by Guest Writer Andrew “hbxov” Beaumont
The RAF Leuchars Battle of Britain Air Show is an annual event held at one of the only pure fighter bases left in active RAF service, RAF Leuchars. The air base opens its gates on the Anniversary of the Battle of Britain to commemorate and remember all those that have died for their country during active service.
The Air Show has historic St. Andrews and the Kingdom of Fife as a back drop, and is famous for its weather hampering the show. But not this year, oh no!
I spent a total of four days in and around the base to cover most aspects of the Air Show, from arrivals, the show itself and finally the departures. I will be reporting about all these aspects to reveal why this was one of the best — if not the best — Air Show that I have attended to date.
Highlights from the show were a rare visit to the UK from the Polish Air Force who performed with a Mig-29 in a jam packed flying display and also an An-26 Transport on static display. Another special visitor was the Czech Air force with their Hind Attack Helicopter performing to the crowd! From closer to home there was a tactical demonstration by the RAF and a Diamond 9 formation of Tornado F.3’s to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of No.56 (Reserve) and No.43 (Fighter) Squadrons. The Air Show also had 8 F-16 examples from 4 European Air Forces and a whole host of other RAF and Foreign performers.
A truly great line-up to any Air Show!
This year like previous years, the Air Show organizers offer a limited number of “Aviation Enthusiast” packages for those a little more hardcore about their aircraft than the regular “punter.” The package includes a two day experience, taking in the Aircraft arrivals, on the day prior to the show. The package includes a separate enclosure from the main paying public on show day which is situated along side the Visiting Aircraft Section (VAS) on the base, used by the Flying Display Aircraft. There is also another enclosure made available on the Arrivals day situated at the opposite end of the base which provides (if the wind is blowing in the right direction) a better vantage point to view the Aircraft landings. Other perks of the package include a unique “goody,” bag and a heated marquee where lunch is served both days. Something that is often taken for granted; the marquee area is also used to host the Veterans during the show day. The majority of the Air and Ground Crew from both RAF and Foreign participants also use this facility. Therefore you may hear many stories from past and present RAF crew and get a chance to talk to some also.
This will be my 5th year attending the show with the Aviation Enthusiast package. I have been attending the RAF Leuchars Air Show ever since I can remember and have wonderful memories of previous shows. This show was promising to be another one to remember.