Biggin Hill Festival of Flight
19th - 20th August
The only 2017 display by La Patrouille de France will be at Biggin Hill
The fourth year of the show in its new guise is stretched to 2 days and celebrates the centenary of the airport.
Since it restarted in its present form in 2014, the Festival has been rather fraught with problems, ranging from woefully inadequate toilet and refreshment facilities in the first year, terrible parking control for the first two years and bad luck with the weather. The infrastructure problems had been sorted by year three and the date change may help on the weather front, so 2017 could be the year when it all comes right for Biggin Hill.
The flying display line-up for 2017 was certainly off to a good start with the Belgian F-16 and the only UK display by the Patrouille de France. Further foreign participation by the Czech Air Force, RAF involvement with the Red Arrows, Typhoon and BBMF plus family favourites the Great War Display Team, Wingwalkers and Trig Team set the show up as the best at Biggin Hill for a long time.
Tickets are £22 per adult in advance (until August 11th) and up to 2 free children (under 16) per adult. (... continued below the table)
|Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
||Red Arrows ||Both days|
||Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Czech Air Force)||Both days|
|RAF Chinook||Saturday only|
||Mil Mi-35 'Hind' (Czech Air Force)||Both days|
|| Mil Mi-17'Hip' (Czech Air Force)||Both days|
||Battle of Britain Memorial Flight ||Both days|
||Great War Display Team||Both days|
|Swordfish W5865 CANCELLED Unserviceable|| |
|| Both days|
||Patrouille de France
||B-17G Sally B
|| Both days|
|B-25 Mitchell ||Both days|
||Spitfire Mk IX 'Spirit of Kent'||Both days|
||Hurricane Mk X ||Both days|
||G-Force Aeros (Little and Large)|
||Breitling Wingwalkers||Both days|
|Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show|
|EADS CASA C-295 (Czech Air Force)|
Transall C-160 (Patrouille De France Support)
|Hawk T.2 (RAF Valley)|
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
Airshows at Biggin Hill
Airshows at Biggin Hill were organised by Air Displays International until 2010. In 2011 there was an airshow said to 'better reflect the airport's 'emerging role as a Business & General Aviation Aerospace Centre', but with recognition of its past' with WW2 aircraft displays. A new sequence of annual airshows entitled the 'Biggin Hill Festival of Flight' began in 2014.
Biggin Hill was a famous fighter station that played a major role in the Battle of Britain and, despite repeated attacks, remained operational throughout. On November 2nd, 1939, a squadron from Biggin Hill shot down the first enemy aircraft of WW2, a Dornier Do17. It is now an international airport and home to several warbirds owned and operated by the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, based at the airport.
The FIRST correct entry to be drawn will win FOUR adult tickets.
The next SIX correct entries will each win a pair of tickets.
Up to 2 accompanied children can go free with every adult.
All winning tickets will be for Saturday 19th August.
How to enter
Answer this question: What anniversary is the London Biggin Hill Airport celebrating this year?
Click a button to indicate your answer
This will open your default email programme. Just add your name and send.
If you have any problems, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “British Airshows Giveaway”. In the email give your name and your answer - 100 years, 50 years or 25 years.
The winners will be selected by a random draw from all correct entries received before the closing date of 22nd July.
The (not so) small print
Entrants into the Prize Draw shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.
- Only one entry per email address.
- The winners will be informed after the closing date of 22 July.
- Email details will only be used for the purpose of this competition and will be kept strictly confidential before they are deleted at the end of this competition.
- The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and not redeemable for cash or any other prize.
This is the big one!
Even if you have been to a recent Festival of Flight at Biggin Hill, you will not have seen a show like the one promised for this August 19th - 20th.
The show has been stretched to two days and includes both the British and the French national aerobatic teams (French on the 20th only). In fact, this is the only airshow in the UK where the Patrouille de France will display this year. (... continued below the pictures)
Great War Display Team
Patrouille de France
Other show-stoppers from abroad are the Belgian F-16 and a trio from Czechoslovakia - the mighty Gripen and a pair of helicopters: the Mi-17 and the Mi-35.
Voted the star of many shows, the RAF's Chinook will demonstrate manoeuvres you never thought were possible, showing the agility of this flying workhorse. Other family favourites, the Breitling Wingwalkers, will be there to thrill and if you want to see really close flying by an aerobatic duo then don't miss the Trig Team.
Second World Warbirds will be there aplenty. As well as the mighty Lancaster with its fighter escort there will be another Hurricane and Spitfire; a couple of bombers: B-17 'Sally B' and a B-25 from the Royal Netherlands Historic Flight, and the Fairey Swordfish, so intimately connected with Kent and to this day remembered for the 'Channel Dash', when six of the biplanes attacked the German Battle Fleet in the English Channel, despite the impossible odds.
Going back even further in time, the Great War Display Team will demonstrate German and allied flying machines of the First World War.
For something completely different, the Vietnam-era Bronco is always a crowd pleaser and the G-Force Aerobatics 'Little and Large' pair have to be seen to be believed: a full sized Extra 300 flying aerobatic sequences with a 41% model of the same plane.
As well as the Gripen and the F-16; on Sunday the RAF's Typhoon will be bringing on the noise in the sublime hands of this year's display pilot,
Flight Lieutenant Ryan Lawton.
