5 Essential Tips for Enjoying Airshows

5 Essential Tips for Enjoying Airshows

A Stringbag 1
A wide variety of vintages

Airshows are a great day out for individuals and families. They can be enjoyed by anyone from aviation enthusiasts to those who may not a first consider themselves interested in aircraft, but who enjoy the spectacle and the occasion.  With that in mind here are 5 essential tips for enjoying airshows that will help you to make the most of the day, whether it’s a big international show or a smaller event on a grass airfield.

Obviously the size of the airshow is a big factor that determines many things, not just the size of the queues for the loos.  So keep that in mind when planning your day out.

Parents who have experience of any kind of outdoor event involving their children will probably be familiar with most of what comes next, but check through anyway as there may be one or two things you haven’t considered.

Check the weather and check it again

Spitfire at Goodwood
Grey skies and drizzle 🙁

The airshow season in the UK is from spring to autumn, so there’s bound to be a wide variety of weather and some events can be cool to say the least.  Airfields tend to be wide open spaces exposed to the elements!

As the day approaches keep an eye on the weather and check it again on the morning you leave for the show.  Don’t rely just on the main TV news for this as the weather at the airfield may by very different from the regional forecast.  There are plenty of fairly accurate apps for this, like WeatherPro which comes with a free and a paid version.

Airshows are rarely cancelled due to adverse weather, but it would be shame to make the journey only to find that it had been called off and you neglected to check before leaving.

Clothing and footwear

A Antonov AN-178 1 1960Once you know what the temperature is likely to be you can choose appropriate clothing and footwear.  Your enjoyment of the show is going to diminish rapidly if you get cold waiting to watch pilots put on a display.

It’s highly likely that you’re going to be standing on grass, whatever the size of the airfield.  If there has been any recent rain you will notice the damp.  If you don’t plan on bringing any folding chairs then a thick picnic rug is a good alternative.

If there’s going to be any sun remember to bring the sun cream.  Every year thousands of people return from airshows with sun burnt faces and necks because they’ve spent several hours staring up a the sky and forgot to put on some protection.

Essentials: hat, sun cream, sun glasses, umbrella (for shade, as well as rain)

Food and drink

It is an unfortunate fact of life that the catering at outdoor events tends to be overpriced, but it is convenient and there’s usually a fairly good variety. The other disadvantage is that you have to queue for it, so sometimes it pays to get an early lunch and avoid peak times.

The obvious alternative is to bring your own, but that means you have to prepare it and carry it to wherever you intend to sit.  That might be quite a long way from the car park, so a rucksack or trolley might be the answer if you have a large party of adults and children.

The loos are better than they used to be, but they can still be unhygienic due to constant use.  Wash your hands thoroughly and consider bringing your own hand sanitizer or anti bacterial wet-wipes.

Travel and access

A Blades 1 1960Again, forward planning is important if you are to reduce the stress levels and make the day go smoothly.  It may be tempting to pile everyone and everything into the family car and set off, but sometimes travelling light and going by public transport is the better option.

The Farnborough International Airshow (held once every two years) is one example where travelling by train might be better.  In 2016 there was a two hour wait for people trying to leave the main car park after the event on the Saturday.  Meanwhile, those who travelled by train simply boarded a free shuttle bus to the train station.

However, public transport will not always be an option and you’ll need to make your own way there.  If you end up parking in a large field, check your location before leaving the vehicle i.e. remember where you parked!  There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find the car when all you want to do is get in and get home.

Airshow Photography

Airshow PhotographyAirshows provide great opportunities for both amateur and professional photographers.  No doubt you will see the serious amateurs and the professionals with their large lenses and tripods.

However, taking pictures at airshows is something everyone can have a go at and it can be easy to take some good shots for the album or to share on social media.

Your phone or tablet is probably best for taking still images of the static display of aircraft and varies other activities around the site.  Without a zoom lens you’re unlikely to get a good picture of aircraft in flight.

