Category Archives: Airshow News Europe

UK airshows expect to go ahead, despite renewed crackdown on gatherings

Organisers of several UK airshows planned over the next two months say they expect to go ahead despite a new ban on gatherings, but are awaiting further details from the government.

Changes to the law announced yesterday (Tuesday 8th September) amid a spike in coronavirus cases will ban most gatherings of six or more people, and give police new powers to break up gatherings and issue fines. Until now, gatherings of up to six people had been permitted outdoors, although police had no power to stop gatherings unless they exceeded 30 people. Outdoor events which had been deemed Covid-secure were permitted to go ahead, including a mix of drive-in and conventional air displays. The law will come into force on Monday 14th September, with fines starting at £100 and increasing to as much as £2,300 for repeat offenders.

The Prime Minister today held a press conference, at which he said the rules were being updated to ensure they were easier to understand and enforce. The rules will not apply to some Covid-secure settings, including as hospitality venues, he announced, although invididual groups larger than six may not form within those settings. It is not yet clear whether airshows could be included in this, although a full list of exemptions is due before the changes take effect on Monday.

Organisers of the Battle of Britain Airshow at IWM Duxford said they were communicating with the authorities to establish how the new rules would impact their event, which is planned for the 18th-20th September.

“Our expectation at present is that these are able to go ahead,” they said, adding that further updates will be given on social media after further guidance is issued by the government and health authorities. The Battle of Britain Airshow will be the first major conventional UK airshow of the year, following a pair Showcase Day airshows at Duxford in August.

Another conventional air display, the Weston Park Model Airshow on the 17th-18th October, also plans to go ahead. They said: “We are still waiting to hear the full details however it would appear this does not change anything other than a maximum of six can group together.”

They added that they understand the cap of six people applies only to events which are not deemed Covid-secure.

The Shuttleworth Collection’s three remaining drive-in shows are less likely to be affected, as they do not count as a public gathering as long as visitors remain in their assigned viewing areas. The only other UK airshow scheduled this year are IWM Duxford’s October Showcase Day, and AeroLegends’ Battle of Britain Airshow on the 25th-27th September, the organisers of which are yet to comment on yesterday’s announcement.

Flying Legends Airshow will not return to Duxford, says The Fighter Collection

DUXFORD | One of the world’s largest warbird airshows, Flying Legends, is on the hunt for a new venue, after it was announced that the show will not return to its iconic home at IWM Duxford.

Nick Grey of The Fighter Collection, which organises Flying Legends, said in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that we confirm 2019 was the final Flying Legends with our friends at IWM Duxford. We truly hope that our team will find an alternative location to welcome this iconic event and that we will have the privilege of seeing you all again.”

Flying Legends has been held at Duxford for over 30 years and has become Europe’s biggest and best-known warbird airshow. The two-day annual event attracted rare warbirds from around the world, but is perhaps most famous for the “Balbo”, a huge formation of around 30 warbirds that closes out each show day.

Traditionally, Flying Legends was one of three large airshows held at Duxford each year, with the other two being organised by the Imperial War Museum, which owns the airfield. The Fighter Collection are one of several classic aircraft operators to be based at the site and their aircraft typically feature both at Flying Legends and at museum-run shows.

The 2020 edition of Flying Legends was due to be held on the 11th-12th July, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with the Duxford Air Festival. The final Duxford show of the year, the Battle of Britain Airshow, is still planned to go ahead on the 18th-20th September.

In a statement published by UK Airshow Review, the Imperial War Museum said the decision was taken due to financial pressures sustained by the museum during the pandemic, which forced them to “examine all future events … to ensure that, as a charity, the organisation is able to maximise income and remain financially stable.”

It was therefore mutually agreed that TFC would seek an alternative location to host Flying Legends, which will be confirmed at a later date,” they added.

John Brown, IWM’s Executive Director of Commerce & Operations, said that The Fighter Collection would continue to be a “highly valued partner”. Its aircraft will remain based at Duxford and will continue to be displayed throughout the year.

We are confident that Flying Legends will continue with its success and would like to thank them for entertaining audiences at IWM Duxford over the years,” he said. “We will be making some exciting changes to our own Air Show programme for next year and look forward to sharing more details in the coming months.”

