Culdrose Air Day Flies the Flags
The blue skies over Culdrose were turned to green, white and red, as a team of Italian aviators thrilled the crowds at Air Day 2015.
Two European visitors proved just as popular with spectators as former Cold War machines were put through their paces by pilots from Poland and Switzerland. But the Navy home team also put up a great show with both modern and historic aircraft, from wartime favourites like the Seafire and the iconic Swordfish, to the latest in helicopter technology in the shape of the Wildcat and the Merlin. Those who stayed to the end were rewarded by the appearance of the Sea Vixen – a potential successor on the Air Display circuit when the mighty Vulcan bows out.
This year’s flying had a truly international feel, with nail-biting displays lasting over six hours in total. The Italian Air Force’s version of the Red Arrows, boasted the largest Flag when the ten-strong team painted the sky with their national colours. Shortly after their display was over, following a quick refuel, one of their number jetted over the horizon back toItalyto meet his newborn bambino.
A Polish MiG-29 and the Swiss Air Force’s F-18 Hornet, were a treat for both eyes and ears in a combination of grace and raw power. The hero of last year’s show, medal wining Lieutenant Commander Chris Gotke made a return visit flying the Texan. Another highlight was the fly past of Fleet Air Arm aircraft which included Culdrose based Merlins and Sea Kings, a Lynx, and two Wildcats. The formation was led by three Cornish favourites – the red and grey Search and Rescue Sea Kings of 771 Naval Air Squadron. Displaying on their last ever Air Day, the much loved aviators, also opened up their Hangar to enable locals and holidays makers to pay tribute to their bravery over the last 40 years.
With a fantastic mix of fast jets, aerobatic display teams, historic aircraft and military helicopters, the flying display had visitors packed along the flightline. Visitors Jodie and Josh fromCornwallthought that this was “..the best Air Day ever.” Jodie said: “It was a fantastic display, due to the weather, the noise and some really awesome flying. I especially liked the solo performance by the Chinook and the Muscle Bi-plane which really was nail-biting – I couldn’t believe it when he tumbled through the air. We loved it!”
The action in the sky was complemented by a whole range of activities on the ground, as personnel from RNAS Culdrose came out on show to tell the public about their important role within the Royal Navy, and the operations that they have been involved in across the world.