Norfolk airfield set for trip back to 1940s for heritage air festival

PUBLISHED: 16:43 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 July 2012

Boeing B17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B' will be flying at the Tibenham Heritage Air Festival.

Boeing B17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B' will be flying at the Tibenham Heritage Air Festival.

Archant © 2005

A former second world war airfield will take a trip back to the 1940s for a airshow to mark the 70th anniversary of the ‘friendly invasion’ of American airmen in Norfolk.

The Tibenham Heritage Air Festival will take place on Sunday, July 8 and will feature more than two hours of flying displays from a host of vintage aircraft.

Organisers from the Norfolk Gliding Club are hoping more than 5,000 people will visit the airfield at Tibenham, near Diss, which was home to the American Eighth Air Force and 445th Bomb Group during the second world war.

The air display marks the 70th anniversary of American operations during the war and a USAF bomber will be back on the ground at Tibenham to mark the occasion.

The famous B17 Sally B, which, together with an escort of two P51 Mustangs, will provide a memorable sight, in the air and on the ground for the air festival.

Organiser Eric Radcliffe said it had been almost 40 years since the airfield staged a similar event.

“The residents of Tibenham could be excused for thinking they are in a time warp in July with roads blocked with military tanks and vehicles and bombers and fighters flying over their heads.” “We wanted to do something special on the 70th anniversary and we want to raise some funds for our runways, which are in need of maintenance, and for Care for Life,” he said.

The former Liberator base and the second world war home of Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart, will welcome the Hardwick War Birds Collection with two P51s, the Harvard, Stearman and the Auster on July 8.

The Aerostars, with their six Yak 50s, will provide a display. Other acts include a Douglas DC3, both in the air and on static display along with the Grace Spitfire, Bucker, Glider and tug, Pitts, model aircraft flying and lots of other historic and aerobatic aircraft.

Mr Radcliffe said the air show promised to be “spectacular” and would put Tibenham on the map.

On the ground, there will be displays of Lotus historic F1 racing cars, military vehicles, police dog handling, model aircraft display, vintage and classic cars, aviation artefacts, trade stands, food and refreshments.

Organisers have pledged to give 20pc of profits to local charity Care for Life at Home to help Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich.

The air festival will be open from 10.30am to 7pm. Tickets are £10 in advance for adults, £5 for under 16s, and children under 6 get in for free.

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