FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Jersey international air display 2012

Posted in Jersey by folkestonejack on September 13, 2012

The arrival of a gigantic B-52 bomber overhead signalled the start of the 2012 air display in Jersey. The conditions were as perfect as you could hope for at an air show with beautiful blue skies and plenty of sun. Already the sea wall was lined with spectators all the way round from St Helier to St Aubin.

Once the B-52 had made one pass it returned for a second sweep of the bay though sadly it didn’t bomb the ugly luxury apartment blocks at Portelet or in the Waterfront development as some readers of the Jersey Evening Post had hoped!

The Lancaster flies over Fort Regent

After the opening act we were treated to acrobatic performances from the Patrouille de France, Red Arrows and Groupe Tranchant who provided displays that had most of us marvelling at the skill of the pilots (particularly during synchro pair sequences). Alongside this we had the spectacle of many historic aircraft, though for me it was hard to beat the sight of a Lancaster as it followed the curve of the bay round to us at St Aubin.

Amongst the more unusual of the guests at the airshow were three Saab jets from the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight which seemed appropriate in the 75th year since the founding of Saab. The three types on display today (the Saab J-37 Viggen, Saab J-29 Tunnan and Saab Sk60) date back to the 1950s/60s and have very distinctive designs. The Viggen in particular is striking for its use of two delta wings and its raw power made it the highlight of the show for me.

The Viggen was a relatively recent withdrawal from service – the type last saw frontline service in 2005 and continued on for a further two years in a training role before being completely replaced. After this, five years passed without sight of a Viggen in the skies. The restoration of one example to flight worthiness in May 2012 for the 75th anniversary and beyond has given all of us another chance to marvel at a remarkable machine. It was marvellous to see all three jets fly past in unison before their individual displays.

The Saab trio from the Swedish Historic Flight

The airshow has a reputation for bringing in innovative display teams and that label certainly applied to the Brittany Shuttle (consisting of a Broussard mother ship and the electric powered Cri-Cri) which gave us the first launch of an aircraft from another aircraft whilst in flight since 1939.

Apart from the ever changing mix of aircraft on display, the only noticeable alteration since my childhood has been the closure of the beach during the display for health and safety reasons. It now seems very strange to look back at pictures of the airshow taking place above packed beaches in the 1970s!

The Red Arrows thrill the crowds in Jersey

I had forgotten quite how marvellous the airshow in Jersey can be with the natural arena of St Aubin’s bay as a display space. Looking at the appreciation from the crowds that had turned out you would have to say that the efforts put in by Mike Higgins and the team had really paid off. I know that I was certainly wowed by everything that I saw. I am sure I will be back before too long.

A few more shots…

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