- Top-left: Lancaster of the BBMF over Lancing College
- Top-right: Brietling Wingwalkers
- Bottom-left: Shoreham Airport Terminal Building
- Bottom-right: Christian Moullec
Yesterday saw the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s famous "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" speech. There was an event commemorating the anniversary in London yesterday, and a whole range of events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this year.
In theory then this weekend was the perfect weekend for the Battle of Britain Airshow at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. If today’s experience was anything to go by, the weather has proved less than perfect. The day began with misty rain and low cloud, and although the rain did stop and the cloud lift, it had a significant impact on the day’s flying display.
The photo above shows the situation at about 10:45am, just a quarter of an hour before the flying display was due to start. It is a miracle that any flying did take place, and it was about around midday that a rather reduced display began. Despite the low cloud and much of the country suffering similarly poor conditions the organisers did manage to put together a pretty good show, mostly based on aircraft already onsite.
Fortunately there was a lot to see on the ground, several aircraft on static display, various tents and displays by various businesses and charities, the historic airport terminal and even a postcard dealer in the craft tent.
One of the now regular features of the airshow is a recreation of a Battle of Britain scramble, with Hurricanes and Spitfires taking to the air to fight off a lone Messerschmitt attacker. Fortunately this was able to go ahead and with the help of the Home Guard the attacker was repelled.
Unfortunately a lot of the big attractions like the Vulcan, Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and The Blades were unable to make it. Hopefully they will have a better day tomorrow, but unfortunately I won’t be there.
I cannot help myself, it must be an addiction, it seems I take every available opportunity to visit Beachy Head. Today’s excuse was paying a visit the airshow at Eastbourne, East Sussex.
It was a rare opportunity when both my wife and I had a day off together and nothing else more pressing to do. For me it was pure indulgence, no work, no genealogy, no (serious) walking, just enjoying the scenery and the flying.
Beachy Head was not perfect as a viewpoint for the airshow, with the aircraft displaying along the seafront at Eastbourne it is a little bit too far away, although several of them did arrive or depart over Beachy Head. What it does have is lots of open space and terrific views all round.
As you can see the conditions were not perfect at the start, the day began with grey skies (and a light rain shower whilst on the bus) but it did clear later on. Even whilst the skies elsewhere were blanketed in cloud, Beachy Head seemed to be basking in sunshine. It really felt like a privileged position.
Having taken the bus up to the top of Beachy Head we felt that we at least ought to walk back down to Eastbourne to get the bus back to Brighton. We made our way down the side of the hill and walked along the foot of the hills and into the town. This gave me a chance to get a photo of Beachy Head lighthouse and the cliffs.
The flying display was excellent, especially as we got closer to centre of the action on Eastbourne seafront, I prefer the older historic aircraft, but my wife preferred the faster and noisier modern jets, like the F-16, which I must admit was absolutely awesome. Unfortunately the seafront also meant crowds of people and traffic, which was a real contrast to the slopes of Beachy Head. We didn’t hang around long, we had a bus to catch, and the crowds were a bit too much for us.