Waddington International Airshow is the RAF’s biggest crowd puller of the year and one of our favourites, having worked there for several years. We left home on Thursday morning for the hundred mile trip to Lincolnshire and our overnight stop at Barn Farm. Ann Carratt, who organises part of the temporary camp site there, kindly lets us stay for just a couple of nights rather than the whole weekend, in return for a donation to the local Ambucopter appeal. As Thursday is press/media day a lot of aircraft arrive and carry out practice displays, including our Vulcan on previous years. This year, however, she was to make the short hop from her home at Doncaster to Waddo on the Friday.
We relaxed and watched the arrivals, had a nice supper and a fairly early night. The next few days were going to be hot, busy and very hard work.
The resident cockerel’s on the farm meant we were woken early as they competed to make the most racket. Lord knows what time they started as it was only just light but we went back to sleep for a few more hours and managed a decent lie-in and a late breakfast.
Our R.V. Point was the Wheatsheaf Pub at 2pm and all the volunteer team were there except the Event Manager who had all the passes and turned up late……..as usual. Eventually we went, in convoy, onto the airfield and the Vulcan Village which was between the ‘Alpha’ taxiway and the runway.
The Village takes a lot of work to set up and we were now running late so it was looking like a late finish. The Motorhome was parked alongside and, as the forecast was for hot weather, I put the awning out to provide a shady area for the team to relax in during their breaks. The van was unloaded, large outside display panels put in place, flag poles erected, banners fitted to the front of the village before we could start on the inside. Just to add to the lateness a major argument erupted between our Event Manager and someone who was supposed to be his ‘right hand man’. I kept my head down and just carried on working but the atmosphere was not good for a while. Eventually things were sorted and we were back to a full team as the Village began to take shape.
While all this was going on the aircraft arrived in the area. We could see her in the distance as they practiced a display over RAF Scampton then she joined a queue of aircraft waiting clearance to land at Waddington. Every head was turned in the Park and View area as she swept in and did a low pass down the runway, a sharp pull up and turn downwind to make her approach to land.
It was almost 8pm by the time we had finished setting up and everyone went off to their overnight ‘digs’. We were staying where we were, tucked down beside the Village on the airfield, carrying out night watchman duties.