I once again found myself by the sea as I returned to Clacton-on-Sea for the Clacton Airshow which featured a wide variety of aircraft types as well as several new aircraft over the Essex town. I attended the show on the Thursday where the weather was predominantly cloudy throughout the day but did clear up near the end of the flying programme.
The show was opened by the arrival of two training aircraft, Rod Dean’s Scottish Aviation Bulldog T.1 and the Royal Air Force’s current basic trainer, the Grob G-115E Tutor T.1. The pair flew in formation before performing their own routines.
Next up was a highly dynamic display by the RotorSport UK Calidus from Gyro Air Display which was making a very welcome return after performing at last year’s show and has been appearing at many more shows this season.
Some aerobatics were then performed by the France based team, the Patrouille Reva with their elegant aerial ballet featuring their pair of Rutan Vari-Ezes and a Rutan LongEZ.
Warbirds were the next focus with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s pairing of fighters consisting of their Supermarine Spitfire LF. IXE and one of their Hawker Hurricane Mk. IICs. After some great formation flypasts, the two British icons put on their separate routines.
Rotary action was provided by the Royal Air Force with an amazing performance from a Boeing Chinook HC.4 including some seemingly impossible manoeuvres for this heavy transport helicopter. This was a great addition to the show as this type hasn’t flown at Clacton for many years.
One of the debuting aircraft that made quite an impact was the PZL-Mielec SBLim-2 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron which flew a very graceful display. This cold-war era fighter is a Polish built version of the Russian MiG-15UTI and is painted to represent an aircraft flown by Soviet-Russian pilot and cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin.
Another rare visitor to Clacton was Duxford’s most famous resident, the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B” which is the only flying example of its type in Europe. This stunning American bomber flew a very entertaining display and will hopefully make more appearances outside of its home airfield.
We then saw one of the most popular display items at any show which was obviously the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows who went on to perform their usual brand of formation flying and aerobatic manoeuvres with their team of nine BAe Hawk T.1As.
The British Army were also represented at the show by The Tigers Freefall Team of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment who dropped in from their aerial transport and landed on a small segment of the beach.
A fairly recently formed aerobatic team made their first appearance at Clacton next in the form of Team Raven who usually fly a formation of five aircraft but were reduced to a fourship of Vans RV-8s with the solo RV-4 being unavailable. The team flew a very smooth routine though did lack some of the more dynamic manoeuvres that other teams employ.
The undoubted star of this year’s show was the delta wing shape that is the Avro Vulcan B.2 making its last display over Clacton. The cold-war era bomber put on a fantastic performance with plenty of noise from the famous ‘howl’ and looked spectacular with the boats and pier in the background.
The Royal Air Force put on a fitting finale for the show with a very noisy display by one its Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 frontline fighters which sported a special tail scheme commemorating the 100th Anniversary of No. 29(R) Squadron.
Despite being a very small show compared to other seaside shows, Clacton packs in a lot of high class performers from aerobatics to the latest military jets. There were several aircraft worthy of mention for their stand-out displays including the stunning Avro Vulcan B.2 and the Duxford based Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B” as well as the Royal Air Force’s Boeing Chinook HC.4 which will hopefully return again. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and I hope to return to Clacton-on-Sea in 2016.
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