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Old Buckenham Airshow to still go ahead this summer

PUBLISHED: 16:51 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 26 March 2020

The bright yellow Staggerwing in flight - there are less than 100 flight-ready versions anywhere in the world. Picture: Nick Butcher/Archant

The bright yellow Staggerwing in flight - there are less than 100 flight-ready versions anywhere in the world. Picture: Nick Butcher/Archant

Archant © 2018

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, The Old Buckenham Airshow will still take place later this year – and its line-up is better than ever.

Crowd-pleasing Boein B-17 'Sally B'. Picture: Steve Adams/ArchantCrowd-pleasing Boein B-17 'Sally B'. Picture: Steve Adams/Archant

The largest and most ambitious calendar of events will take place at Old Buckenham Airfield this year after it was announced that its award-winning airshow will still take place.

While the coronavirus pandemic has caused many events to be cancelled, not just in our region but across the country, airfield manager Matt Wilkins is keen to the see Old Buckenham Airshow go ahead.

“For obvious reasons we have had to move a couple of our earlier events around but, as it stands, the airshow is still very much on,” he says.

“The VE75 weekend we had planned has now been amalgamated into the airshow programme in August and while our priority will always be the health and wellbeing of our visitors, at the moment, we don’t see any reason to cancel.”

There will be plenty to see on the ground, too, with classic cars. Picture: Steve Adams/ArchantThere will be plenty to see on the ground, too, with classic cars. Picture: Steve Adams/Archant

The airshow is due to take place on Saturday, August 1-Sunday, August 2 and is set to be the biggest event to date, with a total of 20 air displays planned on each day and big band music from the Dave Pearce Orchestra.

Over the years, the event in Old Buckenham has become one of the largest and most diverse airshows of its kind in the UK. Up to 35 aircraft are expected to take to the sky over the weekend and, on the ground, there will be even more space than ever, hosting classic cars, a large military display area and a range of traders, charities and local businesses.

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Already, several high-profile aircraft have been confirmed for the event including beloved Sally B, the only Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber still flying outside of the USA.

Like previous years, there will be a large military display area on the ground at this year's Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Steve Adams/ArchantLike previous years, there will be a large military display area on the ground at this year's Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Steve Adams/Archant

For the fourth year in a row, this four-engined American bomber will fly above the airbase in a special commemorative salute to the 79,000 allied airmen who died in the Second World War.

Old Buckenham is also home to two of three examples of Beechcraft Staggerwing in the UK and, for the first time ever, this year’s event will see both in flight together. This is likely to be the first formation of its kind in the country, as Staggerwings in flying condition are incredibly rare – with less than 100 flight-ready across the world.

It wouldn’t be an airshow without the Spitfire MH434, the most famous single-engined aircraft ever made. This Spitfire doesn’t just have a wartime history and an enviable movie career, appearing in A Bridge Too Far, Battle of Britain and The Longest Day, to name a few, but she’s also the only Spitfire to have never been fully restored.

Rarer still is the Hawker Hurricane, a single-seat fighter aircraft responsible for most of the victories during the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. This will also be at the airshow, along with other icons from the era including the Catalina, a twin-engined flying boat which played a vital role in the war against German submarines.

'Sally B' in the air at a previous Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Steve Adams/Archant'Sally B' in the air at a previous Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Steve Adams/Archant

Brand new for 2020 will also be a visit from the Fireflies Aerobatic Display Team, performing some of the most difficult aerobatic manoeuvres possible – all just a few feet from each other, upside down and at more than 200 miles per hour.

Further announcements are yet to be made, but it is expected that more than half of the aircraft and displays will be making their first visit to Old Buckenham in a truly bumper line-up of family-friendly events.

Later on in the year, the airfield will also host a special air display on Saturday, October 3, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Showcasing only those aircraft known to have played a part in the war, the afternoon is planned to offer as many air displays as 2016’s award-winning edition of the airshow.

To find out more, book tickets and stay up to date with the latest news and updates, which are constantly under review, visit the website at www.oldbuckenhamairshow.com


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