Clacton Air Show 23rd and 24th August 2018
Click to see photos in Gallery
At 8:30 on Thursday I boarded an Easton's Coach leaving from Castle Meadow, Norwich to go to the Clacton Air Show. After arriving by the Martillo Tower I walked to the Clacton Bowls Club and joined eight members from the Norwich And District Aviation Group who were having refreshments and entering the raffle. Later I walked to the end of the pier to have lunch, just before it started to rain and arrived back to the Bowls Club just as the rain began to get heavier. However, when the air show started the sun began to shine!

At 2pm a BN-2A Islander from the Headcorn Parachute Club Ltd flew overhead, steadily gaining height before releasing The Tigers Army Parachute Team, who landed in the sea. They were quickly picked up by a boat and formed up along the beach to take the salute in front of the Lord Mayor. An RAF Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4, flown by Flight Lieutenant Jim Patterson came roaring over doing a great display, twisting and looping while pulling various G loads.

Then a bright yellow Slingsby T67 Firefly Mk II, owned by Rod Dean from the Slingsby SR Group, flew, doing aerobatics. This type of aircraft used to be at RAF Barkston Heath as an early trainer. Next, a pair of Silence SA 180 Twister Aerobatic powered gliders did a wonderful show of formations and aerobatics along with music.

At 3pm precisely the RAF Red Arrows shot over the roof of the Bowls Club, just as everyone was looking to find them and later flew over the coast doing their wonderful routine with a 100 formation in the air, added this year for the RAF Anniversary.

A Rotorsport UK Calidus Autogyro, flown by Peter Davies also displayed. This was followed by a North American OV10B Bronco based at Wevelgem, Belgium, in the form of a Luftwaffe aircraft with poppies on the fuselage, "Lest We Forget" on the wings and "1914-1916" on top of the tail, in remembrance of the Flanders battlefields in the First World War.

An RAF Airbus A400M Atlas C1 did a quick flypast along the front. This was the only day of the air show that it appeared and it was a special treat for a lot of people, as it was not mentioned in the programme. At 4pm the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, using a Supermarine Spitfire LFIXe and a Hawker Hurricane IIc did their display. Sadly the Avro Lancaster B1 could not make it. Then I had to leave my friends as I had to go back to Easton's coach for the return journey to Norwich.

While I was walking along to the coach, a North American P-51D Mustang "Tall in the Saddle", flown by Peter Teichman from the Hanger 11 Collection, North Weald flew by. Then a Pitts S2E Special or 'Muscle Biplane' in Union Jack colours was flown by R.S Goodwin who flew several aerobatic manoeuvres and was brilliant to watch. A BAC Strikemaster Mk 82 in Omani markings also appeared and so I was able to watch by the side of the coach.

At 4pm we had to leave and headed towards Jaywick, where the Clacton Aero Club is, and a few of the visiting aircraft were parked there, such as the Bronco, "Otto", a Schweiser 300 and the BN-2 Islander.

Friday   Leaving from Easton Village Hall, nine people including me boarded a minibus and headed for Clacton to see the Air Show. On arrival at the Bowls Club, we had some refreshments and a few entered into the raffle etc. Later the sun came out and so we went outside to have a look around the stalls and I headed for the far end of the pier. After having lunch I met some interesting people to talk to.

At 1pm the RAF Red Arrows flew in from Norwich to the centre of the display line, where I had a grand view. This day was much brighter with no rain. There were a few variations on Friday, for example, the RAF Chinook in place of the Typhoon and Atlas, and the Bremont Great War Display Team who flew their replica First World War aircraft, dogfighting, while from the tannoy came sounds of gunfire. I had missed this on Thursday, due to having to leave earlier.

I also saw the Fireflies which again I missed on Thursday. The Fireflies Team performed in a couple of aerobatic Van's RV-4's. To finish the show a Strikemaster and two Vampires flew in formation. These were a DH100 Vampire FB6 and a DH115 Vampire T55 specially marked as RAF versions for this year. Later the Strikemaster peeled off before the Vampires did their solo displays and formations. These are based in Ryge, Norway and are part of the Norwegian Air Force Historical Flight.

After this we got back to the minibus and went through some lovely villages on the way home, arriving back at 7:30pm Many thanks go to the people at Clacton Bowls Club, who have allowed us to be there for many years and also to Peter Wood for driving and organising the trip.

By Andrew Elphick

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