Helping to organize the inaugural Teignmouth Airshow was not without its own ups and downs, twists and turns (pardon the pun). Did you know that in the UK, Airshows are the second-most popular event after football? Airshows are entertaining and many feature national icons such as the Red Arrows along with other RAF aircraft which also serve to pay respect to history as well as inspire and encourage future generations of service people. The aim of the not for profit Teignmouth Airshow CIC was to boost the local economy, support the community and raise the profile of the town.
I was originally asked to help to volunteer as Treasurer but – given the short timescale and small committee (a core of just 7 people), all of us quickly became involved in the general organization of the whole event and build-up. This included many aspects of the main exhibition event management as well as the mini events helping to raise awareness and valuable funds in preparation for the main event weekend on the 5th to 7th of July.
We were starting from humble beginnings, but getting The Blades Team involved at our first event really showed people what an Airshow was all about as they bring the ‘wow’ factor, whereas the awesome Hurricane always brings the noise. The small but varied selection of pilots and aircraft showed depth and brought excitement for the substantial crowd estimated at 25,000 people. We were very fortunate that the weather and visibility was superb on the day. Beside the Airshow itself, there were plenty of family-friendly community side-events in the town on the same weekend around The Den including live music, entertainment, a fun fair and even a classic car rally. It was also wonderful to see many of the local, independent traders get involved in decorating their shop fronts in support.
Formation flying is a thrilling spectacle and having a much sought-after aerobatic team to start the inaugural Teignmouth Airshow was very exciting. The Airshow started off with the 4 Blades which fly an Extra 300 2-seat tandem aerobatic. This is the only aircraft featured at the Teignmouth Airshow where you can actually pay to experience close-formation flying if you wish. The Blades Team is particularly exciting because the pilots are all UK National Aerobatic Champions and former Red Arrows.
Corinne Dennis (from Cornwall) flew the Pitts Special S-1S G-TWRL dedicated stunt bi-plane. Requiring a high experience and skill level even for normal flight, the performance was like a beautiful aerial ballet.
Will Greenwood flew the Yak-3 G-OLEG, a classic WW2 era Soviet fighter aircraft. It was known as one of the smallest and lightest major combat fighters fielded by any combatant during the war.
Known as the world’s most advance fighter aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 –really shows off its power and brings the noise. This highly agile and sophisticated aircraft at both supersonic and low speeds was designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. The RAF pilot finished off with a spectacular max rate climb to max 55,000ft – going up like a rocket into the sky, only possible on such a wonderful sunny day. The fact that you can ‘back stick’ the controls and know that the aircraft will limit the G means that you can pull straight to 9G!
Ending on a high, the finale was the Solo Hurricane Mk 2C, an iconic wartime fighter aircraft and the rarest of the UK aircraft featured at the Airshow.
The aim of the Committee is to support another Teignmouth Airshow in 2020 and – along with other responsible community enterprises – try to keep the carbon footprint down. This first air show met with some negative publicity from those campaigners against aviation-related emissions. While the air show’s contribution to UK aviation emissions is minuscule, Committee members are aware of the vast proportion of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport. We are considering opportunities to promote alternative transport, the need to recycle and protect the environment from plastic pollution and encourage other environmentally-friendly activities going forward.
If you’d like to be involved in this exciting community project next year, please contact me or a member of the committee >> www.teignmouthairshow.co.uk