The deafening clatter of rotors beating the air into submission greeted us as we drove onto the airfield at RNAS Yeovilton to set up the Vulcan Village for Air Day 2015.
Thirteen military helicopters were hovering a few feet above the ground and just a few yards from where we needed to erect three large tents, as they practiced for the finale of the airshow. To say concentration on the job in hand was difficult would be an understatement.
We had arrived home from our last trip to France on the previous Sunday evening and after three days at home to turn around and re-stock the motorhome we left on Thursday morning for Somerset.
This was our first time working at Yeovilton Air Day but other volunteers had told us it was a great show and one they always enjoyed. As it was Vulcan’s last year flying we thought we would get as many shows in as possible so a trek across the country seemed in order. The show organisers had arranged for a campsite on playing fields right next to the main gate to the show and I had booked a pitch months earlier. We arrived early afternoon and the kind folk looking after the site pitched us so that we could come and go without disturbing too many other people. We just chilled for the rest of the day and evening before meeting the others on Friday morning for ‘set-up’.
With tents half erected a huge USAF C17 taxied past us to go onto the static display. All hands were holding the tent down as the backwash tried its best to add an extra unscheduled take off to the day.
Our Vulcan arrived from Doncaster, announcing her presence with a high speed blast down the runway at 300ft, pulling up into a very noisy zoom climb to 7000ft and spectacular wing over to enter the down wind leg and land. The whole of Somerset must have known the star of the show had arrived.
As always it was an early start on Saturday and we left the campsite as quietly as we could. We only had a few yards to drive to go through security where we were subjected to a quick search under and around the motorhome by mirrors and a black labrador search dog. All cleared by the dog we went onto the airfield and parked the motorhome behind the Vulcan Village with the awning out to provide a sheltered rest area for the volunteers, ground and aircrew.
The all-ticket show had been a sell out and we were busy from the very start. Everybody seemed to want something to remember the worlds last flying Vulcan as this was to be her last visit to Yeovilton.
As usual we closed the VV so that we could watch her display and this time there was an extra treat as she flew in formation with the last flying Sea Vixen, ‘Foxy Lady’, and two Vampires. A great display of 1950’s air power.
Her solo display had us and the crown in raptures with the usual steep climbs, high angle wing overs and lots and lots of noise. After landing she taxied back close to the Vulcan Village where huge queues of people were able to take advantage of our under wing tours to get up close to the aeroplane and meet the crew.
After a very successful day everything was dismantled and packed away and we returned to our campsite pitch to collapse with a stiff drink or three and some supper.
The following day, Sunday, we drove the short distance north to Cirencester and three days to recover on the Caravan Club site there.