RAF EAST KIRKBY 2012 Reportby Dave Walker, All Photographs were provided by Neil Hutchinson.
former WW2 bomber base which was home to Lancaster squadrons 57 & 603 Group
It had to happen !!!! After a long spell of unseasonably good weather in March, the weather gods decided that it was time for a change. The week before the event saw temperatures plummeting and a forecast not too conducive to a weekend of flying. With snow in many parts of the country was this really the start of Spring? Still, as is the case with LMA events, it was business as usual and in the words of the immortal Morecambe and Wise “Always look on the bright side of life.”
Arriving on Thursday, the omens looked a little better with some promise of reasonable weather on the Saturday and Sunday but with a big question mark against Monday.
East Kirkby is one of those venues the LMA visit in a season that, to me, has a very tranquil feel to it and a very friendly and laid-back atmosphere. It is also very sobering when you look at some of the reminders of the losses and commemorative plaques on the trees around the site. Of course, the adjoining chicken farm does, at times, give the location that certain “Je ne sais quoi” Friday was, as usual, a busy day getting caravans and traders booked in, the flying area set-up and a whole host of other unseen jobs finalised. The afternoon gave time for some flying and blowing away the cobwebs of the winter layoff.
With Saturday being the first public day the signs were good and, although a little grey, the wind was light and most of all it was dry, although “B—dy cold. With 50 transmitters booked in the scene was set for hopefully a good day. Proceedings kicked off at 09-45 with the usual pilots briefing by “Flug Kapitan” John C. Following the briefing and pilots deciding their own flying slots there was a rare sign of pilots actually lining up in the ready box to get in their flights. The initial surge however continued throughout the day and many flights were logged and, satisfyingly, no incidents were recorded. I have not picked out any specific models or flights as they all added in their own way to the spectacle of the show.
Sunday was a non-public day, so it just gave everyone the opportunity to chill out and enjoy flying and testing models. The first test-flight to take place was that of the ½ scale Jungmeister built by David Bell and flown by Dave Johnson. This turned out to be incident free and an excellent flight followed. Some minor problems were encountered, but we all look forward to seeing this model on the show circuit in the near future. The same cannot be said for the second model to have its first flight. The weather now was, to say the least, inclement when Pat Dare fired up his new WW1 low wing monoplane. This gave us all some heart-stopping moments before finally landing after two circuits. Luckily, no damage sustained but certainly a model which needs a little more thought before any further flights. Unfortunately, I have no more details on this model, but perhaps Pat would like to put together a short article for a future edition of the Journal as it was an interesting beast. Finally, rounding off the day, we were treated to the proving flights of the B29 brought back to life by Ken McCormick. This has had a major refurbishment with new engines and a radio system upgrade to 2.4 Ghz. With Andy Johnson on the sticks the push was on to get its mandatory flying time completed. The tests were successful with Andy completing the last flight just before dusk. This will, as with the models of David Bell and Pat Dare, become in time another great addition to the LMA show circuit.
The highlight of the day was provided by Den and the Lincolnshire crew in 2 episodes. Firstly, the waft of fresh bacon sandwiches at breakfast and followed, at lunch, by what appeared to be a never ending supply of sausage, burgers and black pudding with all of the trimmings. Ahh! – cholesterol and calories what more could a person ask.
But on Monday the bubble burst and the second public day was blighted by persistent precipitation and wind. So, unfortunately, no flying took place and many decided on an early departure. The only plus side of the inclement weather was that it gave the pilots a chance to look around the excellent museum and watch and listen to the taxi runs of “Just Jane”. The 4 Merlins in the Lancaster on full song still, for me, send a shiver down the spine no matter how many times I hear them and I can only imagine the glorious sound of squadrons taking-off during the war….
So ended East Kirkby 2012, a relaxing weekend, some excellent flying but not ideal weather – now when have we seen that in the past?
Please click image to enlarge.
The first LMA flying event of the season was held at East Kirkby once again over the Easter bank holiday weekend. The home of Lancaster “Just Jane” which does regular taxy runs.
Andy Johnson’s Lancaster bomber kick of the show with a demonstration of how they used the bouncing bomb in the dam buster raids. much to the delight of the crowds.
Although East Kirkby is very much a warbird theme it is not all warbirds as in this case with Dave Johnson’s 60% Bleriot this plane always seem to be a hit with the members of the public.
Mike Eccles trying to imitate an American bird dog with a sky 120, you are not fooling anybody there Mike. Brian Rawcliffe, delightful Chipmunk and finally the 1938 King’s Cup winner Mew Gull, Keith Poulter.
Hanriot HR1, this stunning model belongs to Mick Wood’s and as you can see Neil has captured it in all its glory, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Richard Scarbrough, always makes a point of coming to East Kirkby, what ever the weather here is Richard’s P-47 TARHEEL HAL beating up the sky
Another one of Mike Jackson’s beasts is back on the show circuit the formidable ME 109 now owned by Ken Richie and flown by Dave Johnson.
The Gee Bee man himself Glen Masters showing us he doesn’t only fly racers, this is Glen’s beautiful Texan.
Chris Willis from the Baldock mob (who all had far to much fun over the weekend, I think we better keep them south of the border) on finales with his Typhoon.
Phil Robertshaw put on another fine display with the now very familiar 17ft B17 Day’s Pay. Phil left it near the barriers at the start of the day as the public was gathering.
Ian Turney-White was out in force with his new Hanriot and his old Sopwith Tabloid, both are impressive models.
Phil Robertshaw’s Hurricane, did a fantastic display, it was just short of its partner the Spitfire. Still it was nice to see this rare warbird.
This Beautiful Sea Vixen didn’t go unnoticed, it was flown by Andy Johnson, and the owner is George Firth.
Richard Scarbrough’s L49 also turned heads as it few though the sky like a missile, the sound of a jet engine starting up doesn’t half make them come running to have a look.
So there you have it for another year, I have to say now that this is on the show calendar it has become one of the most popular early events ever. Apologies if your plane didn’t make it on here as I was overwhelmed with pictures from Neil as usual, but all is not lost there are more shows to come.
Shop online with the LMA
For event tickets, merchandise and more visit our online shop.