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Booming Breighton

Steven Hadlow/aircraftinaction.co.uk reports. Photos by the author and Roger Hadlow

The Real Aeroplane Company holds regular fly-ins at its Breighton Airfield home in North Yorkshire. However, the event on 23-24 July was more than just a fly-in, with some full flying displays from non-residents promised as well as other entertainment.

Breighton buddies

The weather on the airshow weekend sadly decided not to co-operate with the organisers - on both days P-51D Jumpin' Jacques was planned to take part and make a four-ship of Mustangs along with resident P-51D Susy, Maurice Hammond's Janie and Rob Davies's Big Beautiful Doll, but poor weather in the south prevented Peter Teichmann from making the trip 'oop north' to Yorkshire. There were also plans to see two Percival Proctors and the Vega Gull, but sadly they also couldn't make it due to the deteriorating weather conditions in the south.

Breighton fighters

Despite the somewhat disappointing cancellations for the show, there were still several highlights in the flying display. Noticeable on arrival, despite the slightly fading paintwork, was a new 'gate guardian' at Breighton, a L-29 Delfin, which has now been assembled and placed on the grass next to the entry route. Together with changed parking arrangements on the airfield to accommodate the anticipated extra influx of visitors due to this event being advertised as a full airshow, unusually for Breighton there were a number of aviation stalls selling merchandise as well as several food stands. One of the stalls present was from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, with attendant helicopter. It made rather rapid departures on both days as it was called out to attend emergencies in the surrounding area.

As was the case at last year's summer show, the 'Buchon' played a part in a very interesting set piece with members of the Normandy & Arnhem Society wearing Second World War uniforms, both British and German, and surrounded by genuine war relics. Also seen over the course of the weekend was a very rare World War One Nieuport Biplane replica - this aircraft, along with a Junkers CL1 and Breighton resident Fokker DR1 was involved in the filming of a new Hollywood movie called 'Flyboys', a film is about the Lafayette Escadrille, in which young American fighter pilots volunteered to fly for the French military before the US entered into the Great War.

As is always the case at any Breighton event one of the best ways to enjoy the day is to start by having a relaxing walk down the relatively small flightline. Items of interest that were already present on early Saturday morning were the T-6 Harvard and P-51D Mustang Janie, both owned by Maurice Hammond. Unusually the T-6 also performed a flying display on both days, which made a welcome change and it was a rather exciting one with some very good topside passes thrown in. A very unusual type seen was the very small Husband RW Evans VP-1 - certainly not something you see everyday!

Both days featured some very different entertainment that can only really be truly successful at a small, personal airfield like Breighton. Flour bombing and balloon popping contests were carried out by various different aircraft on both days - whilst the flour bombing saw rather low success rates, the balloon popping on Sunday saw two separate distinctive 'pops'. Well done to the pilot of the silver Chipmunk and the other pilot who both managed to get themselves a balloon hit!

Not all of the days' entertainment was centered around aviation. There was also a racing car present that performed a number of runs around the taxiways, certainly one of the loudest things on display at a place like Breighton! The resident aircraft were very active over the course of the two days with pretty much every type currently with the Real Aeroplane Company seen in the air. Other rotary aircraft present were the omni-present Gazelle, an Enstrom 480 and an Alouette.

Brian Brown displayed RAC's Hawker Hurricane MKXII to great effect on both days - with the Hurricane having been to the Czech Republic the previous weekend it was nice to see that neither it, nor its pilot, showed any signs of wear! However the highlight of both days had to be Mustang displays - on Sunday the bad weather further south of Breighton meant Rob Davies couldn't make a re-appearance, but on the Saturday Taff Smith and Maurice Hammond both departed Breighton and came back in formation with Rob and Big Beautiful Doll. The sight and sound of three superb warbirds over Breighton was a very special thing to experience and, judging from the way people around the base seemed to stop as they came in, everyone agreed. Later in the day all three Mustangs took off and came back in formation again before performing their solo displays - brilliant! The final Second World War era fighter at Breighton, the BF109 Buchon, also performed a taxi run under the control of Taff Smith.

Overall the weekend's entertainment was superb. The weather didn't cooperate yet again, especially on the Sunday, causing cancellations and just generally making it very cold and uninviting, but at least it stayed dry this time. With some very original acts and the appearance of several warbirds, despite the poor weather the weekend was still a very enjoyable one.


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