As the National Museum of Flight is far away from the main centres of aviation in the UK, many aircraft have to make the journey up on the Friday before the show. For those that read my blog posts last year, you’ll recall my comments about the complications of running an airshow when the aircraft come from a different locations. Well, this year things are different. Aircraft are coming from three different locations: Edinburgh Airport, RAF Leuchars and the small strip at Archerfield. This has caused a coordination plot of devilish complexity, but with time in hand I think I’ve got it sorted– I’ve got a few more grey hairs as well, but never mind, no one will notice the difference, and I think we’ll have a display to remember.
One of our more unusual items is the airship. Unfortunately there aren’t any rigid airships left in the UK any more, so we’re having a hot air airship built by Lindstrand, a world class balloon manufacturer based in Shropshire. We have the actual craft that was used in the Top Gear programme some time ago, with a small caravan as the control car. The caravan is now in a museum in southern England, so the ship has a normal control car fitted; I think it will be an impressive sight, motoring around the National Museum of Flight before the display proper starts. I have put it on prior to the display as, in the words of one of my team, airships don’t go away quickly. As the ship only flies at about 20 knots, we have to ensure he’s safely out of the way before we put another aircraft on the display line, so he will be flying around, visible from miles away, setting the scene and the tone for the day as people arrive.
I think that’s it for today. Hopefully now the plan is fully formed, set in concrete and ready to go– who am I kidding? I’ve been in this business for years and the plan always changes at the last minute. At Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) last week we were re-writing the flying programme as it happened!