Throughout 2021, we recorded the fourth series of Airshow Dispatches, featuring seven diverse airshows around the world and showcasing some rare and truly memorable displays. With the 2022 season still several months away, now is the perfect time to sit back and enjoy some of the best airshow action that the world has to offer and re-live the highlights of another immensely challenging display season.
S04E01: HUNTER VALLEY AIRSHOW [20 minutes]
One of the first major airshows of the year was the Hunter Valley Airshow in Australia. The show was most memorable for its warbird balbo finale, which featured a Lockheed Hudson, T-28 Trojan, Spitfire, Corsair, Avenger, Boomerang and P-40 Warhawk performing formation flypasts and solo aerobatics. We also enjoyed team aerobatic displays from the Sky Aces and the Air Force Roulettes.
S04E02: MIDLANDS AIR FESTIVAL [50 minutes]
Held in the gardens of the Ragley Hall Estate, the delightful Midlands Air Festival was one of the first European airshows of 2021. It hosted Royal Air Force displays for the first time, including the Red Arrows and the debut of the “Blackjack” Typhoon FGR.4 display jet, as well as the RAF Falcons in their 60th anniversary year. The varied line up of civilian performers included Tiger 9, Team Raven, B-17 “Sally B”, the Turbulent Team and the debut of Peter Teichman’s Russian Spitfire.
S04E03: ANTIDOTUM AIRSHOW LESZNO [50 minutes]
One of our favourite airshows in Europe, this year’s Leszno Airshow surpassed all expectations with strong military and civilian participation. We get up close and personal with the Flying Bulls’ P-38 Lightning, B-25 Mitchell, T-28 Trojan and P-51 Mustang, and fly in the cockpit with Team Blanix, GliderFX and Aerosparx. The Swiss Air Force contributed the Super Puma solo display, while the Polish Air Force performed with Aerobatic Team Orlik, the F-16C “Tiger Demo Team” and a C-130E Hercules, staging its first full airshow demonstration, which included a spectacular flare drop after sunset.
S04E04: IWM DUXFORD FLYING DAY [30 minutes]
A slower pace takes hold at Duxford as we enjoy several lyrical warbird solo displays, from a Spitfire Mk.Ia, T-6 Harvard, P-51D Mustang and Hurricane Mk.I to the rather newer (but equally rare) Nanchang CJ-6, all flying in perfect weather and dramatic cloudscapes. We also explore the history of competition aerobatics, thanks to appearances by the Yak-50, Cap-232 and Extra 300L.
S04E05: LITTLE GRANSDEN AIR & CAR SHOW [30 minutes]
This small airshow, run for the benefit of Children in Need, put together a jam-packed flying display featuring rare types such as the Spitfire PR.XIX, Yak-3UTI, Stinson Reliant, Miles Gemini and Spartan Executive. The highlights, though, came from the locally-based Global Stars, with a thrilling four-ship aerobatic performance as well as Chris Burkett’s Extra 300 being flown alongside a remote-control scale model.
S04E06: AIR LEGEND PARIS – VILLAROCHE [90 minutes]
One of the fastest-growing airshows in the world, Air Legend was founded in 2018, but has already become one of the world’s top aviation events. This year’s warbird focus was on WWII in the Pacific, and so the show featured a re-enactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor and an ultra-rare trio of Corsairs. Two formation teams were among the stars of the show: the Ultimate Fighters (Spitfire, P-47, TF-51 and Buchon) and Classic Formation (DC-3 & three Beech 18s), but we also enjoyed solos from the Skyraider, P-38, F-86 and others. Military highlights included the Patrouille de France, Breguet Atlantique II, A400M, Rafale C, and a pair of two-ship tactical displays featuring the Rafale M and Mirage 2000B/C.
S04E07: WINGS OVER ILLAWARRA [20 minutes]
Held on the eve of the Classic Hornet’s retirement from the Royal Australian Air Force, Wings Over Illawarra will be remembered for featuring the last ever airshow performance by an RAAF F/A-18A. Bringing the event full circle, the RAAF also staged their first ever F-35A Lightning aerobatic display at the show. Classic RAAF warbirds help mark the air force’s centenary, including the CA-18 Mustang, DHC-4 Caribou, P-2 Neptune and English Electric Canberra.
The fifth series of Airshow Dispatches will cover a number of events in 2022, with the first episodes expected in April. While the exact list is still TBC, it is likely to include shows in the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.