RAF Waddington International Air Show – Another Sky High Success!

This years RAF Waddington’s International Air Show was a huge success. With a variety of aircraft filling the skies over the 2 days, it proved difficult for anyone to pick a favourite display.  From the roaring Thunderbirds to the might of the Vulcan there was something for all of the 145 000 visitors.

A flypast by Waddington-based Sentry (8 Squadron) provided the curtain-raiser to this year’s spectacular Air Show, the 16th to be held at the Lincolnshire airbase. Also thrilling the crowds was the familiar Avro Lancaster bomber escorted by a Spitfire and Hurricane from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

In total the Air Show included over 7 hours of flying displays and 55 static display aircraft.  Among the aerobatic teams displaying was the RAF’s own ‘Red Arrows’, and the UK’s only full-time civilian aerobatic team: the Blades. The Thunderbirds in their F-16 Fighting Falcons attended the RAF Waddington Air Show for the first time in more than 10 years and is their only UK appearance in 2011.

But it was the eagerly-awaited appearance of the Vulcan on both days of the Air Show which saw the crowds fall silent in awe, during the exciting and nostalgic 10-minute flying display.

Group Captain Chris Jones, Station Commander at RAF Waddington, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the success of this year’s show. Given our ongoing operational commitments, I am immensely proud that RAF Waddington personnel have been able to mount such a spectacular show this year, and I am grateful for all the hard work that has gone in to making the event a resounding success.” He continued to say: “Thanks to superb assistance from the local emergency services and the local authorities, we have been able to hold a wonderful event, allowing us to showcase the RAF’s capabilities to families and aviation enthusiasts alike. I hope everyone had an enjoyable and memorable day at RAF Waddington.”

New to the air show this year was the “RAF on Air” experience, a 20ft x 9ft screen showcasing the RAF at its best, at home and on operations. Carol Vorderman took the helm hosting interviews with Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore, the first female Red Arrows pilot and Myles Garland, ex RAF Red Arrows and now the Blades Leader. Another new techno innovation was the introduction of a smart phone app where visitors could scan bar codes next to stationary aircraft for info and stats.

Recently retired from the RAF, the 2011 RAF Waddington Air Show was the first for Mr Paul Sall, in his position as Air Show Director, “It has been a steep learning curve, this year, but I am very pleased with how the Air Show has gone. There is a great sense of achievement for everyone on the Air Show Team to see so many visitors enjoying the ground displays, big screen and the flying displays and I ‘m really looking forward to building on our successes next year.”

All the proceeds from the Airshow are donated to the RAF Association (RAFA) and the RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) as well as local charaties. Some £2.6 million has been raised since the first Air Show in 1995 and although this year’s final total is still being calculated, is likely that a £100,000 plus will be raised for RAFA and RAFBF charities and RAF Waddington will also benefit with a charity pot of about £20,000 for local causes.

RAF Waddington now looks forward to throwing open their gates and welcoming the public back again next year for the 2012 Air Show on 30th June – 1st July.

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