On the other hand you can film the displays on your camera and by so doing capture the sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine or some other dramatic engine noise.

Conclusion

Finally, a word about safety.  Crashes at airshows are extremely rare, but when they do happen the effects tend to be dramatic and consequently they make a lot of headlines.  Statistically speaking you’re probably safer at the show itself than you are on the journey to it.  The aviation authorities and the airshow organisers take every precaution they can to keep you safe, and crowds continue to flock to all sizes of shows throughout the year.

To find out more about airshows and to choose your next one search online for one of the many sites that list them each year, like Flightline UK.

learn to fly

Why You Should Learn To Fly (And Start Today)

learn to flyIn July 2015 the aerospace giant Boeing predicted that the world would need 558,000 new pilots during the next twenty years.  If this forecast for half a million pilots jobs is correct (and they should know, being Boeing) then there has never been a better time to [easyazon_link identifier=”B008J6GYF2″ locale=”UK” tag=”bensblog888-21″]learn to fly[/easyazon_link].  If you start soon and work your way along the path to a career in the airlines then you should be ready to catch this wave of opportunity as it gathers momentum over the next few years.

Learning To Fly

If you have no flying experience at all then the idea of one day being the pilot of an airliner and  responsible for the safe take-off, flight, and landing of a multi million pound aircraft, along with its passengers, crew, or cargo, may see nothing but a dream, but like all such ambitions they can be realised with the right amount of concentration, perseverance, money, and sacrifice.

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”500″ identifier=”187478308X” locale=”UK” src=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/412B8PN0CVL.jpg” tag=”bensblog888-21″ width=”388″]At the very start of your journey into aviation you’re going to have a lot of fun and excitement as you learn to fly.  The milestones are many and come in quick succession; first solo, first solo navigation, first land away etc and within a few months you will become one of the privileged holders of a Private Pilots Licence.  This licence will entitle you to fly specific aircraft within the limits of the type of licence you have elected to obtain.

At this point the path for some pilots diverts into recreational flying and that journey can last for years.  For the lucky few it can last a lifetime and some pilots continue to fly into their eighth and even their ninth decades, but for those whose aspirations are firmly fixed within the world of civil aviation then the achievement of the PPL marks only the end of first stage of training.

From there they must move quickly on to twin engine ratings, a Commercial Pilots Licence, and Instrument Rating, and onward towards an ATPL (Air Transport Pilots Licence).

As you can imagine, all this training takes a lot of concentration and application. It also demands a lot of sacrifice.  If you take this path you will probably drastically reduce (and perhaps cut out altogether) nights out, holidays, nice cars, new clothes, and all the other things that working people spend their money on.

Obviously, if money is not a problem for you then this won’t be the case, but for most student pilots it is not uncommon for them to reach the end of their training in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds and it is only the promise of a long career in the airlines, with increments of salary as they gain experience and seniority, and ending with a good pension, that gives them the confidence to continue with their goals.

Flight Training

learn to fly microlights Learning to fly isn’t cheap.  Yes, it can be done on a budget but since this post is about the airline career path it would probably be a false economy to [easyazon_link identifier=”B00C0K6OBM” locale=”UK” tag=”bensblog888-21″]learn to fly microlights[/easyazon_link] or some of the other smaller, lighter aircraft.

The number of flying schools offering flight training varies from place to place and in quality.  You should try a few of those closest to you before committing to spending all your money in one place, and even if you find what seems to be the rights flying school don’t feel you have to stick to the same instructor.

It’s vitally important that you get the best flight training from the outset and that you have a comfortable and enjoyable relationship with your Flying Instructor.

If you’re in your teens or twenties with a mature and focused attitude to study and training, if  you’re the sort of person who looks skywards whenever you hear the sound of an aero engine, if you dream of flying and seeing the world above the clouds then perhaps you should delay no longer and start planning your career in the airlines over the coming decades.

[easyazon_infoblock align=”center” identifier=”1481860631″ locale=”UK” tag=”bensblog888-21″]