Shoreham RAFA Airshow

Saturday 31st August – Sunday 1st September 2013

Shoreham is always one of our favourite air shows with its laid back atmosphere and the lovely setting below the South Downs, the view dominated by the cathedral like chapel of Lancing College right on top of the downs. Once again we have a great team to work with, Shackers is Event Manager, Sue, Sean, Cliff, Paul, Steve, Kate and me with Paddy signing books and pictures. The team all know exactly what needs to be done and as soon as we open for business everyone just gets on with their jobs without Shackers having to say a word. That is what a great team should be able to do.

Part of the 'A' team

Part of the ‘A’ team. Shackers, Paul, Sue & Steve.

It is a chilly start but the sun soon warms things up as the public start to slowly trickle in and we start to get a little trade.

Day one of two day shows, usually a Saturday, is normally the busy day as most enthusiasts tend to attend whereas Sunday is more of a family day and much quieter for us. This Saturday, however, there is most definitely something missing as the crowd is smaller and we are finding business slow. It could be that the Vulcan is only booked for Sunday and everyone is waiting for that.

Saturday ends as it started with very disappointing takings and we spend much of the day standing around waiting for someone to talk to.

As we are staying on the airfield we are treated to a dazzling kite display as darkness falls. Each year a group of kite enthusiasts fly huge bat like kites that have LED lights flashing in random patterns. As it gets darker the lights make beautiful patterns in the sky which are quite magical. We have our supper watching the display through the sky light.

Kites illuminated with flashing LED's

Kites illuminated with flashing LED’s

Sunday dawns bright and sunny if a tad chilly and as soon as the gates are opened it is obvious that the crowd is going to be bigger. Soon there are Tweets to warn people about the delays on surrounding roads, something that definitely didn’t happen the previous day.

This is a reversal of the usual airshow crowd and we are busy as soon as the gates are opened. Although Airshow organisers will not admit that it happens there can be no doubt that there is a huge ‘Vulcan Effect’ going on here. For us the two days are like chalk and cheese, Saturday standing around waiting for the time to go by, Sunday is busy, busy, busy. The stand is constantly full of people excited about seeing our Vulcan, asking questions about the future and the possibility of her flying for an extra two years.

Then, bad news. At first unconfirmed reports talk of a fuel leak on the aircraft and after frantic phone calls it is confirmed; during the BF (Before Flight) service the engineers spotted a leak in No. 7 wing tank. Safety must always come first and so the flight was cancelled. Bugger!!!

Huge disappointment among both the crowd and volunteers and a few tears were wiped away on the stand as we prepared to tell people the latest news. We all spoke to loads of people and there was not one complaint that she was not coming. Everyone, without exception, said safety must come first and although disappointed they all understood.

Despite not having an aircraft to wow the crowd we continued to be busy and the days results were very commendable. With a very poor Saturday and a ‘no show’ on Sunday we still took almost as much as the previous year when we had a display on both days.

As the flying finished we packed up and counted what was left of the stock, dismantled the gazebos and packed the van for Sean to take back to base. This was to be the last airshow for all of us this year so there were lots of goodbyes to be said and the hope that we will all meet soon at a members day in Doncaster.

We stayed on the airfield for a third night before making our way home on Monday for a quick turn round before our next adventure…………coming soon to a screen near you.

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