with it's dull drab olive paint scheme. I waited till I could get the sun's reflection just right to highlight some detail.
Waddington based Boeing E-3D Sentry, C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH888) from Lyneham and Polish Air Force PZL-130 Orlik (042) return after their displays.
Afterburners! The RAF's Tornado variants the F.3 and GR.4 both provided very impressive displays. The main RAF display that everyone was looking forward to this year was of course the Eurofighter Typhoon T.1 once again. This year however the Typhoon was performing it's full display. Right from take-off the 29 Squadron Typhoon from nearby Coningsby showed off it's incredible agility and performance with up to 8G turns and square loop. 56(R) Squadron Tornado F.3 (ZG772 'WJ') in Firebird 2005 display season special markings and 29(R) Squadron Typhoon T.1 (ZJ810 'BI')
Left to right: Peter Vacher's recently restored Hurricane Mk.1 (R4118 'UP-W'/G-HUPW), BBMF Hurricane (LF363 'US-C') and the unusual two seat Spitfire T.9 (MJ627 '9G-P' /G-BMSB)
Apart from the modern day aircraft, there was a good mix of aircraft representing the World War Two. Spitfires, Hurricanes, the Lancaster and B-17G Flying Fortress (see above) all flew. 'Sally B' was very welcome as the EU in all it's wisdom have re-written the rules regarding third party insurance criteria, which effectively has grounded this much loved B-17. Sir Richard Branson we now hear has given a large sum of money to pay the increased costs to the end of the year. We all hope this Government can do something in time for next year's display season to undo what it has participated in, by agreeing to the new regulations. (Note the use of smoke for a simulated engine fire, new for this season).
Everyone is now looking forward to 2007 and to the new leadership, all the best to Jacqui Wheeler and her retirement from the team, I am very grateful to you.