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Fly Navy !!!
Every year on the Wednesday before the RIAT the RNAS Culdrose helds ist annual Airday. RNAS Culdrose is located in the west of Cornwall near Helston, only a short hop from Land's End. It is the biggest helicopter base in Europe with its numerous Sea Kings for SAR, transport and anti-submarine missions and revently also got equipped with the Merlin.
Where? Culdrose - UK
Furthermore a lot of future helicopter navigators and pilots get their training at Culdrose, among them also students from foreign countries like Germany.
Despite the quiet small size of this event I planned a visit to the show as I have never seen RN Sea Kings and their other aircraft like the Nimrod flying.The list of participants was impressive as well with an An-26 and a L-39 from Lituhania, that continued to the RIAT the day after the show as many others did as well, and the Frecce Tricolori and the German Navy Tornado Display. Both of them made their long way even only for this show the England.
What seemed to be a promising day began with a nice drive through the pictoresque landscape of cornwall. Approaching Culdrose the clear blue sky has changed to a cloudy gray sky and when I went on deck (on base) people told not to waste any time and to take my photos that day. I was a bit surprised, nevertheless I listened to them and took photographs of the approaching aircraft, some of the rehearsal that were still planned and the static display.
Waking up after a very short night their tip proved to be correct. It was totally grey outside and I could barely see 50 meters… During the night the fog came from the see and even made it impossible to take photos of the static display. Let alone an impossible flight display under these circumstances.
After the flight display was postponed hour after hour the organizers started to rebel and send the Skyraider on the runway which then did a high-speed taxi forth and back the runway with some wing-folding to please the crowd. The same did the 4 Bae Hawks that form the black BAe Hawks. A Sea Harrier from Culdrose was also planned for the flight display and we could hear him arrive, but the pilot did not manage to see the runway, so off he went. The only flight display was a rescue demo of a RN Sea King, it was so good that it was shown twice ;) The Chinook also showed some of his capabilities before he left the airfiled. Same for the Nimrod which taxied down the runway and back before taking off. The display crew at least wanted to try a fly-by, but the same as for the Harrier *rrooaaarrrrr* You can hear it, but you can see it. At the latest now people realised that the day was over and made their way home. For sure with mixed emotions, but I admire their enthusiasm to stay and wait and wait for the weather to clear up. That is one more thing that makes british shows an enjoyment for me.
For my part I have been happy as I have seen something different, brought some nice photos and memories back, had a amusing evening later on with good friends and the prospect to visit Yeovilton the next. Day, but that is another story.
So remember, wherever you go, E N JO Y !!!
The Black Cats
Sea King Rescue Demo
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Published: 16 April 2007