Leuchars Airshow 2012 review day 1

Hello and thanks for visiting.  My annual pilgrimage to RAF Leuchars took place last week when the Diamond Celebration Airshow took place over the 14th and 15th of September.  I am always very fortunate that my family club in together and buy this weekend for my birthday every year so they never have to think about what I want.

It is always a bit of a rush but this year I took my dad who was keen to see the Vampires, Venom and Meteor.  In the end the Venom went tech but there were attendances and displays from the others.

Day 1

Sadly we were stuck in car park 6 for the 2 days which is a step back from previous years but we were well looked after by the serving members of the RAF.

The weather was very mixed with a strong westerly blowing all day which meant the aircraft were all taking off and landing from the 27 end, which was a pity.  Soon after bacon rolls and coffee the aircraft started arriving and/or practising their routine.  I did take a number of photographs and have posted them here.  As always none of my photos are photoshopped.

A lot of photos to look through and an extremely long day.  This show seemed to have a lot less flying than previous ones I have attended, however, the RAF did an outstanding job by having a large number of aircraft in the air, particularly Typhoons but the highlight of the two days for me was the displays by the Chinook and the E3 Sentry.

In recent years the enthusiasts normally parked in the Officers Mess car park for day 1 and on base on day 2.  This became car park 6 which requires a shuttle service provided by the RAF.  It just means arriving a little earlier on the day and leaving a bit later.  I made the mistake a number of years ago of parking in the main car park.  A hard lesson as it took me longer to get out of the base than it did to drive to Forres so never again.

We arrived at the enthusiasts compound about 0815 in time to pick a reasonable spot for our days activities, set down our gear and waited for breakfast.  Sure enough a short time later, coffee and unlimited bacon rolls arrived.  The RAF are fantastic hosts and I may be an old fashioned type of guy but the uniforms worn by the females are very smart in comparison to the tat that you see down the high street at the weekend.

Stomachs full, it was outside for the briefing and the days activities.  There was a steady wind all day which got a little tiresome but none the less the day got underway.  It was nice to see the T33 alongside the Vampires early in the day.  A steady stream of aircraft passed in front of us, some of them a first for me, in particular the French Rafale and the Hawk T2.  The F16’s of the Belgian Air Component and the Royal Netherlands Air Force were a sore miss as they produce outstanding displays.  No German element this year, I doubt Angela Merkel is getting more miserable as she gets older.  No Polish element this year.  I am sure you are seeing a pattern.

There seemed to be huge gaps in the arrivals and rehearsals with a number of no shows but still you can’t keep a good anorak down.  The day was hard going for my dad as there was no shelter at the fenceline but he had a good time.

All too soon the day was over and we headed back to the Strathmartine Avenue Travelodge in Dundee which was a reasonable price as it had been booked for 7 months but it was definitely all fur coat and no knickers. It looked nice from the outside but the rooms were very basic and the food was below average.  I have not had a good experience of Travelodges this year so time to change.

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