Despite having received an email asking for volunteers to help with the marshalling, the event that I went to this weekend was completely off my radar. Listening to the Saturday morning Peach Quest I heard that Blackbushe Airport were holding an air show to celebrate 75 years of operations. As this is a short distance away I decided to change my original plans and go to this instead.
The signs for the show directed Wayne to a large carpark away from the airfield. We parked and then was directed to a bus stop where we had to wait for a shuttle bus. Shortly a British Airways bus with lowering suspension and a ramp so it could carry wheelchairs arrived to take us a short distance along the A30 to the airfield.
After we had purchased our tickets we underwent a very thorough security search. Fortunately, the website had said that this was going to happen and I had been through the bag on my wheelchair and removed items which may have raised suspicions such as the toolkit and full set of replacement nuts and bolts in case my chair breaks. On leaving security we were allowed onto the airfield where 1940’s singing could be heard coming from a large stage.
There were plenty of static aircraft to examine before the main displays took place. There was good access to the aircraft, and spectators could get close to the runway to see what was going on as planes took off for their displays. Many of the aircraft that flew over were from the period of the airports early days during the Second World War and the early passenger services when it was a major airport for London until the 1960s. The airport providing a valuable alternative to an early Heathrow when it was fog bound.
Originally the airfield was called RAF Hartford Bridge and Spitfires were based here in the run-up to D-Day. There was a fly-by by a blue example which was specially developed for aerial reconnaissance. Unarmed it could fly at a very high altitude and was the fastest Spitfire that was built.
On the ground, I could get close to the Pitts biplane which was very colourful and it looked amazing when it did its display later in the day. There was also other entertainment and refreshments available to make it a very enjoyable day. There are pictures available in the gallery
There was a very positive attitude to disabled visitors with the web site explain what was not possible (for example “this footpath is not suitable for wheelchairs”) rather than stating what was possible. Parking and the shuttle bus was excellent and getting around the site was very easy and flat. Tickets were £25 on the door but well worth it.