Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Airshow weekend

HI again.  Below are some photos from the airshow last weekend.  I've double checked Peridot's checklist of acceptable photo subject matter and I'm afraid there are no cute dogs or cows and no pretty countryside.  Whoops - epic fail!

However, there is no football either?!  Does that help?  And there is some blue sky and sunshine.....

These are the RAF Falcons skydiving display team.  They didn't actually do any skydiving on Saturday due to the low clouds and high winds, just jumped out and opened their shutes.  But they were very precise and made pretty patterns in the sky and when they walked round with free handouts later, they were extremely muscly and nice to look at (I didn't touch or take a photo, what do you take me for??!) so I'll let them off!

Below is the Tornado doing an extremely realistic demonstration of what they do out in Afghanistan.  Bombing and shooting and trying to scare off the enemy from patrols on the ground.  It was sobering trying to imagine what it must be like for people on the ground.  So loud and terrifying.  And all being offered up for our enjoyment and education.....a bit weird to be honest.   They were trying to get across how they don't go in all guns blazing but do several passes to scare off non-combatants before returning to bomb the sh*t out of anyone still there.  I THINK I felt better...

Helicopters can fly backwards.  Who knew?  It looks like I caught them crossing but no - they flew side by side like this the length of the runway for our amusement.

Then they bowed to us.

A Dutch fighter jet showing off.  He was cool and extremely loud!

Right side up.

Wrong side up.

Safe and sound.

We had a lovely weekend over in the flats of Lincolnshire. We went over to my parents' on Friday evening and had a good night in the local with Dad and his ancient pals. Then Saturday morning we were off to the Weddington Airshow. It's a really good day out (honest) and we were lucky in that we picked the best day of the weekend for it. Despite an inauspicious start of torrential rain (while we had breakfast peering disconsolately out of the kitchen windows), it cleared up and stayed fine all day. We had spells of sunshine and blue sky and spells of chilly cloud cover but the organisers (being military chaps and chappesses) managed to arrange for the big displays to coincide with the sunshine so the Red Arrows, South Korean Black Eagles and Italian Frecce Tricolore teams all had blue sky and managed to show off their incredible technical ability to best effect.

As you might guess, I took a LOT of photographs! and you will be seeing a few of them here now that I have exhausted my Pembrokeshire stash. I am as nothing, however, to the proper nerdy planewatchers who congregate at these events. You know, the weirdy beardies who think they actually ARE in the military despite the fact that they're attending an airshow WITH THEIR MUM!

These strange types (the plane-spotting equivalent of twitchers, trainspotters, stamp collectors, autograph hunters etc) make a virture of seeming to be unimpressed by the showy display teams like the Red Arrows (presumably we're meant to think that they've seen them too many times to be impressed by mere pinpoint accuracy and stunning beauty) but then get all excited when a lumbering Saab cargo plane which has only just come out bores its way down the runway. They wear overly tight combat trousers and big black military style boots (as if they were in some sort of SWAT team on the streets of LA rather than being on a perfectly flat and dry airfield in rural Lincolnshire). They have walkie talkies strapped to their chunky belts and a high proportion of the older ones sport bald heads and pony tails!

They arrive early and stake out great swathes of the runwayside with their high-tec folding chairs, often creating little exclusion zones using bungee cords and windbreakers. Their cameras are earth-shatteringly high-tech with lenses over a foot long and great tripods and even sound recoding devices. Although they are sitting in the front row, they stand up and block the view of all the old people and children behind them thus forcing them to stand up too. In short (well, not that short) they are a pain. The vast majority of people at these events are great - 50,000 turn up and coexist pleasantly - but there are always a few fanatics who have to irritate. Harrumph!

Undetered, I squeezed by "little" 8 inch lens (virtually a point and press job compared to the big boys' toys around me) to a place where I could just about see stuff without standing in front of any "civilians" and clicked away to my heart's content. Rich loved it too. It was so absorbing - we found our space and stayed there from 10 'til 5 moving only for trips to buy the odd coffee or beer and to the loo. We were taken by surprise by how quickly the time flew by - a Tornado demonstration, the Red Arrows, Chinook, various helicopters, loads of aeronautical display teams and solo jets, the Eurofighter and, of course, the wonderful Battle of Britain Memorial flight. I love the sound of the Lancaster lumbering through Lincolnshire skies.

Our picnic was not SW compliant but not bad either and no real nasties so I don't even feel too guilty. I won't be able to go to WI until next Tuesday anyway as I'm golfing this evening.

Sunday was just a chilling day, recovering from all that fresh air, driving home, walking the dogs and unpacking etc. I woke this morning feeling positively refreshed and wide awake. I didn't even want to turn over and go back to sleep! I hope this feeling lasts all week. And for you lot too!

No comments: