Chocks away for Old Buckenham Airshow on July 28-29
PUBLISHED: 12:22 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 08 October 2018
The Norfolk airshow loved as one of the best in Europe is only a week away. Jo Malone looks at why it’s time to get excited about the Old Buckenham Airshow.
Where can you take a selfie with a nuclear missile, step inside a military tank, fly a helicopter, sup Norfolk brewed beers, watch battle re-enactments and explore masses of military machines?
It’s all at the Old Buckenham Airshow on July 28 and 29.
The Norfolk airshow is known for far more than its air display, packing the ground with entertainment to appeal to the whole family.
But the action in the air does take centre stage with some of the most famous aircraft in the world flown by some of the best pilots in the world.
The 28 acts in the airshow include crowd-pleasing favourites from aerobatics and wing walker Sarah Niles aboard a World War II Boeing Stearman to shows from a Mustang, Spitfire, Dakota and Hurricane, Beechcraft Staggerwing and Sally B, the Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress.
The display is traditionally popular with aircraft enthusiasts and families alike as it boasts a huge circus style variety of aircraft, from the strong man Sally B and the acrobats the Yak 52, the Vans RV8 and the Extra to the cheeky clowning of The Turbulents, whose display includes aircraft limbo and flour bombing.
There are some pretty unique aircraft too, such as the Bremont Great War Display Team.
They look as if a few breaths of wind could blow them away, but the canvas-wrapped tri-planes and bi-planes of the First World War were the foundation of the Royal Air Force. They were some of the very first aircraft and blazed a trail for future designs and flying.
Enjoy this team of fascinating, quirky little planes whose pilots describe flying them as like skating on ice but with less visibility, and keep watching – they’re not the fastest aircraft.
What’s more, as many of the Great War aircraft are tail draggers, meaning they don’t have a tail wheel, they can only take off and land on grass – which makes the grass runway at Old Buckenham Airfield ideal. Watch and see if the display includes what can be pretty exciting arrivals and departures.
Considerably more solid and making significantly more noise will be superheavyweight Sally B, the star of Memphis Belle and Europe’s only flying B-17; a unique memorial to the USAAF 8th Air Force, for whom Old Buckenham was built.
Old Buckenham Airfield celebrates its USAAF roots at the airshow, beginning with a ‘Welcome to the United States’ sign at the entrance.
The airfield is proud of its stars and stripes history with a memorial and a museum celebrating the 453rd Bombardment Group, based here during WWII plus the unique 8th Airforce Gallery, curated by James Clary. Browse everything from intriguing bits of bombers to memorabilia from the minutia of USA airforce wartime life.
But the Airshow on July 28-29 is all about celebrating the best of Norfolk too, with locally brewed ales, Norfolk-made luxury ice-cream and a good sprinkling of Norfolk based pilots, businesses and other participants involved.
The airshow is, in true Norfolk style, quirkily different. So crowds can stand, or sit, as close to the grass runway for an amazingly clear view as safety rules allow.
The spectator area offers plenty of crowd line so that everyone can see all the action.
The up close and personal feel of the show makes for some great photo opportunities too, from the air display to the excitement on the ground.
It even features a re-enactment of a World War Two liberation of a Normandy Barn among the on-ground attractions.
The airshow has family friendly written all over it with under 12s welcome for free, free parking, dogs on leads welcome, a Food Village and stands and stalls to browse.
Classic cars and vehicles are an increasingly large part of the airshow, with plenty booked in to join the show on both days.
The famous Attack and Destroy bar is a village pub at the show, complete with themed beers brewed especially by Saffron Brewery.
Spectators inspired by the aerial tricks and treats can have a go too with Sim Fly, the unique flying simulator at Old Buckenham Airfield that lets you clamber into the cockpit and fly with, or fight against, your friends in a digital dogfight.
There’s more too – such as the famous Hangar Dance, the big night out with big band live music in a hangar held every airshow weekend.
In the year that the RAF celebrates its centenary, Old Buckenham Airshow is paying tribute to the men and women of the R.A.F. who have served over the last century, encompassing the greatest airborne military actions in History.
The RAF will be at the airshow fror the first time since 2012, bringing ZA947, a Douglas Dakota (a variant of the DC3).
Named Kwicherbichen – say it out loud - this particular aircraft was used for parachute operations on the eve of D Day, and re-supply missions, as well as casualty evacuations during the remainder of the War. Whilst she won’t be dropping parachutes at the Airshow, watch for a member of the R.A.F. waving from her rear doors; your opportuity to pay tribute to them and their hundreds of thousands of colleagues over the last century.
The plane will be a familiar shape to many Norfolk people too, as Air Anglia first started operations from Norwich Airport with a small fleet of Douglas DC-3 Dakota in the very early 1970s.
A WWII P-51 Mustang fighter is threatening to steal the show at the Old Buckenham Airshow on July 28-29.
No other wartime plane could go as high or as fast as the legendary P-51 Mustang, one of the aviation superstars of World War II.
But even this esteemed history doesn’t give it the guaranteed top spot.
It’s sharing the bill with the most famous Spitfire flying today, plus a Douglas DC3, a Flying Fortress and many more famous aircraft and amazing pilots.
The Mustang is arguable the only fighter aircraft to be held in the same regard as the Spitfire, says airshow event organiser Matt Wilkins, delighted to have them both at the airshow.
“We’re rapidly running out of WWII icons to display at this year’s airshow. The addition of P-51 Mustang ensures that we’ve got the two most inspirational fighters of the war joining the legendary Sally B, B17 Flying Fortress and a DC3; a line up beyond the wildest dreams of most airshows,” he adds.
The Mustang appearing is dubbed the Shark, due to the distinctive shark’s mouth design on its nose, part of a rare RAF nose art idea.
Tickets and information available at www.oldbuckenhamairshow.co.uk