And perhaps that is not all. Even more displays and static aircraft may yet be announced - and you can see Saturday's show for free if you win our competition. So for further updates keep an eye on the Festival of Flight web site, Facebook Page or Twitter Account, or on the British Airshows preview, where you will also find information about local accommodation, travel and weather prospects.
Summary of the 2016 show: A Decent Family Show
Rich Goodwin at Biggin Hill 2016
Back for a third year in its new guise, there was around 4½ hours of flying during the rather drab and slightly damp afternoon at this year's Festival of Flight. This is a family show and featured plenty to delight the family audience, including the wingwalkers and turbulent display team, although there was little innovation or combination flying for the regular airshow-goer to enjoy.
Thankfully, lots of the logistical problems suffered at the two previous shows had, at last, been sorted out, so getting in, leaving and making use of the toilet and refreshment facilities were all no worse than at most air shows - and better than many.
The flying displays included the Red Arrows and a Spitfire and Hurricane from the BBMF, hot from the Queen's 90th birthday flypast, although the Lancaster, originally expected, was still unserviceable. The Apache Helicopter Display Team had been booked but support for the show was withdrawn by Joint Helicopter Command, so the Apache display had also been cancelled and the general weather situation between his base and the airfield prevented Terry Martin bringing his Westland Wasp.
The main historic attractions were the Fairey Swordfish, Sally B, the Catalina and the Blenheim and this was also the first public outing Hangar 11's Mustang in its new 'Red Tails' livery. With the exception of Sally B, these aircraft also adorned the static line-up, where those who were not keen to sit on the flightline could see at reasonably close-quarters the planes crew, fire-up and manoeuvre, adding significantly to the spectacle.
The main display was preceded by around 30 minutes of very skilled and varied flying of large (and expensive) scale model electric and traditionally-fuelled aircraft, representing both vintage and jet types. Towards the end of the main flying display, G-Force Aeros demonstrated rare skill when Chris Burkett flew his Extra 300 and Mike Williams flew the scale model of the same aircraft, solo and in formation. (... continued below the table)
|Scheduled to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)|
||Red Arrows (RAF)
||BBMF Spitfire and Hurricane (Lancaster booked but unserviceable)|
||Fairey Swordfish (RNHF)|
|Bronco Demo Team|
|B-17G 'Sally B'|
||Mustang. 'Red Tails' (was Jumpin Jacques). Hangar 11|
|'Kent' Spitfire TA805|
|Hurricane AE977 'P3886'|
||Westland Wasp (weather prevented arrival)|
||G-Force Aeros: Chris Burkett and Mike Williams Extra 300 duo|
|Royal Navy Raiders|
|Previously announced but cancelled|
|Attack Helicopter Display Team. Apache|
|Two Gazelles from the Gazelle Squadron|
|Westland Wessex x2|
|Yak 52 (Aerobility)|
|De Havilland DH90 'Dragonfly'|
Among the civilian highlights were Richard Goodwin with his usual stonking performance, for those who stayed beyond the Red Arrows, and the Bronco, without the team's Skyvan.
On the ground two Westland Gazelle helicopters from the Gazelle Squadron were the most popular of the static displays. The team allowed visitors to get up close and even sit in one of the Gazelles. There was also a massive funfair, children's amusements, meet the pilots and the usual trade stands.
At many shows the VIP, sponsor, veteran, media and other enclosures consume so much of the crowdline that there is little left for the paying customer. A major plus for the Biggin Hill show is the generous access to the crowdline, with relatively few allocated enclosures: these at the end rather than the centre of the flightline, leaving the coveted central area for anyone who arrives early enough to base themselves there.
Keeping everyone abreast of developments as they happened were commentators Andy Pawsey and Ben Dunnell, with the specialist commentators for some teams including Red 10 Mike Ling for the Red Arrows. Unfortunately the audience in the centre of the crowd line couldn't hear a word he said over a young band screeching into a rather better audio system on the main stage. Volume aside, the stage entertainment was popular and varied, with plenty to cheer the youngsters as well as the vintage ballads more common to airshows.
The full flying list is in the table.
Getting to the Show
Biggin Hill is on the A233 in Kent, quite close to Bromley. From most directions, take the M25 and exit at junction 4. Don't try junctions 5 or 6, even from the west, because of congestion on nearby roads. There are links to route planners in the Travel Advice column if you prefer to plan ahead or don't have sat nav. The show is well signposted and there are usually several routes into the airfield to split up the traffic queues. Traffic news is provided by the airshow radio - the frequency is signposted as you get close.
National Express do not go direct to Biggin Hill, but they do have services from London to Sevenoaks, Coulsdon, Hooley and Wallington all about 6 - 7 miles away. There is also a service between Hooley and Brighton. You can book seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.
Local public transport connections
Stagecoach and Metrobus have local bus connections to Biggin Hill from local towns, coach stations and train stations. There are details of local services here.
Accommodation near the show
It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.
There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.
Between them, LateRooms and
Expedia list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. Expedia also give, and take, Nectar points.
Click either blue agency name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into both links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.
Trivago will list competitive prices for a range of hotels, but they might not necessarily find them all, because some chains do not subscribe to their service. You may also get a better rate if you book direct with an hotel, especially if you are a member of a loyalty or rewards scheme.
For no-frills hotels, the International Hotels Group have nearby a Holiday Inn Express about 9 miles away in Croydon ; there are five Premier Inn hotels within 10 miles of so of the airport.
Weather for the show area
The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.
The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.
Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.