9 June 2013

The 75th Cosford Air Show 2013

Firstly, let it be known that I am in no way any kind of plane buff. I don't know my F-18 from my F30. Sure I am from a proud military family and I know how to march in step, but terms like drag and Lead Pursuit is all but Greek to me.

This was my first ever air show, and though I had no real expectations I found the experience completely enthralling from start to finish.

Amongst the Parachute drops and model aircraft flypasts nestled a few truly spectacular treats. I witnessed a fifteen tonne Chinook dance through the air with a grace hitherto unimaginable. The ferocious sound of its twin rotors buffeting the crowd as it faced nose up, before spinning away and falling towards the Earth. I saw an Army Core Lynx helicopter perform a back flip, and an Apache attack helicopter spiral backwards the length of the runway, as though it was performing some kind of heavy duty ballet manoeuvre.


The 'Red Arrows' demonstrated just why they are such a highly respected National institution with a breath-taking display of high speed precision flying and balls out bravery. Having only ever see them during flypast I, along with the entirety of the crowd was left spellbound by performance. Nine aircraft flying less than six feet apart at speeds of 300mph plus is truly a sight to behold!


The Battle of Britain Memorial flight comprised of a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Lancaster Bomber was indeed an emotive experience. The Compere of the afternoon going into great detail to recall the amount of aircraft and her crews that were lost during World War Two whilst they made their series of passes. Lancaster crews had near enough a one in two chance of making it back home, a statistic that confounds belief in this modern age of War. If it was possible to fly with dignity, then these majestic aircraft were the finest examples. The PA announced their final approach and remarked simply to "be proud". And I was.

My personal highlight of the show was the appearance of the RAF Typhoon (also known as the Eurofighter) which was firstly out of sight before we even glimpsed it and caught the announcer totally off guard also. The cutting edge of today's Air force, 67.5 million sterling could not fail to impress. One could hear it literally tear the air around it, creating a truly apocalyptic sound. Never before have I ever heard anything so loud.

At one point it slowed right down and appeared almost to hover above the airstrip, before engaging its twin afterburners to speed away and make a vertical dash towards the stratosphere. The car I was leaning against shook, the kick it generated blew hats from heads and I fell totally in love. The skies were so clear you actually see the wings slice the air and disperse it evenly around its elegant shape. A modern miracle of technology ascending to the heavens leaving an audible fury in its wake. I imagine the pilot got a hell of a kick from his performance.

The 75th Cosford Air show was not only a celebration of aviation history, but also of mans mastery over machine. Each demonstration was performed by pilots at the peak of their abilities, and it was inspiring stuff indeed. The event made me feel something I had not felt for many, many years. I saw the world as a child again, full of awe and astonishment, once again believing anything is truly possible. If I was a few years younger I may well of signed up to her Majesty's Air Force right there and then, but I always was the impressionable type...

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