Sea Fury T.20 WG566 makes crash-landing near Duxford

DUXFORD | A pilot and passenger made a lucky escape as The Fighter Collection’s Sea Fury T.20 crashed during the Imperial War Museum’s first Duxford Showcase Day of the year today (4th August 2020).

Sea Fury T.20 WG566 was severely damaged in a forced landing in an area of woods near the village of Harston during a routine flight from Duxford with two people on board.

The aircraft was seen departing Runway 24 at around 4pm, following the conclusion of the event’s official flying display, and photos emerged of the aircraft lying, badly damaged, among bushes and trees. The Imperial War Museum said the aircraft sustained “significant damage” and suffered a fuel leak. The two occupants survived with minor injuries.

Duxford’s firefighting team assisted the Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service at the scene of the crash, causing Duxford airfield to temporarily close to traffic.

WG566 flew in the UK during the late 1980s before suffering an engine failure, and was taken to New Zealand and later the United States for repairs. It returned to the UK in 2009 and was a regular sight on the airshow circuit until it was grounded by long-running engine problems. The aircraft flew again in 2018 and is now operated by the Aircraft Restoration Company and owned by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation. Since then, it has performed at several airshows and offered pleasure flights.

Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła’s second TS-11 Iskra takes flight, paving the way for formation displays

WARSAW | Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła (the Red & White Wings foundation) have successfully flown their second TS-11 Iskra, which will allow them to perform formation aerobatic displays at airshows.

Zrobiliśmy to! Po 6 miesiącach odbudowy oblataliśmy naszą drugą Iskrę. ✈️✈️Czy nie prezentują się cudownie? 😍…….

Posted by Fundacja Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła on Monday, 27 July 2020

Following a six-month rebuild, the foundation announced on the 27th July that they had flown their second jet, posting a video of their two Iskras flying in formation. The new two-ship airshow performance had been expected to be debuted at Gdynia AeroBaltic in August, which has unfortunately been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The TS-11 Iskra (Polish for “Spark”) is a single engine training and light attack aircraft which first flew in 1960, and was the first Polish-built jet aircraft. Originally intended to serve as the primary advanced jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact, the Iskra lost out to the L-29 Delfin, but nonetheless served with the Polish Air Force, Polish Navy and Indian Air Force.

A small number of TS-11s remain in service with the Polish Air Force, most notably with their main aerobatic team, Team Iskra. However, they are expected to be retired by 2021, being replaced by the Leonardo M-346 Bielik. Several Iskras also fly in civilian hands, mainly in the United States, with Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła operating the only two civilian examples flying in Europe.

Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła’s first Iskra was recieved from Poland’s Military Property Agency in November 2013, and was returned to flight six months later. Last year at AeroBaltic, the aircraft performed solo displays and car races, as well as a pyrotechnic display at sunset in formation with Artur Keilak in his XA-42 – possibly the first jet aircraft to attempt such a feat.

In addition to the pair of TS-11s, Biało-Czerwone Skrzydła also operate an Antonov An-2 and the 3AT3 formation team, flying a trio of AT-3 light aircraft, built and designed by Polish company Aero Aircraft Technologies. They are also restoring a further aircraft, although details have not been made public. The organisation’s aim is to promote Polish military aviation at home and abroad.

Patrouille de France 2020 airshow schedule

SALON-DE-PROVENCE | The Patrouille de France will make a belated start to their 2020 airshow season next month, with demonstrations at up to eight public events planned this year.

The French Air Force team are not currently due to fly any shows outside France, but have a number of domestic events scheduled, subject to local restrictions. The team will also fly at military events not open to the general public.

Already this year, the Patrouille de France have participated in flypasts over Paris and London with the Red Arrows in June, visited Normandy to mark the 76th anniversary of D-Day and participated in July’s annual Bastille Day parade. They have more recently performed flypasts across the country as a tribute to healthcare workers.

The Patrouille de France have worked up a full display routine for 2020, which includes new manoeuvres not flown for several seasons.

