Shepway Festival Airshow

5th September

Well, unfortunatly, the fickle British weather beat the organisers this time just before the last hour of the display was completed with a huge bank of channel sea fog landing on Folkestone Seafront to ruin a highly enjoyable display. The show is divided into two parts, a morning show which runs for just over an hour and a longer four hour afternoon show. Many of the aircraft operate from the local airfields such Headcorn, Manston and Lydd. It is unique because spectators can watch the display at eye level height or even look down on displays for unique photos. Although it pulls in a audience of 100,000 on just one day, it is a relaxed and fun event with many side attractions.
    The weather hadn't been kind to Folkestone all day with no definable horizon for pilots to use as a datum which made the displays all the more impressive. The display started with a handglider tow and display before more usual items appeared. First of these was the Sukhoi Su-29/31 duo from Richard Goode Aerobactics followed by the first of the Fighter Collection's appearances with solos from the P-63 Kingcobra and P-47M Thunderbolt. All these displays stuggled through the conditions and with the exception of the sukhois modified their displays to cope with conditions, which meant keeping the cliff - the only visible datum, in sight during vertical manoeuvres. Shepway is charity event, and this years charity was the Kent Air Ambulence, this, a  Eurocopter Twin Squirrel managed to fit in a display in between calls. The morning show concluded with a sole BAC Strikemaster display.

Modern Military Aircraft at Shepway - 56sqr Tornado F3 and 100 sqr Hawk T1s

    After the long lunch break the peace with broken by the ear-shattering RAF Tornado F3 powering around the the channel. It was good to the BBMF return with the Lancaster and Spitfire PR19. Next came a segment of the programme devoted to the Red Arrows, but without the stars themselves, it started with two ex-Arrows performing a formation display in TFC's P-40 Kittyhawk and P-63 Kingcobra in a Allison Pair. They were followed by a very distant formation of Hunter T7, 2 x Gnat T1 and 2 x 100 sqr Hawk T1 before the Hunter displayed and the Hawks did a couple a fast fly-bys. Biplanes on show included the Bucker Jungmann of Anna Walker, the Royal Navy Historic Flight's Swordfish and the very english Airtour Diamond "Eight" Nine formation of Tiger Moths.

The Airtour Diamond Nine Tiger Moths and TFC's Spitfire Duo

The Radial Combo

    TFC returned on mass again this time with their B-25 Mitchell and P-47 Thunderbolt plus a duo of Spitfires who really were displayed with some verve and very near to the cliff face. The Grumman Avanger  also formation with the other two radials before diplaying. Just before the dreaded sea fog landed came a display unique to shepway, the formation display of four Tornado F3s of 25(F) (Folkestone) Squadron who flew formation through the fog to complete their display and that's where the flying was abandoned due to the failing visiablity.
    Apart from the weather this was a highly enjoyable show backed once again by the brilliant commentary of Jerry Mead and it was just a shame it was curtailed by the bad weather.

Folkstone's Town Squadron - 25sqr with 4 Tornado F3s

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