Historic bomber to roar out of retirement for air show

A Canberra was among aircraft which featured in an airshow at RAF Benson in 1960

A Canberra was among aircraft which featured in an airshow at RAF Benson in 1960

First published in News
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The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A BRITISH jet-powered light bomber will come out of retirement after eight years to wow the crowd at Abingdon Air and Country Show.

The English Electric Canberra will perform an acrobatic duo with a Hunter subsonic jet in the skies over Abingdon on Sunday, May 4.

The 15th annual show at Dalton Barracks, expected to attract 10,000 visitors, will feature a three-hour flying show including Spitfires, Hurricanes and more.

The Canberra’s appearance is particularly special for organiser Colin Smith, who shares a birthday with the plane’s first flight - May 13.

He said: “The show is always popular because it is a good-value, family day out with something for everyone.

“It’s early on in the year so people can get over the winter and get out enjoying the sunshine.”

The Canberra, which could fly to a higher altitude than any other bomber during the 1950s, was retired by the RAF in June 2006, 57 years after its first flight.

It served in the Suez Crisis, the Vietnam and Falklands wars and took on roles such as tactical bombing and photographic and electronic reconnaissance.

Since 1999, the air show has raised more than £57,000 for Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance (TVACAA), £43,000 since 2007 alone.

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And this year’s show will feature a grounded appearance from the TVACAA helicopter.

Also on display will be a Hawker Sea Fury fighter plane, aerobatics from the Breitling Wingwalkers, an army Lynx helicopter display, an RAF Tucano and a Catalina amphibious aircraft.

The static display, weather permitting, will comprise some 70 aircraft with the RAF hoping to bring along a Tutor plane and Merlin helicopter.

Pilot Tony DeBruyn will make his first public airshow appearance since recovering from a near-fatal flying accident in 2012, with his American Rockwell Bronco.

As well as planes, there will also be falconry, Daleks from TV show Doctor Who and a stand from the 7 Rifles based at the Edward Brooks Barracks, Abingdon.

The Oxford Times:

Neil Porter

Fellow organiser Neil Porter said: “We are delighted at the continued growth of the event in such hard economic times, but we aim to keep hopefully a nice family orientated, all round show in a relaxed atmosphere.

“My small dedicated team of committee members and volunteers on the weekend work hard and do a great job, though it is time consuming.”

  • The Barrow Road gates will open from 10am and the show will run until 5.30pm. Advance tickets, £12 for adults, £8 for OAPs and £4 for five to 15-year-olds, are available from abingdonairandcountry.co.uk

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