Midlands Air Festival

Report and photography by Iain Ashmore

Friday the 18th May 2018 saw the first Midlands Air Festival being held at Ragley Hall.

The event promised to be like no other and full of colour and did not disappoint on the night.

Another notable arrival was the Westland Wasp XT787 piloted by Terry. The wasp is a first generation jet engine helicopter that has seen active service on HMS Leander and HMS Rhyl. It was built on 10 January 1967. The Westland wasp now displays at airshows around the country. It is a fantastic aircraft and the crew if you are ever lucky enough to meet them are fantastic too.

We were treated to a few arrivals of aircraft with some displaying for the crowds and practicing their routines. There was plenty to do with stalls selling goods and chairs through to the food stalls. I would highly recommend the Yorkshire Wrap if you ever se them, it tasted lovely.

6pm brought on a mass balloon assent which was full of colour and unusual shapes as well as a radio controlled ballon or two, some make you think that they will not fly and the surprise they are up and away, like the motorbike that is 37 metres high and 46 metres wide, has a maximum take of weight 1700kg and fabric weight 562kg. The balloon is flown by Herman Kleinsmit.

Busby the Queens guard was in attendance and it is said to be its only appearance in the UK this year. Here at Air Show UK we believe that Busby is flown on behalf of teen cancer by Paul Burrows.

Another balloon that deserves a mention here is The New Zealand Iwi the Kiwi and flown by Rick Walczak who has over a 1000 flying hours under his belt. The balloon is over 7 stories tall and certainly makes an appearance.

All in all the balloonists worked the crowd fantastically and certainly made for an eventful evening.


The evening moved swiftly on towards flying displays by several aircraft.

The Twister Aerobatic team made an appearance and got the crowd going with the Led lights as well as the fireworks from the plane. The team made the debut display in 2010 and have been going from strength to strength and this show certainly did not disappoint. With the tight turns and the loops you can really see why so many people love their display. It is graceful yet thrilling at the same time.


Otto the Flying helicopter put a fantastic display on that thrilled the crowd. It was fantastic to see fireworks coming off from a helicopter with all the tight turns that was made.  Otto is flown by Brendan O’Brien who has over 13,000 flying hours on over 300 aircraft types. Brendan has also been a commentator in the past.


There was the night lighting of the balloons which if you have never seen one before it is a sight to behold. The balloonists lite up the balloons in syncro to music which was tastefully choose and really did get the crowd going.


The Finally was a fireworks display that was fantastic and enjoyable and was a fitting end to the day.

The crowds was pleased as was the balloonists and aircraft crews.

I hope they return next year as this will be one to return to in my calendar.

One comment

  1. Fantastic weekend of flying. Very well organised and hopefully will become an annual event.

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