Scotland’s National Airshow past and present

With a just over a couple of weeks to go to Scotland’s National Airshow, things are organised and it’s given me a chance to reflect on some past East Fortune moments. I’ve been involved in this event now for seven years, so fond memories have built up over the years at this friendly event.

East Fortune memories

Jim McTaggart flying his Piper J-3 Cub above North Berwick. © Simon Grosset
Jim McTaggart flying his Piper J-3 Cub above North Berwick. © Simon Grosset

Some of the highlights for me include:

  • The first Huey display we had, when our commentator Ben Dunnell said nothing and just played The Doors’, Riders on the Storm over the PA – hair-raising stuff.
  • The slow speed formation flypast of the Swordfish and Sea King.
  • The Norwegian Air Force P3 Orion in 2015. It looked spectacularly large over the site and was very impressive.
  • The visit of the Swiss PC7 team in 2016. This was a truly brilliant display, and the team won the hearts of the whole audience.
Watching another thrilling air display at Scotland's National Airshow © Ruth Armstrong Photography
Watching a thrilling air display at Scotland’s National Airshow © Ruth Armstrong Photography

East fortune hilarities

My memories have also included some funny moments

Every now and then the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will carry out an inspection of a flying display, looking at all aspects of the event and its organisation.  Well, we were being inspected and I’d arranged to meet the inspector at the aircrew flying display briefing, which is carried out at an Edinburgh Airport on the morning of the display.

View of Edinburgh Airport looking across the runway.
View of Edinburgh Airport looking across the runway from the fields beyond.

All the crews were present, and the inspector was waiting in reception.  My team and I parked the car and opened the boot to get the laptop, projector etc. to set up the briefing room – deathly silence as we looked at an empty boot!!

I knew exactly where everything was of course – it was safe and sound where I’d left it, on my bed in Aberlady, 22 miles away and it was 40 minutes to briefing time.  I can’t really describe my feelings – apparently I went a very strange colour.

So, send the team into the hotel to buy the inspector a coffee, back into the car, and back to Aberlady pick up kit, then back to Edinburgh

Twister Aerobatic Team at Scotland's National Airshow in 2013 © Spencer Harbar Photography
Twister Aerobatic Team at Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013 © Spencer Harbar Photography

In the end, the briefing was only 15 minutes late and we got an ‘excellent’ from the CAA.  Not very funny at the time, but hilarious now, especially to my colleagues who watched my face drain of colour.

Scotland's National Airshow crowd during the air display in 2015 © Ruth Armstrong Photography
Scotland’s National Airshow crowd during the air display in 2015 © Ruth Armstrong Photography

Splashing in puddles

The second one concerns a couple of the audience.  We were waiting for the Typhoon to arrive  I think, and as I looked out of the control cabin I saw two small girls, about 5 or 6 years old, who had obviously been bought new wellies.  They very obviously couldn’t care less what aircraft we were waiting for, or even if the display was going to carry on – all they wanted to do was jump up and down in muddy puddles (shades of Peppa Pig – I do have grandchildren) and they were having an absolute ball.  We cater for everybody at the East Fortune show.

The Bristol Blenheim high speed transport and bomber will fly at Scotland's National Airshow 2017.
The Bristol Blenheim high speed transport and bomber will fly at Scotland’s National Airshow 2017.

Air display stars for 2017

We will be presenting another excellent afternoon’s flying for Scotland’s National Airshow 2017.  Once we know what timings the military participants we place them on the display timeline.  They become the fixed points in our air display, around which everything else is built.

The twin-engined transport aircraft is part of Scotland's National Airshow 2017.
The twin-engined transport the Percival Pembroke aircraft is part of Scotland’s National Airshow 2017.

Our air display order will be under wraps until 22 July, when it will be revealed in all its glory in the printed programme. Of course there can be last-minute operation changes out of our control, but at the time of writing in ascending order is this year’s air display line-up:

  • Avro Lancaster
  • BAC Jet Provost Pair
  • Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Sally B
  • Boeing CH-47 Chinook
  • Bristol Blenheim
  • Dornier Do 228-212
  • Eurofighter Typhoon
  • Grob Tutor
  • Hawker Hurricane
  • P-51D Mustang
  • Percival Pembroke
  • Piper J-3 Cub
  • Pitts S-2S Special
  • Red Arrows
  • Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
  • RotorSport UK MT-03 autogyro
  • Supermarine Spitfire
  • Twister Aerobatic Team
  • Westland Wasp
  • Yak-52
North American P-51D Mustang long range fighter and bomber escort is part of Scotland's National Airshow 2017.
North American P-51D Mustang long range fighter and bomber escort is part of Scotland’s National Airshow 2017.

Keep an eye on flying features of our air display stars here: http://www.nms.ac.uk/airshowstars


Book tickets advanced tickets by 5pm on Friday 21 July 2017 and order your copy of the this year’s programme in advance to save time on the day.

Find out all you need to know about Scotland’s National Airshow 2017 at nms.ac.uk/airshow

Event programme subject to change.

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