The airshow season in 2014 saw me attend yet another new show for me, the Clacton Airshow. This was purely to get another look at the two Avro Lancasters (which turned out to be my last) before the Canadian example left the UK as well as see another Avro aircraft. The show had quite a laid back and relaxing feel with a good variety of displays and combined with the perfect weather was roaring success.
The Royal Air Force opened the show with their Westland Sea King HAR Mk. 3A for a very informative search and rescue demonstration alongside the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The helicopter seemed much closer to the beach than at most shows and gave us some very photogenic passes.
The show also featured some entertaining aerobatics which was first displayed by the Breitling Wingwalkers with their pair of vintage Boeing-Stearman Kaydets. The team put on a grand performance of barnstorming and wingwalking with a very liberal use of smoke and was a thoroughly entertaining spectacle.
We then turned to warbirds with the seldom seen Supermarine Spitfire PR. XIX, a form mount of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight but now operated by Rolls Royce. The display of this British icon was somewhat lacking due to the distance from the crowd but was a welcome addition to the show.
An interesting aircraft type, the Autogyro, has been making more appearances at shows over the last year or so and Clacton was no different with the RotorSport UK Calidus. This highly agile aircraft clearly showed how enthralling and fun they are to fly with this particular example owned by Gyro Air Displays.
Next up was a combination of past and present training aircraft of the Royal Air Force. This began with a formation of Rod Dean’s Scottish Aviation Bulldog T.1 alongside the Royal Air Force’s current basic trainer, the Grob G-115E Tutor T.1. The duo flew several passes together before separating to put on their own solo displays. Another current trainer came in next in the form of the turboprop trainer, the Short Tucano T.1 which was wearing the standard training scheme and displayed a good routine if a tad distant.
The first of the major highlights then arrived to perform its display. This was the Avro Vulcan B.2 arriving over the sea and putting on a spectacular performance with lots of noise. It was great to see this cold war era bomber over at Clacton as well as bringing the ‘Vulcan Howl’ during its display.
We were then treated to another star display item in the form of the two Avro Lancasters including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s B.I and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s B.X. They were also joined in the air by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIC and the Supermarine Spitfire PR. XIX which performed a great synchro display after the initial fourship formation passes. The Lancasters put on an incredible display together before re-joining the fighters for a final pass.
Aerobatics became the central them again with the two Pitts S-1D Specials from the TRIG Aerobatic Team which put on the usual flair during the dynamic and energetic routine. There was also some solo display action with another Pitts aircraft in the form a Pitts S-2S Special in the hands of Richard Goodwin who displayed one of best aerobatic routines I have seen all year.
It was down to the Royal Air Force to close the show and they did so in style with the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 in a display of pure noise and raw power. The frontline jet was also wearing invasion stripes to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings.
The Clacton Airshow was a very entertaining affair with the major highlights in the display being the Avro Vulcan B.2 and the pair of Avro Lancasters as well as some fantastic aerobatics by the TRIG Aerobatic Team and the Pitts S-2S Special. I will definitely return to this show again next year and hope for even more excellent displays.
You can also follow me on Twitter