Duxford Spring Show 2016

A lot has been written on the aviation sites and magazines about the CAA’s new rules and procedures for airshows.

To say that the CAA acted far too swiftly implementing draconian rules on civil airshows in the UK would be an understatement. Rather than waiting for the AAIB report into the Shoreham crash to be published the CAA went ahead, despite widespread opposition from the industry and enthusiasts alike, and imposed CAP403 on Airshow organisers without any due thought to the implications it would cause.

A number of airshows have had to cancel, amongst them LLandudno and Manchester to name but two. Many worried about the implications for venues such as Shuttleworth and Duxford. Saturday 28th May was my first chance to see how the new rules had changed one of the most popular shows in the UK at Duxford.

It was obvious from the start, to me, that flying was curtailed. None of the sweeping chases and topsides from veteran warbirds we were used to at previous shows. They seemed to be farther away from us, as many had reported earlier in the month from the first Shuttleworth display at Old Warden. A few acts showed that you can live within the new regime, The Great War Display Team and the Bronco Demo Team were the best exponents of how you can still fly a dynamic display under the new regs. The United States were represented by a CV22 Osprey from Mildenhall on the ground and a flypast by one of the UK based KC-135’s. The French display team Patrouille de France opened the show, unfortunately with a flat display because of the cloud. The Royal Air Force closed the show with a dynamic display from the Coningsby based Eurofighter Typhoon

The weather was, quite frankly, awful for photography. Heavy grey clouds hung around all day. The sun is in front of you for most of the time at Duxford, which is why many prefer to shoot from the fields south of the runway. Therein lies another story which I wont attempt to discuss.

All in all I enjoyed the show, probably because it was the first of the year, but the line up was weak compared to previous Duxford shows. It was disappointing not to have the Catalina or the Blenheim display (OK it was an American themed airshow so that would have been a push).

Thanks have to go to Oliver for grabbing spaces on the flightline for us. An enjoyable day spent in the company of Stephen, Andrew and Oliver. Hopefully by September (the next Duxford show I hope to attend) Pilots and Organisers will have more experience of what can and cannot be done.

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