Luqa Airport and St Paul's Bay, Malta 23-24th September 2023 Report by Peter & Kim Davison This biennial gathering on a Mediterranean island was disrupted by Covid so had not been held since 2018; hence the local population was ready and waiting in large numbers, particularly with advanced notice that the RAF Red Arrows would grace their skies. With the commercial airport now busier than ever, particularly with low cost carriers, only the static display was held at the airport with an afternoon flying display to the north at St Paul's Bay providing a free show for coast lovers. Sadly, due to extreme winds and concerns for a maritime rescue should there be an incident, the Sunday display had to be cancelled.
Popham Airfield, Hampshire, UK, 18-20th August 2023 Report by Peter & Kim Davison & Colin Coulthard This eagerly awaited event is the annual gathering for microlight and homebuilt aircraft from around the United Kingdom. Although the early weather forecast looked fine a wind and rain event scuppered arrivals on the Friday but had blown through by Saturday lunchtime. Around 150 visiting aircraft arrived followed by nearly a hundred on Sunday.
RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, 14-16th July 2023 Report by Peter Davison & Colin Coulthard Reputed to be the largest military airshow in the world RIAT certainly lived up to its name this year. Compared to the dry sweltering heat of 2022 the weather this year was disappointing; Friday was almost totally washed out with severe wind and continuous heavy rain, the Saudi display team being the only significant fliers. Saturday and Sunday also had frequent heavy showers but the sun shone occasionally. With numerous surface attractions with some shelter the crowds still came and enjoyed this amazing spectacle.
Turweston Aerodrome, Buckinghamshire, 9th July 2023 Report by Peter & Kim Davison The British Grand Prix is held at Silverstone Circuit and, as the event grows in status and popularity, the road closures and parking restrictions have increased to a point where dawn departures and extreme patience are needed to attend as a spectator. No doubt inflated hotel prices also limit bookings to those 'on the payroll' of sponsors or contributing teams. The need for a local helicopter shuttle has therefore increased to a point where circuit management of an aerial kind is required. The airfield at Turweston, headquarters of the UK LAA (Light Aircraft Association) provides the main base; particularly on race day itself.
Le Bourget, Paris, France 18-25 June 2023 Report by Peter Davison & Colin Coulthard This spectacular showcase of world aviation, returning after the pandemic, never fails to impress. This year just arriving on time was an issue with almost no car parking due to a new rail station being constructed on site for the upcoming Olympic Games. Once there though there was ample reward for the effort. The environment was centre stage with new initiatives and stories of the potential impact on the industry of electric power, new materials and fuels struggling to 'make a difference'. This had no effect on airline orders with massive contracts announced for over 700 new airliners for delivery well into the 2030s.
Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton, UK, 8-10th June 2023 Report by Peter Davison This annual festival was slightly lower on attendance than previous years. The forecast was for 700 visiting aircraft but less than half arrived and almost none stayed overnight. The hot weather and breezy conditions may have affected Thursday and Friday and thunderstorm warnings, that came to nothing, reduced the Saturday numbers.