Report and photography by Wayne Bennett
The preparations are almost complete as RAF Cosford prepares to open its doors for the only official Royal Air Force show in this centenary year. Everyone from the base commander down to the new recruits and cadets have been working furiously to make sure everything is right for a show that is now less than 24 hours away and promises to be the most spectacular show Cosford has staged.
We were lucky enough to be invited along for a bit of a preview yesterday and, even though many of the aircraft are still to arrive, the huge effort put in by everyone was readily apparent. RAF Cosford really wants this to be the most successful show they’ve ever had, although they probably think the same every year to be fair. This year is a bit special though, you only have a 100th birthday party once.
A range of aircraft normally kept well protected indoors because of their historic value and rarity have been taken out of the museum and placed in specially prepared temporary shelters on the airfield for the public to enjoy. They include such rarities as a Bristol M1C Monoplane fighter from 1916 and a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter from the following year.
The modern era will be represented on the ground by, among others, the recently retired Tornado F.3 and a gleaming black F-4M Phantom once of 111 Sqn. Also one of the airfields retired Tornado GR.4’s was specially repainted over the weekend into the desert colours worn in the Iraq conflict, though due to its pristine new appearance, Cosford have described it on their official twitter feed as representing day one of Operation Granby, not day 40! The stations instructional Jaguars are out in force, of course, and who doesn’t like to see the Jags, many of which are in special colours?
This is only a very small taste of what is in store of course, but we’ll be there for the full show tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it, and if you’re there as well, we hope you do too.