FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Dawlish Airshow 2014

Posted in Dawlish, England by folkestonejack on August 23, 2014

I have long intended to make a trip to Dawlish to see the free airshow that takes place every year, attracted by the many wonderful images that have been published online.

The delightful vista of the coastline that presented itself to us as we took up a spot on the hillside near the Smugglers Inn fully justified our travels. The entire coastline from Shell Cove to Langstone Rock looked stunning and quite astonishingly full of people. Early reports indicated that there were around 100,000 spectators with over 9,000 alone arriving by train. We had arrived fairly early in the day and managed to get on a train without difficulty, but later trains must have been heavily packed.

Royal Air Force  Sea King ZH545 against the beautiful backdrop of Dawlish

Royal Air Force Sea King ZH545 against the beautiful backdrop of Dawlish

The tide was was coming in throughout the afternoon, limiting available spectator space on the beach, but the beauty of this airshow is the large number of viewing spots – as well as the hillsides above the town there are good views available from Coryton’s Cove, the top of Langstone Rock and even a more distant view from the coastline around Exmouth. In my opinion, it is hard to beat the view from the hillside near the Smugglers Inn and the possibilities this offers photographers.

The airshow at Dawlish is all the more remarkable because it is dependent on donations, sponsorship and programme sales to ensure that it can carry on from one year to the next. I was more than happy to contribute, having read about the incredible fundraising efforts of the organising committee.

Thrilling in red

Thrilling in red

The Red Arrows are guaranteed crowd pleasers and always spectacular but their display seemed even more dramatic against this backdrop, whizzing over the top of us on the hill and delivering a remarkable sequence of moves. The display team are now in their fiftieth season and every time I see them perform their acrobatics I am left in awe of the skill of the pilots. Indeed, we had further evidence of this from the synchronised acrobatics of the Blades, a team made up of former Red Arrows pilots.

The star attraction of this year’s show was undoubtedly the pairing of the world’s only two airworthy Lancasters which closed the day in style. The RAF Battle of British Memorial Flight’s Lancaster PA474 (currently painted to represent Lancaster DV385, of 617 Squadron, using the code letters ‘KC-A’) was joined by the Lancaster from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (currently painted to represent KB726 – VR-A which flew with RCAF No. 419 Squadron).

A pair of Lancasters over Dawlish

A pair of Lancasters over Dawlish

The Canadian Lancaster is making a two month tour of the UK having crossed the North Atlantic via Goose Bay and Reykjavik. The Lancaster arrived on August 8th and is scheduled to start her homeward journey to Canada on September 22nd.

My personal highlights from the airshow were the two classic jets – the Jet Provost T3 and the English Electric Canberra. The Provost was a jet training aircraft which was produced in large numbers and successfully exported around the world. The trainer was in service with the RAF until 1993 so I would assume that I have seen one in the air before, but I don’t have any particular memory of seeing one in flight. I had already seen the Canberra at Farnborough, but you can never have too much of these classic jets!

Other aircraft at the airshow included a Beechcraft Model 18 light transport plane, a Whirlwind helicopter, a RAF Shorts Tucano and Rich Goodwin’s Muscle Biplane.

Jet Provost T3

Jet Provost T3

I couldn’t really compete with the big lenses on the hillside (something of the order of 400-600mm would be ideal) but enjoyed my attempts at capturing the planes against such a stunning backdrop. It would be good to come back and have another go…


Static display at Jersey airport

Posted in Jersey by folkestonejack on September 7, 2011

A static display of the aircraft taking part in the airshow opened at the airport this afternoon and I went to check it out, not having particularly high expectations. How wrong I could be! It was a fantastic opportunity to take photographs of the aircraft against the backdrop of the airport. Indeed, static turned out to be a deceptive word as there were still some arrivals expected and many of the aircraft went out to practice, providing us with the spectacle of aircraft taxiing to and fro. All credit to the organisers for having arranged such a friendly and accessible display. It was well worth the small admission charge.