Friday, 4 September 2015

RNAS Culdrose Air Day 2015

A cracking couple of days at RNAS Culdrose Air Day 2015. In my view as far as air shows go, this is one of the best locations for aviation photographers with the sun behind you all day (well so long as it is not raining) This year was again blessed with good weather and some stunning displays.

Highlights for me were the Swiss F18, Polish Mig 29, Italian Frecce Tricolori, (who needs the Red Arrows), Sea Vixen, Rich Goodwin in his muscle bi-plane, RAF Chinook Display Team, Hawker Hunter T7, and 771 leading the Balbo for the final time.

Amongst others were the Royal Navy Sea Harriers taxying on the runway, Breitling Wing Walkers, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Lynx MK8, Royal Navy Wildcats, Wildcat aerobatics, Supermarine Seafire, P40N Kittyhawk and F4U Vought Corsair, Bronco Demo Team and Invicta Skyvan and GNAT display team.

In the static line up which appeared a little thin were the usual Royal Navy aircraft, Polish CASA 295, RAF Tornado GR4 (Bat Special) and a Percival Pembroke. That said I was assured the number of aircraft taking part in RNAS Culdrose Air Day was only three/four short of the total aircraft at RIAT 2015, so that is quite impressive. It was rather difficult to get images of the static aircraft this year due to the close proximity of the barriers to the aircraft. The layout had also changed from normal with the main arena moved from the centre to the outskirts of the static area making it much more accessible, a good move by the RNAS Culdrose team here.

The Flying display was a good mixture of old/new fast jets/slower prop aircraft/warbirds and helicopters. I would of liked one more fast jet display (but that's just me being greedy, lol) Getting in and out of the show was straight forward, traffic management was very good. The flying display flowed very smoothly with thunder in the skies, courtesy of the Swiss F18/Polish Mig 29, a very polished display of close aerobatics from the Italian Frecce Tricolori in their only UK appearance this year, Richard Goodwin in his Pitts S2S Muscle Biplane performing manoeuvres which should not be possible. Helicopters doing their routines, but the RAF Chinook Display Team were on a different level, look forward to seeing that display again. 771 Search and Rescue Squadron lead the Balbo formation for the final time (a large collection of naval aviation rotary assets and 736 squadron hawks.  Good to see the Supermarine Seafire airborne again, and the F4U Corsair. The flying display was completed in expert fashion by Sea Vixen "Foxy Lady" in some great evening light towards the end of the afternoon.

I am fully aware at the time of writing of the loss of aircraft from the GNAT Display Team and Hawker Hunter T7 at Shoreham with the tragic results of lives lost. May everyone who is no longer with us rest in peace and a speedy recovery to those injured/affected.

Apologies if I failed to mention any team/participating aircraft. The show itself has already received some tremendous feedback/reviews, can they better it next year? Looking forward to next years show in 2016 and if you have never been to the air show at RNAS Culdrose I suggest you seriously make an effort to get there in 2016, and enjoy some of our Cornish beaches/sunshine at the same time.

Here are a brief selection of images:

Swiss Hornet F-18

Royal Navy Sea Harrier, taxy display only.

Royal Navy Blackcats Display Team

The Gnat Display Team

Blades Aerobatic Team

RAF Chinook display team

Hawker Hunter T7

Swiss Air Force F-18 Hornet

Sea Vixen

RAF Tornado GR4 departs post the event

Italian Frecce Tricolori

Italian Frecce Tricolori

Polish Air Force Mig 29

Bronco Demo Team

P40N Kittyhawk

"Balbo" formation

771 the famous red/grey Sea King at air day for the last time

Supermarine Seafire

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