With Scampton Airshow 2017 arrivals optimistically spread over 2 days, the Thursday was very quiet with only 5 aircraft arriving, the highlights of which were the Canadian F18 hornet and Belgian F16, the latter of which performed a practice display before departing back to Belgium.
I started the airshow weekend on the Friday, with around 30 to 40 people in the queue as the gates opened at 7:30. It was a far cry from the size of the crowd at RIAT, a recognition of the inferior line-up and there was plenty of room for the steady stream of people who joined during the morning. The crowd line stretched from the green entrance towards the 22 threshold, but stopping around 150 ft short making pre touchdown shorts difficult without a long lens. There was food and drink available via a burger van and coffee stall with plenty of portaloos.
First arrivals were the two French Alpha display jets, a German Thypoon and an RAF Tornado for the static park. This followed an hour of torrential rain which threatened to spoil the arrival of the Swedish Historic Flights 4 ship which were to be the highlight of the day, and arguably the weekend. Thankfully the British weather pulled it round and we were treated to their arrival in fantastic light on a bright, wet runway. First to arrive was the Saab 35 Draken, performing a run and break before a long nose up landing.
Second was the Saab 37 Viggen who performed a very low fly over before breaking to land. The final aircraft to perform a break to land was the Saab 29 Tunnan.
With each aircraft landing about 10 mins apart the final SHF aircraft was the Saab 32 Lansen making its first appearance in the UK for 23 years.
After a quiet spell over lunch the pace picked up with a pair of Jet Provosts, Bird Dog and Nord 1002 all for the static park. The Alpha jet then went up for the first of two practise displays putting in a very dynamic display. Following that the StrikeMaster display pair (which are actually a StrikeMaster and JP as the second display Strikemaster was not yet ready), Tucano pair in black and Spitfire schemes and a King Air before the Bronco which had arrived a little earlier went up for a practise display. Shortly before I left at 4pm the Catalina, black Hawk from 100th Sqn and a second RAF Typhoon arrived.
Although quiet at times and not ideal for approach shots it was a good arrivals day and well worth the £5 admission. The staff and volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful passing on any information they had on expected timings which were naturally quite fluid.
For Departures on the Monday on the Canadian F18 and RAF Typhoon managed to get away before a narrow band of torrential rain targeted it’s payload at the airfield forcing us to sit under the umbrellas for 2 hours.
Departures were then able to resume with the Bird Dog and the Gyro from static display off first. Sadly the Gyro blew over in the cross wind forcing a further closure of the runway whilst a possible fuel spillage was resolved.
At around 2.10pm the runway was reopened which allowed the Swedish Historic Flight and the remaining visitors to depart. Despite the weather and the drama and delay caused by the Gyro incident as the only chance to see the Swedish Historic Flight’s rare aircraft in the air this was well worth the wait.