Leuchars Airshow ready for take-off
Aircraft from through the ages will be taking to the air at the annual Leuchars Airshow tomorrow (Saturday). From a First World War Sea Scout - one of the first aircraft to be flown by the Royal Air Force - up to the newest jet fighter Typhoon, they will all be well received by an army of enthusiasts and visitors commemorating the Battle of Britain.
The airshow was launched at the end of the Second World War in 1945 with the first ''At Home Day'' and has since grown and evolved into one of the largest events of its kind in the UK and certainly the biggest north of the border.
Leuchars, a fully operational RAF airfield and home to the last Tornado F3 squadron, has been transformed over a matter of days to accommodate static aircraft along the taxi way, exhibitions and a Scottish Fair in the hangars, a shopping village of trade stands, simulators, a fun fair and an arena featuring a plethora of exciting acts to entertain visitors both young and old.
However, as ever, the main attraction will be the flying displays and more than 100 aircraft will assemble at Leuchars - including several foreign nations arriving to showcase their aircraft.
Taking to the air will be the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight comprising a living-flying memorial to the 'Few', and more than 300 veterans will be among those watching the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and Lancaster bomber parade through the skies.
Classic Meteor, Vampire and Hunter jets will represent the RAF's move to the jet age in the 1940s and 50s and the undoubted highlight of the show will be a flypast by the Vulcan bomber XH558.
The Sea Scout, a biplane fighter with a top speed of 138mph, was flown in the past by Leuchars' own 111 (Fighter) Squadron.
Compare this with the new Typhoon jet fighter which has a top speed of 1480mph - twice the speed of sound - and will soon become a familiar sight in the skies above north east Fife at Leuchars prepares for the arrival of 6 Squadron in autumn 2010.
It will be the first of three Typhoon squadrons to be based there.
The Polish Air Force will put the MiG-29 Fulcrum, one of the best known Soviet-era fighters, through its paces tomorrow and the Dutch and Belgian F-16s will again be displayed in the air to good effect.
Other displays will include the Falcons parachute team and, of course, the RAF's famous Red Arrows in their nine red Hawks will demonstrate the art of (very) close formation flying.
Some 100 years of naval aviation history will be celebrated with a display by the Royal Navy Historic Flight and the RN's Black Cats helicopter display team.
The interactive zone will enable visitors to meet service personnel and try their hands at some of the trade skills, as well as seeing for themselves the work being carried out by aIr force personnel deployed in Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands.
The airshow will close with a sunset ceremony featuring the RAF Leuchars Pipes and Drums.
source: Fife Herald, Friday, September 10, 2009.
By Mike Rankin.