November/December 2016

The year has certainly flown by since our last Air Show! The good news is that planning for Air Show 2017 is maturing very nicely indeed.

Since our October launch in London and presentation to Defence Attachés, High Commissioners and Industry Heads, we have seen significant interest in our hospitality opportunities. The range of options caters for all tastes (excuse the pun!) and it’s a great opportunity for groups of people to enjoy a stylish day in an opulent setting, with an amazing Air Show providing a unique backdrop. You will be very well looked after by our young officers who will host the day and make sure that you have everything that you need.  But don’t miss out! Marilyn has been weaving her magic and already has loads of bookings that are filling up the seats. Book early to avoid disappointment!

In relation to generating some exciting aircraft that complement our themes of Battlefield Support, Space and International Cooperation, Peter has been busy engaging with display teams and the host nations of the VIPs who attended our launch event. We eagerly await the ‘commitments phase’ that all host nations undertake early in the New Year, but our bids are in and responses are hugely positive. 

I am pleased to be able to confirm the booking of a pair of Strikemaster aircraft for our flying display. The RAF and UK industry have a really strong connection with this aircraft over many years of service. The Jet Provost was a stalwart of our flying training programme and the Strikemaster was key to success in the famous Battle of Mirbat in Oman. If you want to know what it feels like to be delivering air power from the Strikemaster cockpit I thoroughly recommend you read Storm Front by Roland White; you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading it.

Another crowd-puller that will be flying with us on 11 June is the Westland Whirlwind. I’ve certainly never seen one airborne at an Air Show and it promises to be a thrilling display. Built under US license from Sikorsky, the Whirlwind was the mainstay of the Fleet Air Arm’s Anti-Submarine-Warfare role. It was also the workhorse of the RAF’s Search and Rescue Force for many years and many people, both military and civilian, owe their lives to the work-rate and capabilities of this impressive aircraft.

In relation to RAF support, the letters to Sqn bosses have been written and a large pile will be posted early in the New Year to gain support once the Christmas festivities are over. Knowing so many Sqn bosses allows me to personalise the message and to bend arms!

Clive has been busy with the many duties of Air Show Director and he also organised a hugely successful initial meeting with the civilian Police and our traffic management provider. Our traffic management last year was a real success with no issue of undue queuing on entry to the site. However, we are always keen to learn and the Police brought us several lessons that their Constables on the ground observed on the day. It’s great to be part of such a joined up team that operates across so many organisations and domains.  More to come as we practice some scenarios during build up to a pre-Air Show exercise that will be held in the Spring of 2017.

Michaela has been busily keeping me on top of the key administration needed to run things smoothly and she is working hard to ensure that RAF computer systems upgrades will not affect our Air Show planning system or the event itself. She is way ahead of the rest of the Station in preparing back-up plans and we are all heavily reliant on her forward-thinking. 

My Chief of Staff is Lieutenant Commander Paul Gill and he is ramping up planning for contingencies and getting all Project Officers and Project Managers to start putting Air Show planning at the front of minds.  He organised an initial mass briefing for all key military and civil servant personnel that allowed me to set the scene for what I need from people. In essence, I trust them to deliver my intent and they have mission-command to impress me with fresh ideas.

Merry Christmas to you all. 🙂   Wing Commander Chris Jones, Chairman #Cosford17

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