In around the year 1988 my friend and I travelled to the back garden of someone in the village of Mildenhall to camp for the weekend. The purpose was to spend the weekend at the Mildenhall airshow, which I had been to before but was important for a few reasons:
- Military aircraft
- Military might
- More planes
When you are a plane nut then airshows are where you get your kicks. I can’t help what I like and planes have troubled me all my life. It’s possibly due to growing up underneath the flight path of Stansted Airport in Essex. It could be because of my dad who was involved in the industry when I was young or it could just be that an aluminium tube filled with people and fuel doesn’t really have any business being six miles up off the ground.
Somehow Alan and I had found the number of someone who lived near a walk-in entrance to RAF Mildenhall [actually a USAF base] and we had booked to camp in her garden. Then, each day of the show we walked in. My memory of the charges is not great but I seem to think we got in for something like £5 each whereas a car for the day was £40. I suspect those prices are wrong given what prices were like in the 80s but I can’t remember. I do know it was dirt cheap to walk in to the show rather than drive.
There’s only a few things I can remember from the airshow. I sort of remember the Blackbird flying, it was a privilidge to see that. I also remember both AB and I watching a helicopter display, possibly an Apache, when it did a form of a wing-over or loop. Both, AB and I were amazed and clapped. There weren’t many who joined in the clapping, only those in the know.
The Red Arrows were there, of course, I I’m not sure if this was before or after I had been to Cyprus, porbably before and so I was still excited by them. The above photograph was beautifully timed by me.
My father must have found the original negatives of these photographs as he has scanned them inot his computer. I suspect there are some more picture lurking in a box somewhere and I’ll have to keep scanning his computer to see what I can find.
Here are some more photographs from those days. They aren’t very good but them photographs weren’t back in the 80s. I wasn’t great with a camera and with only 24 or 36 shots on a reel of film you were very limited in what you could take.
AB and I had a great time at the airshow. It was a really good experience and well worth the camping and entrance fees. I do feel it’s a bit of a shame that the number of airshows has decreased over the years, but these beasts were probably also a show of strength during the cold war. They were interesting times and maybe I should be glad we don’t currently need massive forces to prevent mutual destruction [it feels like it’s heading that was again though].
Addendum: I have had confirmation of aircraft types from a US source:
A7 is indeed an A7D and it will have been a Lynx you saw display rather than an Apache.— Richard O (@richouss) July 25, 2019