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  Abingdon Air and Country Show - Abingdon Airfield, Oxfordshire 4th May 2014

 


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This was Aviationphoto's first visit to the Abingdon Air and Country Show which now, in its fifteenth year, has become 'the' season opener to attend.  Abingdon airfield itself was opened in 1932 and has seen uses ranging from training in WWII, with the Ansons and Whitleys of 10 OTU beating the circuit, to being a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility servicing Hunters, Jaguars, Buccaneers and Hawks in the 70s and 80s.  Closing as an RAF base in 1992, the runway itself was retained and has since been used by Vigilants of 612 VGS and Puma, Merlin and Chinook helicopters on training missions.

The atmosphere of the show was very enjoyable with an informal and relaxed take on proceedings coupled with compact display axis, blue skies and the sun pretty much behind you all the time, which was great for photography.  Most eagerly awaited display item was Mid Air Squadron's immaculate English Electric Canberra PR9 XH134 G-OHMD which was due to fly a pairs routine with the Squadron's newly restored Hunter T7 XL600.  Despite the Hunter being unable to display on the day, the Canberra's 2014 debut (the aircraft's first public display was at the Goodwood revival at the end of last season) was brilliant with lots of topside passes and a final fast howling pass that left the crowd in awe of this fantastic machine.   

Making a welcome and inspiring return to the airshow circuit was Tony De Bruyn and the Bronco Demo Team, with newly restored OV-10B G-ONAA on display in the static park (with the aircraft and pilot later to make their UK public display debut at the RAF Waddington International Airshow in July).  Tony was involved in an accident while flying another Bronco at Kemble in 2012 which left him with severe injuries and it is great to see him back fighting fit.   

Other highlights of the show included Peter Teichman's elegant and high energy display in the Hangar 11 Collection Spitfire PRXI, the Trig team's routine in their Pitts Specials and the two Jet Provost displays from T3A XM479 and T5 XW324.   Rod Dean performed a dynamic and photo-friendly display in the low powered and small of stature Bristol Bulldog trainer while Peter Holloway gave an impressive show of the STOL capabilities of the Fieseler Storch, a design dating back to the 1930s.

Overall this was a great opener to the 2014 season with the fine weather making for some welcome photo opportunities.

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