Date Show Location
Aug 15 France Meeting Aérien Toulon, France
Aug 30 France Fête de l’Air Alpe d’Huez, France
Sep 6 France La Bataille Aérienne de France: Meeting Aérien Cambrai – Niergnies, France
Sep 12-13 France Villaroche Air Legend Melun, France
Sep 20 France Tour de France (flypast only) Paris, France
Sep 27 France Meeting Plage Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Oct 3-4 France Cervolix Clermont – Ferrand, France
Oct 10-11 France Meeting Aérien de Ste-Maxime: Free Flight World Masters Sainte-Maxime, France
Oct 17-18 France Meeting Aérien La Ferté Alais: Les Temps de Hélices Cerny – La Ferté Alais

What will the Red Arrows’ shortened 2020 display routine look like?

SCAMPTON | The RAF Red Arrows were awarded their Public Display Authority for 2020 today (Wednesday 8th July), but this year’s display routine will be a little different to usual.

With the majority of airshows cancelled, several RAF display teams suspended and the Red Arrows abandoning their annual training spring exercise in Cyprus, it seemed possible a few months ago that we might not be seeing the acclaimed aerobatic team display at all this year.

However, following a three-and-a-half week gap in their training, the Red Arrows resumed flying activities at their RAF Scampton base on April 15th, and have been working up a reduced display routine here in the UK, performing practice sorties at Scampton, Syerston and Donna Nook. This led them to achieve their Public Display Authority (PDA), their permission to perform in front of the public, around six weeks later than usual.

The 2020 display routine follows a largely familiar format, although is slightly shorter than in other years. The display will start with around seven minutes of nine-ship formation aerobatics, which in the case of the full display will include two loops and one barrel roll (down from a more typical two barrel rolls in recent seasons). This will be followed by the ever-popular Tornado, which has this year been upgraded to feature Reds 1-5 leading in line abreast, creating a Tango-eqsue formation.

The second half of this year’s full, flat and rolling shows all begin with the Detonator this year, a manoeuvre that typically features only the flat and rolling displays. This will be followed by some of the Red Arrows’ trademark opposition manoeuvres, including the Gypo Pass, Carosel and Goose, and the crowd favourite Heart. A new, flatter version of the Heart, known as the Rolling Heart, will allow the Red Arrows’ famed sky art to be flown in the rolling display for the first time.

Two manoeuvres have been dropped from the display at this point; typically Reds 1-5, 8 and 9 join up for a formation manoeuvre such as the Vertical Break, followed by an opposition pass by the Synchro Pair. Instead, the display will skip straight to a series of manoeuvres by Enid and Gypo, which will include the Python (replaced by the Slalom in the flat display), the Mirror Pass, the Rollbacks and the Gypo Break.

A new manoeuvre known as Crossbow – an opposition pass that combines the Opposition Barrel Rolls with Vice-Versa – will serve as the penultimate manoeuvre, before the display is concluded with the Vixen Break. Despite a shorter duration, and greater commonality between the full, flat and rolling display routines, the inclusion of several new or upgraded manoeuvres, as well as the retention of most crowd favourite manoeuvres, means fans will still enjoy a fresh and exciting performance.

However, the Red Arrows were seen practicing several manoeuvres before the lockdown which are no longer to be featured in this year’s display, including the Vertical Break, and a manoeuvre that appeared similar to the Twizzles, in which five or seven aircraft peel out of formation to execute synchronised barrel rolls. It has not been featured in a Red Arrows display for well over a decade. Until March, the Red Arrows were also seen practicing the Wall arrival part of the Red Arrows’ show in 2016 and 2017, but their final show instead sees them arriving in a more traditional Nine Arrow formation.

Already this year, the Red Arrows have performed three high-profile flypasts, marking VE Day in London and Armed Forces Day in Scarborough, as well as flying over London and Paris with the Patrouille de France on the 18th June. The Red Arrows said achieving PDA would allow them “to respond fully, with preparation completed, to any future national tasking across the UK,” although with most airshows cancelled and others still in doubt, it is not yet clear where and when the public will be able to see them in action.

At the time of writing, only three major UK airshows remain this season: the Jersey and Guernsey air displays, and the Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow, all in September. There are also a smattering of smaller events planned, and at least one foreign airshow has also told This is Flight reporters that they are in talks with the team. It is also possible that the Reds could participate in one-off aerial displays on their own around the country.

Red 10 Sqn Ldr Adam Collins said the team is “ready to display as soon as restrictions allow.”

Red Arrows will move to Waddington after closure of RAF Scampton

LINCOLN |The RAF Red Arrows’ new base will be RAF Waddington, less than 10 miles south of their current base at Scampton, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

RAF Scampton, which is expected to close in around 2022, has been the home of the Red Arrows since 1983, with a brief move to RAF Cranwell between 1995 and 2000. However, they continued to use the airspace over Scampton for training. Although Scampton is expected to be sold off for redevelopment, the Red Arrows will continue to use its airspace for training after their move.

Waddington is one of five front-line RAF bases, home to the UK’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) fleet. This includes aircraft such as the E-3D Sentry, RC-135 Rivet Joint and Sentinel R1. Waddington was previously named as the Red Arrows’ new home in 2008, but the move was cancelled several years later.

The closure of RAF Scampton was announced in 2018 as part of a major cost-cutting exercise. Two other RAF bases were considered as potential new Red Arrows bases: RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, however there was a strong local movement in Lincoln to keep the Red Arrows nearby.

The Ministry of Defence said it would look at ways to preserve Scampton’s “rich history”. During the second world war, Scampton was home to the infamous 617 Squadron, who staged the daring Dambusters raid in 1943. It was later a base for Vulcan bombers.

Royal International Air Tattoo cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak

FAIRFORD | This year’s Royal International Air Tattoo, known as the world’s largest military airshow, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, the first July airshow to be hit by the disease.

The airshow had been due to take place from the 17th-19th July at RAF Fairford, with performers such as the Patrouille Suisse, Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM and US Air Force F-16C expected to take part in the flying display.

The airshow organisers said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and a significant amount of work sits behind this course of action.  The crisis, which is worsening by the day, and the implications of which are becoming more profound, has led us to conclude that the most prudent course of action is to cease any further planning to deliver this significant event.

“The Air Tattoo is reliant on the support of a wide range of stakeholders, not least the participation of international air arms, medical professionals, military security teams and our Emergency Services, many of whom are delivering a fundamental contribution to fighting this crisis. We believe delivery of our event would distract them from this.

“At the heart of this difficult decision is our firm belief that staging the Air Tattoo this year would not only run counter to the current Government advice but would also be beyond what we could reasonably ask of our supporters. We recognise that our decision will have a negative financial impact on our valued suppliers and traders, on the local economy that benefits so much from the large influx of people who arrive in the area for one week in July, as well as on our parent charity. For this we apologise.”

Although dozens of airshows have already been cancelled globally due to the coronavirus, the Royal International Air Tattoo 2020 is the only one so far beyond mid-June to be scrapped. However, given its reliance on international air arms, the event is particularly vulnerable to global pandemics.

It is the third UK airshow to be officially cancelled, after the Midlands Air Festival and Duxford Air Festival were pulled from the calendar earlier in the week. Schools are to close to most pupils today, and 1.4 million Britons with underlying health conditions are being advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks, starting over the weekend. Follow the latest news as the outbreak continuis to affect the airshow industry on our coronavirus live blog.

The next Royal International Air Tattoo will be held on the 16th-18th July 2021, and will celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. Remember if you want to re-live previous Air Tattoos, our 90-minute documentary on RIAT 2018 is available on our website!

Belgian Air Force Agusta A109BA solo display dates 2020

The Belgian Air Force’s Agusta A109BA solo display can be seen at the following events this year.

Date Show Location Country
May 16-17 France Portes Ouvertes BA116 Luxeuil Saint-Sauveur France
Jul 11/td> United Kingdom Royal Navy International Air Day Yeovilton UK
Jul 21-23/td> France Meeting Aérien International Albert – Picardie France
Sep 11 Belgium Sanicole Sunset Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 13 Belgium Sanicole International Airshow Hechtel Belgium
Sep 19-20 Italy 60th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori Rivolto Italy