RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day 2017
There are a few air shows that go on around the UK in the summer time. I mainly turn up to RIAT as this is the most popular one. However, i wanted to give it a miss this year as it just gets too busy nowadays. One of the reasons for not going was having to fight your way to see some action on the runway. In fact, someone almost started a fight near me. This person who was getting a little heated had enough equipment on a trolley to carry space to occupy three people on the line. I really do not understand it, i bet most of the kit taken along was not used either. But still he insisted on hogging the area whilst continuing to give people the dagger eyes in the vicinity.
I did see the funny side though but just thought I would introduce this to the beginning of my visit to RNAS Yeovilton, just call it an ice breaker.
Anyway, going back to RNAS Yeovilton. I had a delightful time here. I opted for a grandstand seat which is probably the same price as a regular ticket for RIAT. There is about five to six hours worth of live displays featuring many planes and helicopters from all eras. RNAS Yeovilton is home to Royal Navy aircraft including the Army. As you can imagine, its’s a bustling base.
RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day Shows on the Ground
Along with displays in the air, there were also plenty of exhibits on the ground to keep spectators entertained while waiting for the next display. A field gun competition was held three times over the course of the day. A vehicle exhibition with top marque cars was displayed. Hangars were also used to show some of the more older craft that can no longer fly, including bands and choirs. Also in another hangar was a technology area for youths to learn how the Navy use their technology in the hope of perhaps recruiting them one day.
The fleet air arm museum was also open to visitors with a 50% discount entrance fee. I wanted to visit the museum but time was against me by the time the show has finished. I will be attending the museum in 2018.
Aircraft at RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day 2017
Below is a list of some aircraft that were either on flying or static display. All the images are in low resolution; the originals have a more firm resolution and quality.
A basic trainer craft of Soviet origin that has four or five seats.
Another Russian trainer plane.
Currently in use by the Army Air Corp, it is a powerful attack helicopter capable of holding its own.
Used by the Polish Navy, the M-28B1R Bryza is a utility craft first flown in 1969 and based on the Antonov’s An-28 utility aircraft.
The NH90 NFH is in use by the Royal Netherlands Navy as a multi-mission maritime helicopter. In use since 1995, its various roles include anti-submarine & anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, surveillance including others.
F-16AM Fighting Falcon
In operation since 1974, the F-16AM Fighting Falcon is still regarded as a significant fighting aircraft in the skies today. Various countries around the world use these.
First flown in 1948, the Meteor T7 is based on the Glostor Meteor F4. It mainly saw extensive use as an RAF trainer but was also used by the Royal Navy.
Would you believe it, the Mig-15UTI has been in operation for seventy years. During that time it has been involved in many fields of combat. The version at RNAS Yeovilton is a Polish License built two-seat trainer. The livery is of ‘Red 18’, the famed personal jet for Yuri Gagarin.
The Wasp HAS1, first introduced in 1962. It has seen active service including substantial involvement in the Falklands war. The livery of the helicopter below is from one of these attacking forces in the conflict.
The swordfish is a biplane torpedo bomber first flown in 1934. It was heavily involved during World War Two, helping to sink the Bismark and attack Taranto Harbour. The image below displays a Swordfish 1.
The Wildcat HM2 is the latest generation attack helicopter introduced in 2009. Its role is a multi-mission maritime helicopter.
The Merlin HC3 is a transport helicopter that as been in use since 1987.
Mainly used for training roles, the Hawk T1 has been in service since 1974.
The Sea Vixen made an appearance after its crash at the same location a few weeks previous. It needs a lot of work to get it airborne again. I hope it will be repaired in the future as it was the only airworthy version.
The Whirlwind HAR10 you see below is the only flying version. Throughout its operational life, it was assigned to an air-sea rescue role.
Pitts Special S-25 Muscle
The Pitts Special S-25 Muscle put on an exciting display at RNAS Yeovilton. This plane was first flown in 1945 and still entertains with its incredible acrobatic ability today.
The Merlin HM2 was another variant on display and also in flight. Its primary role is anti-submarine based, but it can also take the task of being transportation, casualty evacuation as well as search and rescue.
The Rafale is the French Navy’s primary choice of aircraft. Introduced in 1991, the Rafale is used in various combat roles and has also seen front-line action.
Summary of RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day 2017
I had a delightful day. There was no congestion around the static displays and viewing the flying displays was great too. It was a hot day also. Seating in the grandstand was proper, although there are times when people need to get up, and everyone has to move, which in turn restricts your view of the display. However, if I were to go again, I would book another place in the grandstand area.
As for walking around RNAS Yeovilton Air Day, it was a pleasurable experience. There were also lots of stands that were helping support charities of all military ranks.