Wings and Wheels Show 2018 Stow Maries, Essex, UK, 20 May 2018 Report by Peter Davison This fairly recent initiative to re-open a former First World War Aerodrome and feature primarily replica aeroplanes in the context of the period fills a welcome, if belated, gap in UK aviation history. A well displayed Aviation Museum, period buildings and historic vehicles provide an educational insight into life in the early years of aviation.
Wanaka, Otago, South Island, New Zealand 30 March to 1 April 2018 Report by Peter and Kim Davison This biennial airshow is held at Easter, alternating with the themed event at Blenheim Omaka. It has a massive impact in the region fuelling full hotels and adding pressure to nearby cities, particularly the tourist activity mecca of Queenstown. Weather is also a factor as the region is famous for its surrounding mountains and fjords creating a similar but far greener backdrop than Las Vegas, Nevada, home of Red Flag. For thirty years Wanaka has provided a showcase for the considerable restoration expertise in New Zealand. Many world famous warbird collections have Kiwi restorers to thank for prime flying exhibits. There are close links to the New Zealand Warbirds organisation headquartered at Ardmore near Auckland.
Miramar Airshow, San Diego, California 22-24 September 2017 Report by Peter Davison Of all the US West Coast military airshows, the US Marine Corps at Miramar is a must see with only Edwards AFB having similar status. This massive base, well away from public view, is home to the training and attack squadrons of F-18 Hornets and the new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors, backed up by C-130 Hercules and H-53 Sea Stallions. With an aggressive 'can do' Marine Corps mission it was a welcome change to witness an attack demonstration rather than just civilian demonstrations.
54th National Air Races, Reno Stead Airfield, Nevada, USA 16-17th September 2017 Report by Peter and Kim Davison Immortalised by speed lovers worldwide, this famous event polarises the region bringing thousands to this desert city every year. For the first time visitor the secret is to arrive at least three days early when admission is less expensive, competitors and vendors are making ready and the atmosphere builds between trials and heats. This prepares you for the crowds and excitement of the weekend finals.
RSA Gathering, Brienne-le-Chateau, France, 28-30 July 2017 Report by Peter and Kim Davison The 'Rassemblement des Constructeurs Amateurs' represents aircraft homebuilders across France, those amateur fabricators who build their own light aircraft either from kits or completely of their own design. Projects are often completed in their own homes or at local airfields. The RSA provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge, a resource of technical knowledge and guidance on the complex regulations governing the design and operation of light aircraft. This regional gathering offers opportunities for members to share experiences in an informal atmosphere.
MAB 2017, Chambley, France, 21-30 July 2017 Report by Peter and Kim Davison This is now billed as the biggest hot-air balloon gathering in the world. Only Albuquerque, New Mexico comes close. Held every two years, this, the fifteenth such show in the Region of Grand Est, centred near Metz, birthplace of Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier, the world's first aeronaut. This French region has four international borders and over sixteen nations were represented in mass ascents at 0630 and 1830 each day subject to suitable weather conditions.
RIAT 2017, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England 14-16 July 2017 Report by Peter Davison and Colin Coulthard RIAT prides itself on being the largest military airshow in the world and, this year, certainly lived up to that claim. RAF Fairford, being a major US Air Force staging post, was an appropriate venue to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the USAF; the dominant theme of this year's event. The 75th Anniversary of the RAF Regiment was also commemorated. The enhanced USAF participation included the 'Thunderbirds' display team and the rare appearance of all three strategic bomber types; B-52 and B-1 on static display and a rare visit from a B-2 Spirit on the Sunday afternoon.