Nothing inspires like an airshow, aeroplanes seem to be so remote day to day, the airshow brings them up close and personal. Is there anyone reading this who cannot remember their first – the tannoys building the excitement as they announce the flying program as you file towards the flight line, the scent of burger bars, engines spluttering or whining their way into life across the field – it sets the hair on the back of your neck upright as the anticipation builds toward that moment – the start of the flying program.
Many of us started our lifelong fascination with things that fly at windswept airfields watching air displays; both in the US and Europe they have grown in popularity year on year as more rare and ancient flying machines make it back into the sky after lying in state beneath tarpaulins or existing as components scattered across the globe.. There is a passion for flight which is expressed by millions worldwide as they troop to worship at the green grass and concrete altar that is an airfield.
Being part of an airshow is equally exciting, you are driven along by your itinerary across the season with each performance planned and anticipated months if not years before. It doesn’t matter what you are flying, the approach to the business needs to be exactly the same. Safety, punctuality and precision rule the day and break the rules or the boundaries and you are off the program.
Le Bourget like every other air display has an overseer who watches every display ‘slot’ from the tower, he is normally a very experienced display pilot himself and his critical eye watches for breaks in safety and regulation. ‘Jupiter’ as he is (or was) called having spotted let’s say an aerobatic team flying too near the margins would make a short RT call, “Blue Formacion, Jupiter, e’ is watching you.” That timely interruption would be enough snap the leaders attention to the point in question as the next call might be – “Land!”
Over the coming weeks I may well be introducing someone to you who is inspired by the Air Show, he is a new and very young staff writer who would one day love to become an air show commentator. That master of ceremonies, the front face of the arial ballet, the guru who brings you the fascinating detail behind a performance or the venerated wood, metal and fabric carving arcs in the sky before you.