After a 3 year gap the Cold War jets at Yorkshire Air Museum were once again able to stretch their wings down the 2 mile runway as part of the Yorkshire Air Museum Rolling Thunder day. Car parking was on the concreate pan by the side of the taxiway with entrance to museum via the short woodland walk. Joining the Cold War jets, the De Havilland Devon VP967 gave a static engine run inside the museum grounds before being towed out to the pan where the other aircraft were being prepared for their runs. The minute P.V.8 Eastchurch Kitten and Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5A were also due to give engine runs outside the main hanger but we chose to wait for the main viewing area to open.
After a sprint to the viewing area by the runway when it finally opened (at the opposite end to where all the photographer’s were queueing) most of the action seemed to happen in front of the car park rather than on the runway.First up was the De Havilland Devon which taxied out past the car park for its first and only run before returning to the car park via the taxiway to run up its engines.
Next came the Douglas Dakota IV C-47B which sounded very rough but I’m assured the popping and banging was fine and these runs are all about giving the engine a good blast. The Dakota did a slow speed and a high speed pass with a nice tail lift on the latter before again performing a static engine run in front of the car park.
The museum’s Blackburn Buccaneer XN974, freshly repainted in her beautiful new Royal Navy paint scheme was next out for the crowd. Although she only performed one fast past she did a very nice wing lift both on the runway and again in front of the car park.
Nimrod XV250 “The Maid of Moray” taxied out for the penultimate run, taxing slowly down the runway before being brought to full power for her high speed pass.
Headlining the Yorkshire Air Museum Rolling Thunder was the Hanley Page Victor XL231. “Lusty Lindy” as she is known is a Falklands and Gulf war veteran. After a delay getting her started she performed a thunderous run down the runway deploying the break shoot as she past the end of the crowd line. She then returned up the runway to perform a static engine run at the top of the runway. The run was piloted by long term Lindy team member and current RAF pilot Ollie Suckling with no less than former Vulcan pilot Martin Withers as co pilot. In the backseats were former V force crew Barry Masefield, Dave Taylor and Al Stephenson. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the team as the run was delayed following problems with the starter, with them resorting to borrowing the Hants and Sussex Stad air starter from the Buccaneer to get the four engines started.
Overall it was a mixed day. The runway viewing area was notably further back than for Cold War Jets at Bruntingthorpe but didn’t extend close enough to the start up area for decent start up shots without resorting to a long lens (seemed more bad planning than a safety issue as the barrier was much closer to the start ups by the car park but unfortunately side on and into the sun). The biggest issue for those of us in the viewing area was the number of static engine runs and manoeuvres that took place solely in front of the car park rather than the viewing area. Hopefully these teething issues can be addressed for future events as it’s always fantastic to see these aircraft in action rather than as static museum pieces.