This was my first trip to Bruntingthorple for the Cold War jets day, although I’d been to the airfield before when the Lightning was on engine test so know what to expect in terms of the noise.
Arriving when the gates opened at 9am I chose my spot mid way down the crowd line away from the RC models and with a decent clear background. By the first run at 11am the RC modellers had extended way down the runway and were blocking any shots of aircraft approaching from the start of the runway. I think this is something the organisers have to look at for future events.
First up bang on time was the VC10 already lined up at the start of the run way. After an initial and very loud engine run with dust and smoke billowing out of the engines the revs were once again increased and she flew down the runway with anyone not wearing ear protection wishing they had done.
As with the Canberra and Victor that followed immediately after the fast taxi the jets returned to the parking area via the far taxi way as it wasn’t possible to return down the main runway and exit from there due to their size.
After an initial warm up following her cartridge start, Canberra WT333 taxied forward down the run way a bit like a horse and jockey checking out the first fence in the Grand National before performing a 180 degree turn and heading back to the top of the runway. Once she was facing forward again the pilot held her on the breaks before lauching her down the runway.
Next up was Nimrod XV226 who again went for a slow run down the runway before turning round just head of my position giving the crowd a fantastic heads on shot. After returning to the top of the runway she too headed down it at high speed.
There was scheduled to be a pair of Buccaneers next but one had gone unserviceable so it was left to XW544 to perform on her own. She was to return again later after the Hunter to performace a functional demonstartion including folding up her wings as she would have done on board her aircraft carrier.
By now the promised August Bank holiday weather had set in (what could be more British than sat under an umbrella watching aircraft fast taxi on a bank holiday Sunday) and the L29 Delfin 66634 in Romanian Airforce paint scheme and the Hunter T7 faced the worst of it. Unlike a traditional airshow, bad weather wasn’t going to stop the show and to the contrary it adds to the spectacle with Hunter XL565 throwing up a very impressive plume of water spray as she headed down the runway. Before her performance there was a minutes silence in memory of the victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash.
As the heavy rain continued three Jet Provosts lined up three abreast at the start of the runway for a formation run. First down the runway on the near side was XW290 closely followed by XP672 in Air Defence grey and the rather slugging XM365 in Royal Air Force colours following on the far side. All three aircraft then performed a sort of synchronised dance in the middle of the runway.
Surely one of the headliners of the Cold War Jets was the Handley Page Victor XM715 “Teasin Tina” who made an initial slow pass creating an impressive amount of spray even at such slow speeds before returning to the top of the runway for the much awaited fast taxi pass. Sadly she didn’t deploy her parachute brake although I ‘m sure this would have come as a relief to the volunteers who help maintain her given the 3-4 hours it takes to repack it each time. Again returning to her parking area via the far taxi way which gave a fantastic opportunity for a heads on shot.
Closing the show was the Lightening Preservation Society’s English Electric Lightning F6 XR728. After the now obligatory slow taxi down the runway, XR728 was chocked at the top of the runway for a stationary reheat of her Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets. An impressive sight especially in the damp air. She then treat the crowd to the finally of a thunderous run down the runway complete with double after burners and clouds of spray.
As the crowds started to pack up and the cloud started to clear the belated BBMF Spitfire P7350 performed a fly past which was a nice touch to close the show.
Being home to such an impressive collection of cold war aircraft, Bruntingthorpe is a must for any aviation fan but to get such a unique oppertunity to see so many power down the runway at close quarters makes the fast taxi open days doubly so. The day was well organised with swift parking and exit and a small printed schedule handed out on arrival which was very closely kept to. My only critism as mentioned at the start is the position of the RC models which really need to be moved away from the runway to give the spectators full view of what they have come to see – fast cold war jets. Roll on the next Cold War Jets on May Bank Holiday 2016.