Airshow returns with top-flight line-up

Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones flying through a hangar in 2015 at 185mph

Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones flying through a hangar in 2015 at 185mph - Credit: Red Bull Matadors

Old Buckenham’s award-wining airshow returns in late July with a fantastic line-up of debut displays 
and old favourites.

After the disappointment of having to cancel the Old Buckenham Airshow last year, the organisers are over the moon to be able to announce plans are well underway for 2021. After 10 years of waiting, the line-up includes the arrival of the greatest aerobatic formation duo in history for their debut at Norfolk’s only airshow. 

This isn’t the longest wait that pilots Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones have endured, however, because in 2015 they ended an 88-year moratorium on the most dangerous and exhilarating stunt in aviation... flying through a building.  

As part of the Red Bull Matadors team, Paul and Steve flew an Xtreme Air carbon fibre aerobatic plane in formation at 185mph through a hangar! 

While doing so, Paul was looking where he was going, Steve on the other hand was simply looking over at Paul. No one had attempted to fly though a building since the late 1920s in the name of entertainment - not even James Bond (the scenes in Octopussy used a scale model on a stick being propelled by a Jaguar E Type). Paul and Steve are the only human beings in history to do so in formation.  

Event organiser Matt Wilkins said: “Old Buckenham’s Hangars have a slight issue - they only have doors at one end. So you won’t see the greatest formation pilots on Earth repeat their feat, but what you will see is simply stunning aerobatic flying from a multiple Red-Bull Champion and his 747 Captain wingman (who also taught himself how to fly in formation).  

“This long-awaited coup is just one of a long list of aircraft, pilots and teams not seen at Old Buckenham in the 10 years since the airshow was re-born.” 

The Turbulent Team flying in the colours of the Early Learning Centre

The Turbulent Team flying in the colours of the Early Learning Centre Turbulent Team - Credit: Turbulent Team

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Guaranteed to please kids of all ages from two to 102 are the Turbulent Team. Proudly flying, as they put it, in the ‘Colours of the Early Learning Centre’, this team of four tiny, brightly coloured, French open topped aircraft are consistently accused of stealing the show thanks to their antics. 

A Turbulent flying under a limbo before embarking on a flour bombing run

A Turbulent flying under a limbo before embarking on a flour bombing run Turbulent Team - Credit: Turbulent Team

 

“Flour-bombing runs, followed by the popping of balloons is always fun (unless you have to clean it up afterwards) and the team are permitted to fly as low as three feet from the ground,” said Matt. “This is unusual, to say the least, but it’s the only way they’re able to get under the Limbo, held up by two extremely brave volunteers.” 

The aircraft industry these days is dominated by America for the most part, which is just fine because Old Buckenham was built for American B-24 Bombers. This year, however, a major British milestone is celebrated (albeit a year late); the centenary of the legendary DeHavilland aircraft company.  

“We’re able to mark this moment in some style with the arrival of the Tiger Nine; a formation of nine Tiger Moths (close your eyes, imagine a biplane: it’s probably a Tiger Moth),” said Matt. “There are so many of them a special Apron has been commissioned to park them. We’ve also arranged for a true first - a formation of three of DeHavilland’s greatest machines: Dragon Rapide, Beaver and Chipmunk, the first known mix of three very different aircraft, ranging from an airliner to an RAF trainer.” 

The future of display flying is represented by James Hepnar, making his debut in a highly capable Extra aerobatic aircraft. Also, for the first time ever, a German Fieseler Storch will visit.  

A picture of the Boeing Flying Fortress Sally B flying

Boeing Flying Fortress Sally B, the only airworthy B-17 outside of the US, will make her fifth consecutive visit to the Old Buckenham Airshow John Allan - Credit: John Allan

They’ll join a roster which includes old favourites. The show is headlined by the magnificent Sally B, the only airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress outside of the US, and guest of honour will be her amazing operator, Elly Sallingboe, who has kept this four-engine memorial to the 79,000 allied airmen who died in the Second World War flying for 45 years.  

“With half the roster left to announce, we can also reveal that the most famous single-engine aircraft in the World, Spitfire MH434, will return, and we’ve not even started to cover all the amazing things to see and do on the ground, all of which made the Old Buckenham Airshow the winner of the Family Tourism Event of the Year award at the EDP Hoseasons Tourism Awards in 2016. 

The Old Buckenham Airshow will take place over three days from Friday, July 30 to Sunday, August 1. For more information visit www.oldbuckenhamairshow.com

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