Ive been an airshow commentator since 2009, starting with the big one, the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford Without a doubt, Scotlands National Airshow has become one of my favourite jobs since I was first involved in 2011, and Ive not missed one since.
East Fortune favourites
The crowd at East Fortune Airfield has to be the most naturally appreciative Ive come across. This became apparent the first time I commentated in 2011, and that impression has only grown. The genuinely enthusiastic applause for every display item helps give the whole show a really nice ambience and our air traffic controllers never fail to let the participating pilots know their efforts went down so well!
The flying programme is always an excellent mixture of familiar favourites and more unusual acts, with some special formations often thrown in. Ive especially enjoyed some of the international participation.
The chance to visit the National Museum of Flight is a big part of the attraction. Ive been delighted to see the recent hangar redevelopments taking shape and reaching fruition, especially as they contain several rare aircraft you wont see in a museum anywhere else.
While the show includes some of the airshow circuits biggest attractions, like the Red Arrows and the Eurofighter Typhoon, East Fortune Airfield is an intimate setting in which to watch them.
And its a beautiful part of the world the big skies of East Lothian provide a fine backdrop to the displays.
My air display highlights for 2018
The Bristol Blenheim, from the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, is a very appropriate aircraft to see at East Fortune it represents a night fighter version of the type, and Blenheim night fighters were stationed not far away at RAF Drem during wartime. The same operators Hispano Buchón a Spanish-built, Rolls-Royce Merlin-engined version of Germanys Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter is another very interesting aircraft, because 50 years ago this summer it was involved in the filming of the Battle of Britain movie.
The twin-engined Percival Pembroke light transport aircraft isnt something weve seen at East Fortune, at least not since I started commentating at the show. It may look innocuous enough, but Pembrokes were used for some highly clandestine reconnaissance tasks during the Cold War. It also puts on a very flowing display.
A couple of years ago, the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron visited East Fortune for the first time, with its MiG-15 and de Havilland Vampire. This year the two elegant Vampires are in RAF markings, newly applied for the RAFs 100th anniversary year. When watching them, its worth recalling how, 70 years ago, RAF Vampires became the first jet aircraft ever to fly across the Atlantic.
And then, of course, theres the modern-day front-line RAF fighter: the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is so well-known in Scotland. Im sure Ill talk on the day about the RAF 100 celebrations this year, and this very potent aircrafts place in the services modern-day front line.
Farewell to the P-51D Mustang
Everything Ive just mentioned plus, of course, everything else! One other item Id mention, though: this will be Peter Teichmans last appearance at East Fortune, as Peter, one of the airshow circuits most seasoned pilots, has decided to retire from display flying at the end of the 2018 season. His P-51D Mustang display will, therefore, be tinged with an extra bit of emotion. Im sure the crowd will give him a good send-off.
Event programme subject to change.