Sights and stunts galore as 60,000 visit Cosford Air Show
Some 60,000 aviation fans descended on RAF Cosford for this year’s much-anticipated air show.
Featuring aircraft from around the world, a six-hour flying display saw stunts from pilots in a number of planes and helicopters, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, Chinooks and aircraft from the German Navy.
The annual event this year focused on two themes: Women in Defence and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) 70th anniversary.
A lifestyle and vintage village highlighted the important role of women in the RAF with reenactments throughout the day, while pilots from NATO member states showcased their country’s finest aircraft alongside each other.
The RAF Falcons Parachute Display launched the event from 12,000ft, before flying displays from about 25 teams, featuring aircraft including the Royal Danish Air Force’s Baby Blue and the RAF Red Arrows, kept the crowds spellbound. The event also saw the retirement from service of the Shorts Tucano T1.
Aircraft from the German Navy and Czech Air Force brought the event to a close, which was this year raising money for the four Royal Air Force charities.
Squad Leader Martin McCaffrey, chief of staff for the event, said: “Our themes were key for the show and as well as the superb displays in the air, the celebrations on the ground have been just as important.
"With the recent opening up of all branches and trades to women in the RAF, we had a great opportunity to celebrate the key role they play in the past and future of the force.
“This links with our other theme of integration with our defence partnerships, where our contributions with NATO and the history of the organisation were celebrated, as well as affirming our future partnership together.”
Rain clears for showstoppers
Following days of downpour that left aviation enthusiasts and event organisers on edge, the rain subsided and sunshine covered the tens of thousands of people attending the 2019 RAF Cosford Air Show.
Despite some being put off by the expected unwelcome weather, crowds turned out in force once again for the annual show to see the mixture of vintage and state-of-the-art aircraft arriving from all over the world.
Taking to the skies at 12,000 feet, the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team kick-started the aerobatic displays at about 11.30am.
Free-falling before deploying his parachute, Sergeant Mike Davies spoke moments after the team hit the drop zone safely on the ground.
He said it has taken him nearly 10 years to make it onto the team.
"It's incredibly intense at first," he said.
"You've got to make sure you're taking the right flight path and it takes your full concentration the entire time.
"You don't have time to look around at the views and see what's going on down below, you've just got to listen to your commander and concentrate.
"With the crowd all around it takes a lot of effort to ensure you don't land on top of one of them."
Among the highlights and returning to the show was the 2019 Chinook Display Team.
Usually carrying up to 55 troops or 10 tonnes of cargo, the 15-ton helicopter danced elegantly above spectators, meandering its way through the clouds before disappearing into the distance.
A special guest appearance from the Royal Danish Air Force's Baby Blue was matched by the Belgian Air Force's Agusta A109, with the roaring Eurofighter Typhoon stealing the show for many.
As well as the spectacle in the sky, a number of planes were grounded for people to hop aboard, speak to their pilots and learn the history behind them.
Cosfood made its first appearance at the show, offering a range of food and drink, alongside a vintage village celebrating this year’s theme of women within the RAF.
There was also the opportunity for members of the public to take to the sky in a helicopter with rides being given throughout the day.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Hangar made its return in 2019, where the engineers of tomorrow met the engineers of today.
A number of commercial displays were fused with an array of RAF exhibitions and demonstrations promoting the best a career in STEM has to offer.
Squad Leader Martin McCaffrey, chief of staff for the event, said: "The RAF Cosford Air Show intends to showcase the best in what the RAF has to offer to people, as well as the incredibly talented pilots, engineers and members of the force we have in our team.
"We hope that this year proves no different."
Epic trek a success
A group of RAF trustees marched more than 100 miles, finishing at the Cosford Air Show, to raise money for an educational children’s playground.
Aerospace engineer Nick Sanders was joined by RAF Cosford Museum ambassador Robin Southwell and trustee Alan Coppin to complete the trek in just four days.
The aviation-themed playground planned at the RAF Cosford museum will include miniature versions of iconic aircraft and act as an educational space for youngsters and their families to visit.
Tired legs and smiling faces made their way onto the airfield in time for the first air display, welcomed by a guard of honour from members of the air force saluting the group’s charitable efforts.
Moments after finishing the walk, Robin Southwell said: “We’ve walked 101 miles in four days and I can now officially tell you, it was incredibly tough. Half of the walk was spent with the rain falling consistently and excessively, however we did it for the right cause. We’ve literally gone that extra mile to increase the facilities and provide greater accessibility for parents to bring their young ones to the museum.
“We’re raising funds for a play area, but a meaningful one where kids can be educated and learn what’s going on around them which is where the emphasis will be.”
The group started at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, before making their way up the middle of the country and finishing at RAF Cosford.
Since the air force’s centenary last year, museum trustees have been trying to build on a recent increase in the number of visitors to the site and attract even more children.
The group of trustees want to raise in the region of £50,000 to £100,000.