MILAVIA > Air Shows > RAF Leuchars Airshow 2005 Last updated: 27 July 2011
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Air Show Report : RAF Leuchars Airshow 2005


ROYAL AIR FORCE LEUCHARS AIRSHOW 2005

Report by Des Brennan, all photos by author

RAF Leuchars near St. Andrews is the last operational RAF station hosting a Battle of Britain anniversary airshow. This years event, Airshow 2005, on Saturday 10th. September was dogged by poor weather with continuous rain on Friday for arrivals and a dry but overcast show-day on Saturday.

Like many other events it has become steadily home-reliant for display items and for Airshow 2005 the only non-UK flying was from an F-16AM of the Belgian Air Force, an Alpha Jet from the French Air Force and the unnamed but very proficient Irish Air Corps PC-9 display team making a rare UK appearance.

The Royal Air Force provided displays from the Red Arrows as well as most of their solo display aircraft :- Typhoon, Jaguar, Harrier, Tornado F.3 and GR.4, Tutor, Tucano, Hawk, Hercules, Chinook and Merlin. A unique feature had been planned to pair individual members of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dakota with their current successors in RAF service Typhoon, Harrier, Tornado GR.4, and Hercules but the poor weather prevented the BBMF from travelling north.
However, a set piece Tactical Demonstration, featuring a 100 Sqn. Hawk defender, four Leuchars based Tornado F.3s from 43 and 111 Sqns. on a fighter sweep with a four Lossiemouth based 14 Sqn. Tornado GR.4 ground attack allowing an 18 Sqn Chinook to secure the airfield, did go ahead.
Local participation had been missing for some years from Leuchars events but speaking personally a few fast, frenzied minutes of fast jets, pyrotechnics and thundering afterburner beats twenty minutes of coloured smoke from the Xth. international jet display team of the day.

Warbird flying participation came from Delta Jets with their Yellowjacks scheme Gnat T.1 and 92 and 111 Sqn. marked Hunter T.7s, Scandinavian Historic Flight A-26A and P-51D, ARCo Spitfire FR.XVIII and Caledonian Chipmunks Chipmunk T.10.

International visitors for the static display were a Barksdale B-52H , New Hampshire ANG KC-135R, three F-15C and an F-15E from the 48th. FW at Lakenheath, MH-53M from the 21st. SOS at Mildenhall and a UH-60A from SHAPE representing the United States.
A pair of Dutch F-16BM from 306 and 312 Squadrons; French Mirage 2000D and Alpha Jet; German F-4F, Tornado ECR and C-160D along with a pair of Portuguese Alpha Jets.

The Royal Navy provided a Lynx HMA.8 and an 801 NAS Sea Harrier FA.2 with new Omega tail markings making its final Leuchars appearance while the Army provided a pair of Apache AH.1 making their first.
RAF static participation included the Nimrod and E-3D Sentry along with Typhoon T.1, Harrier GR.7, Tornado GR.4 and F.3 and Canberra PR.7 representing combat aircraft while the Beech 200 of 45(R) Sqn. made its first appearance along with the Dominie, Hawk, Tucano, Tutor, Firefly and Griffin as trainers.
Support Helicopter types included two Pumas, the 230 Tiger striped example and an unmarked 33 Sqn example, and the solo display Merlin.
A BAe125 CC2 of 32 (The Royal) Sqn. in the new Biz Jet colour scheme arrived with VIP guests for the show.
Civilian owned ex-RAF Jet Provost T.3A; ex-Omani Strikemaster; Tiger Moth and light aircraft types completed the static display element.

Barrier placement ranged from an excellent balance allowing clear viewing for casual visitors and enthusiasts to being far too close frustrating both the general public and photographers.
For many years the large aircraft static display has been separated from the smaller types by the usual traders stands etc. but this year the organisers brought the static display together with the market area moved out to the periphery which was a mixed blessing.
While security was obvious it seemed to create few problems for the public although delays in clearing traders meant that many stands were very late in opening. This year the crowd line extended further westwards along the length of the runway allowing better views of the display aircraft ramp and taxiway.
Most of my photography was done from the old Q sheds which complete with airliner steps rigged as a viewing platform hosted the organised Enthusiasts Package for both arrivals and show days.

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Report and photos by Des Brennan ( view portfolio )