Sadly it seems this will be the last year that the Vulcan will be flying. I've seen it before at the Shoreham air-show, and when we lived nearby we'd see it over the house too - and my Son would run down the garden and up the climbing frame to see it. So hearing it was to be at the Eastbourne air-show today we decided to head over.
It really is a magnificent beast, even flying slowly at low altitude, with a deep roar from the engines and a haunting howl from the intakes.
Getting to the air-show was rather traumatic, as apparently everyone else had the same idea. Eastbourne is less than an hour away normally, but today it was two hours until we'd got into the town, and another hour before we'd managed to find a car-park that wasn't already full and walked the mile and a half to the display area. (the "ride" part of park and ride had a long queue, and at least we could see the planes while walking). Perhaps the numbers were greater than expected, but I'm sure more temporary car-parks, better signage - with electronic signs to guide traffic to where the spaces are, and keeping traffic away from pedestrians and buses, would make it all run more smoothly.
The long trek, and squeezing onto the packed beach, was worth the effort though, as the displays were superb. The Navy gave a demonstration of the Sea King (also in it's last year) dropping men onto the lifeboat, then picking them up again.
No air-show is complete without a Spitfire of course, and though no Lancaster today we did have a Hurricane, Mustang, Blenheim, and Dakota. We missed the Chinook and only glimpsed the wing-walkers while stuck in traffic, but saw the Typhoon, Hawks, and other jets and stunt planes, even paratroops. It really was one display following another. The best performance though was undoubtedly the Red Arrows.
I'd never seen them before, though of course they are well known for putting on a spectacular display. It's amazing how nine planes and a bit of smoke can keep a crowd of thousands oohing and aahing for 25 minutes! Fantastic choreography and truly superb flying skills.
So a great display, and well worth the very long trip there (and getting back wasn't much shorter). There a a few more pictures here. We'll miss the Vulcan in future - but we have to say a big thanks to all those that work to put on these displays, and keep old planes like the Vulcan, and the Battle of Britain flight, in the air for as long as possible.