Clacton Air Show Celebrating 25 Years 25th/26th September 2016
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On Thursday some members and others got into a minibus at Longwater Retail Park and headed for Essex to see the Clacton Air Show. We were dropped off on arrival at the Clacton Bowls Club where our club members have been going to for many years now. Here we have always been made welcome and have given them our custom by buying our refreshments there and entering into their raffles and Jumble Sales etc.
Nearing 2pm some of us had a look around the stalls on the green. One of these was the BBMF where they had old parts from their aircraft collection on show and would answer any questions and sign posters etc. There was an RAF Typhoon Display Team stall, where you could put on a helmet and pretend to fly a Typhoon with a joystick, using a trigger, missile launcher, throttle and breathing mask. They would also sign posters etc if requested. The Red Arrows Circus stalls were full of merchandise and they were also happy to sign posters etc.

The Air Show started with the "Tigers" Parachute Team who jumped from a Britten Norman BN2A Islander and landed by the beach. Next the RAF Typhoon displayed, sadly in and out of the sea mist, so that although you could hear it, much of the time it was invisible. A few other aircraft tried to fly but had to cancel due to the mist. Even the Red Arrows only did a partial display. As Peter was driving again the next day, we left after the Red Arrows and went the pretty route back home. Passing Clacton Airfield I noticed Red 10's Squirrel HT1 helicopter.
The next day we went back for the second day of the air show and passed the Clacton Airfield again. There I noticed a World War 1 biplane. I would love to know what it was and what it was doing. As this day was lovely and bright I decided to walk to the end of the pier at around 11:00, joining several other people. Along the flight line were various Thames Barges and other boats.
The show started with the RAF Red Arrows at 1pm doing their full show. Next the Britten Norman Islander came into sight with the "Tigers" Parachute Team from the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment. The parachutists landed on the beach, with some having a Union Jack flying from their feet. The Twisters aerobatic Team then flew their two Silence SA -180 Twisters doing heart shaped patterns etc. Two Spitfires, a Spitfire PRXIX and Spitfire IIA from the BBMF followed this in addition to a Mig 15 from the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron. As some WW2 veterans from No 320 Sqn were at Dunsfold Aerodrome, the Dutch B-25 Mitchell flew in and displayed. This is part of Royal Netherlands Air Force Historic Flight and had been painted temporarily with the RAF roundel on the back of the fuselage. Then the B-17 "Memphis Belle" came into view and did a display showing how versatile this large aircraft can be.
"Otto the Helicopter", a Schweizer 300 of O'Brien's Flying Circus, was a first for me and probably others. It did aerobatics with smoke coming out of the back and was flown by Roger Buis. A North American OV-10 Bronco was next. This gave an excellent display showing how manoeuvrable it was during the Vietnam War in the 1960's. Then an Xtreme-XA-41 was pushed to its limits high above the crowd doing loops and other display figures. A pair of Vampires, a Vampire FB52 and a Vampire T55 from the Norwegian Air Force Historical Sqn. then performed some lovely formation flying followed by the roar of the RAF Typhoon FGR4 which finished the show.
On Saturday I had a look on You Tube I noticed that during the evening on the Thursday "The Twister Aeobatic Team", "The Fireflies" and "Otto the Helicopter" were lit up in their display and using fireworks. This looked most spectacular in the dark and worth a look. The Fireflies, The Twister Aerobatic Team, Otto the Helicopter, All Three.
Many thanks to Peter Wood for all the driving he did both days taking us there and back and Clacton Bowls Club for having us.     By Andrew Elphick

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