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Abingdon Air & Country Show 2010
 
Hawker Hunter T7 - G-FFOX - Delta Jets Ltd. - United Kingdom   Douglas C-47A Skytrain - N473DC - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom   Douglas C-47A Skytrain - N473DC - United Kingdom - Privately Owned - United Kingdom   North American T-28S Fennec - N14113 - Aircraft Restoration Co. - United Kingdom
 

Abingdon Air & Country Show

Words and photographs Mike Freer, addtional photography Stuart Freer

The Abingdon Air & Country Show is a unique combination of an air show with ground events including vintage cars and transport; numerous craft stalls and even a sheepdog display which involved herding geese through a gap in straw bales. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not the best for an outdoor event with rain clearing in the morning and an overcast sky and windy conditions in the afternoon.

The flying display covered the whole spectrum of aviation from the civil air ambulance helicopter to the current NATO types. Historic aircraft were well represented and included a genuine D-Day veteran in the shape of C-47A Dakota 42-10082 “Drag-em-oot” operated by Dakota Heritage Inc. She has been restored in the original markings of the 87th Troop Carrier Squadron who transported elements of the 82nd Airborne Division from RAF Greenham Common on D-Day. Bullet holes are still visible in the Captain's seat and fuselage. The Aircraft Restoration Company T-28S Fennec - in the markings of a ground attack version operated by the French Air Force in Algeria - also gave a display of great agility.

The early days of the jet age were highlighted with superb displays given by Delta Jet’s Hunter T7A WV318 flown by Andy Cubin and the Vampire Preservation Group Vampire T11 WZ507 flown Matt Hampton ; possibly, the last airworthy Mk T11.

The RAF was well represented with aerobatic displays given by Flt Lt Bill Ramsey in a Grob Tutor; Flt Lt Tom Saunders in a Hawk T1 and Flt Lt Tom Bould in a Tucano T1. The Hawk T1 sports a very attractive colour scheme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of 4FTS at RAF Valley and the Tucano T1 has been painted in a Battle of Britain camouflage scheme and markings of Group Captain Brian Kingcombe DSO, DFC (Bar) of 92 Squadron, who was a Flight Commander during this epic battle. A VC-10 tanker and C-17A Globemaster III from nearby RAF Brize Norton made two very rare air show appearances while a Puma and Merlin from RAF Benson were on static display.

An exhilarating display by the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM brought the air show to a close. Unfortunately, due to a ban imposed by the Defence Estates, no aircraft were allowed to land. However, this did not prevent the OV-10A Bronco arriving for static display. Also on view in the static area was a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter from HQ SHAPE – another aircraft rarely seen at air shows.

De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom
 
De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom   De Havilland Vampire T11 - G-VTII - Vampire Preservation Group - United Kingdom   VC10 K3 - ZA149/H - 101 Squadron - Royal Air Force   Tucano T1 - ZF317 - 70 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
Tucano T1 - ZF417 - 72 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-015 - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-015 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   Tucano T1 - ZF317 - 72 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force  
 
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-015 - Royal Netherlands Air Force
 
Touchdown Conclusion
 

For an event organised by a group of aviation enthusiasts, this was a superb effort.

There were a few obstacles to overcome prior to the show commencing. Due to circumstances beyond the organiser’s control, no fixed wing aircraft were allowed to operate from Abingdon and landings were not permitted. This was due to an issue surrounding the sign-off by the Defence Estates – which owns the airfield – of the licence which is required to operate fixed wing aircraft from  Abingdon.

Added to this, was the very poor weather forecast. Following weeks of dry and fine weather, the evening before the show saw very heavy rain which persisted well into the morning leaving cold and windy conditions. There was a 25 knot crosswind which prevented the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Hurricane attending.

Despite these problems, the aircraft on view illustrated the high esteem in which this privately organised show is now held. To attract international flying acts is no mean feat and we hope that the problems encountered this year do not prevent the organisers from staging another show in 2011.

The authors wishes to thank Mr Neil Porter and Mr Mark Rouse for their hospitality during their visit.

 
Touchdown Rating - 4 out of 5
 
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