Biggin Hill AirShow 2008
Well, you lucky people, its been a while has'nt it; What have you all been up to then? (He asks expectantly, seriously thinking that someone might actually have been looking into this website!! So, in answer to the thousands of inquiries.........(well one, actually), I have been very busy, trying not to teach driving, but, instead, pretending to be a photographer. You see its much easier to look like a competent taker of photographs when one has a large expensive camera such as a Canon Eos; especially when you have a comparatively large zoom lens attachment. (A 70 - 300 mm Tamron zoom lens actually). Now does,nt that sound impressive? Well it would, if I actually knew what it really meant!
My longsuffering wife, you remember, the young Chris, has been regularly informed that "I really want to go to the Biggin Hill AirShow, this year". I think she was actually quite glad when I did, because it stopped all the inane chatter, and gave her some blessed respite from me snapping everything from her reading the paper, to pairs of empty mugs . For a week before, I was checking the weather forecasts before making the final decision to go, and I had asked Martin as well, but when, the day before, I was unreliably informed by the London weather centre, (you know, the foremost forecasting service in the world,) that it was going to rain, I decided not to risk it.
The morning of Saturday 7th June dawned with glorious sunshine, just as the forecast had not predicted. After trying, unsuccessfully to contact Martin, I set off, just to see what might happen. And, three miles from Biggin Hill, with the sun still blazing down, I reached the start of a queue stretching from Keston to Biggin Hill. To cut a long story short, ("thank God for that I hear you say"), I reached the airport perimeter after an hour of stop/start traffic; and yes, you guessed right again, with the sun still blazing down.
As I strode from the car park into the showgrounds, past numerous parked aeroplanes, proudly displaying my new camera, freshly fitted with the prominent zoom lens, the first person I noticed who had a camera, was also proudly showing off a bigger camera with an even bigger zoom lens!! So large, in fact, that it needed its own bloody carrying handle!
Lockheed F16d Danish Airforce.
Now most of my family know that I am a self confessed anorak, but I soon realised that I was in very good company. Many of the spectators at the show had obviously experienced the same weather forcasting bloopers that I had............all weather gear, tents, folding chairs, thermos flasks, binoculars....the lot! These folk were in for the entire experience, come rain, shine, blizzard, storm, tsunami, whatever. So, I jumped straight in with them and started snapping away at anything that resembled a plane. Loving every minute of it. In fact I took around 450 pictures over the 5 hours that I was there, .....................WHAT?
Great stuff on sale as well; just what any respectable aviation anorak would need......ex Polish Airforce underwear, limited edition prints of any and all aeroplanes right back to the 14th century, used oil pressure gauge from a Brazillian light aircraft, circa 1972. Tempted though I was to purchase these items, I limited my spending to a seriously hefty hotdog and a 12 litre Grolsch lager, served in a very thin plastic glass; I had to tear myself away from a display of Indian helicopters to partake of these delights, but I think it was worth it.
Now for those of you who don't know, the advantages of DSLR cameras are legion, or so I am told. I found out very fast that all of the settings and adjustments available to me were the very ones I did'nt, as yet, really understand. Consequently I managed to get about fifty accepatable photo's! Ah well, I'll do better next time.
By the way, did I mention that, as I entered the show, the clouds did start to gather, which kind of made the photo's a bit more tricky to capture? Well, thats my explanation anyway.
I am quite proud of a few of my photo's, however, this being one of them. The display by A Spitfire and P51 Mustang was pretty impressive and a couple of low 400mph passes enable me to grab some respectable shots. The term 'Little friends' was coined by the crew of B17 flying fortresses when they had the protection of fighters for a small part of their missions over enemy territory.
A couple more from this display.
I must admit that, although I enjoyed wandering around, not entirely aimlessly, by myself, thereby enabling me to snap, resnap, delete reset and snap again several hundred times; it would have been more enjoyable to go with a mate. Still, the day was great, and I can't wait for next year; or the next airshow; probably Duxford in Cambridgeshire.
Not only aircraft and all things aviation were present; also some vintage cars. A Ford Anglia circa 1963, a Ford Zodiac and many others. Are these really vintage then? So what does that make me?
The most frustrating thing about the day was the fact that I had to leave early; mainly because I remember as a kid spending about three hours trying to exit the packed car park at the close of the show; that was in 1966/67. So I could'nt bear the thought of that and more in modern day Airshow carpark. So, my choice, but it did mean I missed the Battle of Britain memorial flight and combat display by RAF Tornado's.
But never mind.
Thats about it for this page, I think. Just a quick glimpse of a U.S. Mcdonnell Douglas F86 Sabre, which saw combat in the Korean war. I converted this to Black and white plus a slight sepia tint......good eh?