I have been lucky enough to have attended ten airshows in the UK this year including several new venues for me and seen hundreds of different aircraft perform. I feel there have been some displays worthy of recognition and have thus categorized what I consider the best performances of the 2013 season.
The Best Display by a British Military Aircraft goes to the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 for its brilliantly noisy performance that bought the RAFA Shoreham Airshow to a close as the hands of Flight Lieutenant Jamie Norris.
The Best Display by a Foreign Military Aircraft goes to the Italian Air Force’s Alenia C-27J Spartan which put on a gravity defying aerobatic display at the Royal International Air Tattoo which incorporated plenty of rolls and loops whilst being flown by Major Fabio De Michele and his team from the Reparto Sperimentale Volo.
The Best Display by a Military Aerobatic Team goes to the Italian Air Force’s national team, Il Frecce Tricolori who flew a fantastic routine in their ten Aermacchi MB-339PANs at the Royal International Air Tattoo and bought the show to an incredible close.
The Best Display by a Civilian Aerobatic Team goes to the Royal Jordanian Air Force’s and Airlines’ Royal Jordanian Falcons who flew a very dynamic display in their four Extra EA-300Ls at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
The Best Display by a Classic Jet goes to Golden Apple Operations Ltd.’s North American F-86A Sabre for its energetic performance at the Duxford Spring Show as well as making its first flying display after its absence in last year’s display season.
The Best Display by a Rotary Aircraft was the dynamic Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow from the Royal Netherlands Air Force which put on a striking aerobatic routine at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
The Best Display by a Warbird goes to The Eagle Squadron which comprised of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar’s Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk. X, Spitfire the One Ltd.’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IA, Commanche Fighters LLC’s North American P-51C Mustang “Princess Elizabeth” and the Fighter Collection’s Republic P-47G Thunderbolt “Snafu”. Their unique and awesome formation display at the Duxford Spring Show was one of the big talking points of the show and the whole season and was a perfect commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the United States Army Air Force’s 8th Air Force’s arrival in the UK.
The Best Display by an Aerobatic Aircraft goes to the Zivko Edge 540 which displayed a very impressive and nimble display in the hands of Kester Scrope at the Shuttleworth October Flying Day.
The Best Role Demo or Set Piece at an Airshow goes to the Battle of Britain Scramble at the RAFA Shoreham Airshow which feature a pair of Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchons, Peter Vacher’s Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar’s Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk. X making its Shoreham debut and a pair of Supermarine Spitfires including the Historic Aircraft Collection’s LF. VB and the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Mk. IXT. The sequence consisted of several formation displays before the pyrotechnics and dogfights began and was a truly remarkable spectacle to witness.
The Best Formation at an Airshow goes to the formation performed at the Duxford Spring Airshow which featured The Red Arrows and their nine BAe Hawk T.1As leading the four warbirds of The Eagle Squadron in a single flypast before the Red’s put on their first display of the 2013 season and a return to the full contingent of nine jets.
The Best Static Aircraft on Display goes to the French Air Force’s Dassault Mirage F.1CR at the Royal International Air Tattoo and was painted in a scheme to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Aerial Reconnaissance Operations and is possibly the last time we will see these aircraft in the UK.
The Best Painted Aircraft on Display was the Estonian Air Force’s Aero L-39C Albatross which wore a scheme reminiscent of the ‘Baltic Bees’ from whom this aircraft is leased. This air arm and aircraft were making their UK debuts at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
But all in all, the Best Overall Display of the Year goes to The Eagle Squadron which was one of the highlights of the season and the Duxford Spring Airshow where it performed to commemorate the 8th Air Force including formations with the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B” as well as the Royal Air Force’s aerobatic team, The Red Arrows.
And finally I feel that the best airshow of the 2013 season was the Royal International Air Tattoo which featured a wide variety of returning international airshow favourites from past shows and featured some unique formations to commemorate several themes from both the UK and abroad. Despite the lack of participation from the United States of American it was a truly outstanding soon.
For more photos from the 2013 season you can check out the albums on Flickr
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