Eyes to the skies in Norfolk for airborne history and spectacle at Old Buckenham Airshow

A P-51 Mustang (left) and Spitfire MkIX performs at the Old Buckenham Airshow.
Picture: Simon Parke

A P-51 Mustang (left) and Spitfire MkIX performs at the Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

Flypasts will include familiar wartime sight the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B', Hurricane, Spitfire and Mustang together with aerobatics displays and more this weekend.

Crowd-pleaser, Old Buckenham Airshow 2016 keeping people entertained in the air on on the ground. Ph

Crowd-pleaser, Old Buckenham Airshow 2016 keeping people entertained in the air on on the ground. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

All eyes to the skies this weekend as the annual Old Buckenham Airshow touches down and this year's event is set to be even bigger and better.

Held July 29-30, the line-up for the family friendly show includes the big four of the air show world with the iconic Hurricane, world famous Mk. IX Supermarine Spitfire, the P-51 Mustang, and, possibly stealing the weekend, the famous Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 'Sally B'.

Gathering the Spitfire and Hurricane is impressive enough for an airshow; adding the actual Memphis Belle superstar bomber Sally B and the gut-shaking, roaring P-51 Mustang promises an extra special spectacle.

B17 Sally B will be a highlight at this year's Old Buckenham Air Show. Picture: Simon Finlay

B17 Sally B will be a highlight at this year's Old Buckenham Air Show. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant Norfolk

When Old Buckenham was a wartime base to B-24's, the B-17 would have been a familiar sight in the skies.


You may also want to watch:


So the return of such evocative symbol of the wartime servicemen of the United States in the skies above the south Norfolk airfield was a hugely popular with crowds at last year's show, says airfield manager Matt Wilkins. He was determined to make it happen again.

Old Buckenham waited for decade to get a four-engine bomber to the air show skies and the Sally B stole the show when it finally roared overhead. 'We're very glad we don't have to wait another 10 years. 'Sally B' will display on Sunday,' he said.

Wildcat Aerobatics pilots Willie Cruickshank and Al Coutts. Picture: Chris Taylor Photography

Wildcat Aerobatics pilots Willie Cruickshank and Al Coutts. Picture: Chris Taylor Photography - Credit: Archant

Most Read

He points out that it's rather fitting to have her back at a place created for an American four-engine bomb group.

While Old Buckenham was a wartime base to B-24's, the B-17 would have been a familiar sight in the skies during the war.

She is the only four engine Second World War US Bomber flying in Europe. The time, effort and money to keep a 'Castle in the Sky' flying is a feat which anyone would find impossible, he says. But Sally B's keeper, Elly Sallingboe, doesn't accept impossible, adds Matt.

One of the pilots at last year's record breaking Old Buckenham Airshow Photo: Steve Adams

One of the pilots at last year's record breaking Old Buckenham Airshow Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

'For four decades Elly [for whom Sally is named] and her small team have managed to keep this icon flying. Keeping a 25 tonne, 4,800 horsepower, four engine, 287mph fortress in the air is impossible, yet Elly and her Duxford-based team have kept Sally in the air and stealing the show for over 40 years.'

Also at this year's show is Otto the helicopter which will be in the adventurous hands of Brendan O Brien, a legendary display pilot known for heart-in-the-mouth, did you really just do that barnstorming-type displays.

Otto is not only the peregrine of the helicopter world for manoeuvrability and sheer flying ability, but he's an aircraft with a sense of humour too. Watch him spin, swirl, twirl and actually play with a yo-yo in the hands of Brendan O'Brien.

Crowd-pleaser, Old Buckenham Airshow 2016 keeping people entertained in the air on on the ground. Ph

Crowd-pleaser, Old Buckenham Airshow 2016 keeping people entertained in the air on on the ground. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

If that's not enough of Brendan's flying skills, Brendan will be aiming another of his aircraft at the surprisingly tiny bed of a truck, trying to land as it's driven along the Old Buckenham runway in front of the crowds.

He tried it before at Old Buckenham a couple of years ago, with somewhat nail biting results, so what will happen this time?

Other aircraft displays will feature the Yak52 to the Beechcraft Staggerwing and outstanding aerobatics from the likes of the Wildcats and Vans RV8.

Pilot Brendan O'Brien will bring his Flying Circus to this year's Old Buckenham Airshow. The newest

Pilot Brendan O'Brien will bring his Flying Circus to this year's Old Buckenham Airshow. The newest addition to the circus is Otto the helicopter who will be making his East Anglian airshow debut. Picture: O'Brien's Flying Circus - Credit: Archant

Meanwhile ground-based attractions include hundreds of classic cars, wartime re-enactors and displays, the 453rd Bombardment Group Museum and the new 8th Airforce Gallery, a Hangar Dance, funfair, as well as stalls, food and drink.

There is also the chance to hop in the cockpit of Sim Fly a unique flying simulator that will let you recreate the battles of the First World War with you at the controls. It's a chance to find out just how tricky flying can be!

• Old Buckenham Airshow, Old Buckenham Airfield, July 29-30, 10am-5pm, tickets from £12, under-12s free, full details at www.oldbuckenhamairshow.co.uk

The Wildcats in the skies at the Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Wildcats in the skies at the Old Buckenham Airshow. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter