It’s hard to believe the Mig-29 Fulcrum is not a “Flyby Wire” platform. A truly excellent
aircraft superbly displayed.
Waddington seems to suffer from decreasing numbers of foreign participants but the
Royal Air Force always turns up in force.
Special Thanks :
We would like to specially thank the Community Relations Office
and all the personnel from 51 Squadron at Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Waddington in Lincolnshire hosts the second largest air show event
the United Kingdom. Mostly dominated by RAF aircraft in the displays, Waddington
still makes the effort to invite other Forces to come and enjoy our English weather!
Traditionally the weather is overcast and raining for arrivals and practice displays
making photography difficult but we cracked on and got the job done.
One of the static aircraft highlights included three Romanian Mig-21 Lancer aircraft
which are currently on deployment and working with 617 Squadron at RAF
Lossiemouth in Scotland. Landing in two pairs with the second pair delaying in the
circuit for traffic reasons. Once landed an RAF Tornado ran in and broke. One has
to imagine the radio chatter between the Tornado and the tower ... “Are we under
attack?!, God Dam! There’s Migs everywhere!”
The Greeks acknowledged their invite by providing an F-16D, interesting to see it
was a Block 52 two seat version with the upper fuselage section being square.
This increases the Falcons fuel carrying capability, an example of another Country
using a similar variant is Israel.
A German Tornado IDS from JaboG 31 and a pair of Turkish F-4 Phantoms all did there
part to fill out the static line up and add some much needed variation. The French
also showed their support for Waddington’s air show event by providing a Mirage 2000D
aircraft for the static. Also to appear in the static was a French Alpha Jet from
the same unit as the one in the flying programme.
American F-15E Eagles took time out of their
busy flying schedule and made the short hop
(in flying terms) from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk
home to three United States Air Force in Europe
(USAFE) Units. RAF Aircraft participation is
always strong with Jaguars, Hawks, Harriers
Tornado F3 and Gr.4 variants. Being in close
proximity to Fighter bases Waddington, had
Tornado F3 examples from the Squadrons of
11 and 25 both from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire.
12 Squadron showed off there anniversary
scheme for ninety years of the Squadron!
Another Tornado of interest was a specially
painted GR.4 from 14 Squadron displayed
in a striking blue scheme. This years show had
a large rotary wing presence with Dutch
Apaches, Army Air Corps Apaches and Royal
Navy Sea Kings. Possibly the rarest helicopter ever seen at Waddington was a S-70B-2
Seahawk from the Australian Navy. Off the frigate HMAS Anzac which is anchored at
Portsmouth taking part in the Trafalgar celebrations.
Making a nice change for the season of 2005 the Jaguar GR.3 display will be flown
41 Squadron machine. The responsibility of air show event flying has been taken over
by 41, after the disbandment of 16 (R) earlier in the year. Both Tornado display
routines weren’t very inspiring to watch. I didn’t feel I had to run to the recruiting
stand and sign up! Although the F3 and GR.4 variants have different roles one would
have found it difficult to determine which is which.
Piloted by 29 (R) Squadron, the Typhoon was thrown around the skies of Waddington
with a high degree of confidence. Being the first event in the United Kingdom where
the Eurofighter Typhoon was fully displayed by a Royal Air Force Squadron Pilot,
giving a good insight into its capabilities. A single seat example was in the static
offering an office tour for the public. “ELSIE” from the Operational Conversion Unit
(OCU) of 17 (R)
Squadron informed me, the Squadron currently has three single seat machines and he
proudly stated the static example was only three weeks old!
The Belgians were also in the flying schedule displaying their F-16 AM Fighting Falcon.
Unfortunately for show watchers on Saturday John Vandebosch the display pilot from
31 Tiger Squadron had a technical problem and disappointedly had to end his routine
The winner by far for afterburner aerobatics
has to be the Hungarian Mig-29 Fulcrum.
The Pilot from the 59th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Szentgyorgyi Dezso Air Base,
spoiled the reheat fans. High G turns, fast passes, a cobra and of course being a
Russian Built Fighter we got, not one but two Tail Slides!