Scampton Air Show

The 2017 airshow at RAF Scampton: preview and background

Scampton Air Show 2017: Preview

September 9th & 10th 2017
Red Arrows

The Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton

This is a brand new airshow in the UK airshow calendar. Although it is on an RAF base, and unlike the RAF Cosford Air Show, it is not run by the RAF. It is being organised by, and raises funds for, the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT), which also organises RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) at RAF Fairford.

The Red Arrows were among the first displays to confirm they will fly at the inaugural Scampton Airshow. Reinforcing its commitment to the new airshow, the Royal Air Force has announced that the Red Arrows will be a prominent feature, alongside flying displays from other RAF teams.

Paul Sall, Airshow Director, said:

“We are thrilled to announce the Reds as the first aircraft in what I’m sure will be a great line-up for the debut Scampton Airshow – there really could be no one else to kick it off. “With almost 5,000 displays under their belt and a very successful tour of the far East and China late last year, the Red Arrows demonstrate the best of British, and the excellence and capabilities of the Royal Air Force. We have had the privilege to see them train during the winter months at the base and are sure that they will leave visitors to the airshow exhilarated.”

Joining the flying display line-up will be the RAF Typhoon FGR.4, displayed by Flt Lt Ryan Lawton of 29(R) Sqn, RAF Coningsby.

In its 60th anniversary year, the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will display five of its aircraft: the Lancaster bomber and four BBMF Spitfires.

The RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team have also confirmed they will be joining the Scampton Airshow line-up.

Paul Sall continued:

“When discussions were in progress surrounding the RAF’s commitment to a new airshow, it was agreed that RAF Scampton was the ideal place to host it. Not only does the station hold so much history as the base of the legendary 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron and the venerable Vulcan, but there is also a huge appetite for an airshow in Lincolnshire. Through the BBMF and various ground displays we’ll be looking to reflect this county’s rich aviation heritage.
“It’s great to see that the RAF is continuing to show its full commitment to the airshow, and we look forward to announcing the static aircraft will be added to the line-up in due course. The RAF confirmations are just a taste of what’s to come so we really hope everyone will get behind this exciting new event.”

About RAF Scampton

The original airfield on the site was a WW1 landing field called Brattleby. It was abandoned after the first war in favour of agriculture but taken back into military use and expanded to meet the threats posed to national security in the 1930s. The new Royal Air Force Station Scampton returned to active operations in 1936 and became home to bombers in WW2, most famously Hampdens, Manchesters and Lancasters.

Nine Hampdens from RAF Scampton, six of them led by Guy Gibson, flew the first RAF offensive of WW2, just 6 hours after the declaration of war. The last RAF bombing mission of WW2 was also launched from RAF Scampton, as part of an attack on Obersalzberg.

RAF Scampton was home to 617 (Dambusters) Squadron: the Dambusters Raid was launched from here.

After the war, RAF Scampton was home to Canberras and Vulcans but in 1982 the station reverted to a training role until 1996, when it was to have closed. In practice, in remained in use as an overflow from RAF Waddington and the Red Arrows continued to train in its airspace.

RAF Scampton is now the base for the Red Arrows, No 1 Air Control Centre and the Mobile Meteorological Unit.

Non-UK teams confirming that they will display include the Belgian F-16 'Fighting Falcon' and the Alpha Jet of the French Air Force, in their only UK display and one of just two airshows where you can see the display outside France.

On the ground, visitors will be will able to follow an aviation journey through the ages, from a nostalgic Vintage Village - offering access to the station’s Heritage Centre - through to interactive and engaging exhibits from across industry in the Techno Zone. There will also be the opportunity to learn about the modern-day Royal Air Force in the RAF Village where serving personnel will be on hand to give an insight into the many roles they perform.

Special flypasts

Scampton Airshow will feature two special flypasts to salute the Royal Air Force’s close links with the county of Lincolnshire. The RAF Red Arrows will fly past with a Sentinel R.1 airborne surveillance aircraft from nearby RAF Waddington on both days of the show. On the Saturday only, this formation will also be followed by an E-3D Sentry.

Tickets going fast

The flightline Grandstand and Lincolnshire Gardens enclosure are both sold out for Saturday.

Tickets can only be purchased in advance from the show's website. Standard tickets are £39 per day but there are upgrades to a grandstand or enclosures subject to availability. Standard entry for under 16s is free when accompanied by an adult ticket-holder, but a free child pass is required. When launching the show, Paul Sall said:

"We think it’s important that every young person should have the opportunity to experience the magic of aviation, whether that’s in the air or on the ground. This is why Scampton Airshow admission will be free for all under 16s so as many as possible can enjoy a truly inspirational day out."
Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
National aerobatic teams
Red Arrows
Other aerobatic
Richard Goodwin and 'Muscle' Pitts
Breitling Wingwalkers (pair)
Global Stars
Fighters / Attack
Eurofighter Typhoon (RAF)
F-16 Belgian Air Force
Classic Jets
Strikemaster pair
Vampire pair
Classic (other)
BBMF Lancaster
x4Four BBMF Spitfires
B-17G 'Sally B'
P-51D Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle'
Alphajet SoloAlphajet Solo Display: French Air Force
Transport / Utility
Avro Anson
Parachute Display
RAF Falcons
Helicopters / Gyro
Gazelles ZB627 & XX436 (Gazelle Squadron)
Additionally the following are due to be on static display
Buccaneer S2B (Hawker Hunter Aviation)
CF-18 'Hornet' (Canadian Air Force)
F-4 Phantom (Hawker Hunter Aviation)
Gazelle XZ321 (Gazelle Squadron)
Hawker Hunter Mk.58 (Hawker Hunter Aviation)
Hawk T.1 (RAF)
Hawk T.2 (RAF)
King Air (RAF)
Su-22 Fitter (Hawker Hunter Aviation)
Tornado x2 (RAF)
Tucano x2 (RAF)
Tutor (RAF)
Typhoon (RAF)
All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints

The Background

Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Another chapter in the story of a possible new airshow at RAF Scampton was written on 19th February 2016, when the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT) announced that it had reached an agreement in principle with the Royal Air Force to organise an airshow at RAF Scampton.

The last airshow at RAF Waddington as in 2014, following which there was a planned pause whilst extensive work was carried out to the runways. Overrunning work and silence about the return of the show in 2016 lead to suspicions, subsequently confirmed, that there would be no more airshows at RAF Waddington for the foreseeable future.

The RAF Waddington International Air Show, to give it its full title, until 2014 the RAF's major UK airshow, was a two-day show. It ran for 20 years and attracted over 135,000 visitors, raising millions for local and RAF charities. In 2014 alone the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the RAF Museum, each received over £55,000 and another £39,000 went to Station Charities.

The official reason for scrapping the show was that there were significant security concerns and operational risks. Following an MOD review of involvement in airshows, and to confirm their commitment to a show in the area, the RAF said back in September 2015 that an alternative air show may be held at RAF Scampton, but not before 2017 at the earliest. In the meantime the RAF said they would have to sort out significant legal, commercial and infrastructure issues. The RAFCT, were contributors to that review.

Then in November 2015, the Lincolnshire Echo reported that Lord Howe, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, had confirmed in a letter to Sir Edward Leigh that RAF Scampton could be the venue for a new Lincolnshire Airshow in or after 2017.

Lord Howe, more fully The Rt Hon. Earl Howe, is also the Deputy leader of the House of Lords so carries some influence.

Sir Edward Leigh is the MP for the Gainsborough constituency, which includes RAF Scampton and is said to be a long-time supporter of RAF Scampton and of the Red Arrows, sometimes credited with helping to make sure they were not axed as part of defence budget cuts.

The letter was prompted by an enquiry from the leader of the local authority, West Lindsey District Council, who support the move of the airshow to their district, especially because of the benefits to tourism in the area.

It was reported on the local Conservative party web site last September that Sir Edward welcomed the possibility that the International Air Show might move to RAF Scampton saying.

“Lincolnshire is great flying country and has a proud RAF history which are the perfect ingredients for an international air show .... Scampton should be a perfect alternative to Waddington and I hope the RAF and locals will work together to make it happen ... It’s a great opportunity for the area and for the county.”

The Lincolnshire Echo article also contains an inference that the aircraft for any show could be based at RAF Scampton whilst, if public access to the base raises security concerns, the public areas could be at the nearby Lincolnshire Showground.

The latest announcement by the RAFCT, which also organises the RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo) at RAF Fairford, confirms commitment to RAF airshows and leaves the future of the Scampton Airshow in experienced and very capable hands.

The new airshow has its own Scampton Airshow website, on which the RAFCT Chairman, Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson, is quoted as saying in February 2016:

"The East of England is a heartland of the Royal Air Force and has an enormous number of aviation enthusiasts. Bringing a new airshow to the area is an exciting prospect that will involve a lot of planning and support. Our Charity is delighted to rise to the challenge of staging an aviation spectacle befitting an RAF station that was once the base of the legendary 617 'Dambusters' Squadron and is now home to the world famous Red Arrows. Having agreed to stage an airshow at RAF Scampton in September 2017 at the earliest, work will now begin on looking at the finer details."

The Chief Executive of RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, Andy Armstrong, said:

"My team has a wealth of experience organising airshows and over the coming months we'll engage with local agencies and community representatives to deliver a new, exciting and enjoyable day out for the whole family.

"Across Lincolnshire, there's a great appetite for a new airshow and we are determined to create one whose identity reflects the region's strong aviation links - past, present and future."


Local area

Getting to the Show

By car

If you have a Grandstand or other VIP ticket, you will be able to park on the airfield. Use sat nav LN1 2ST until you get close, but ignore the sat nav in favour of local directions signs as soon as you see them.

If you have a general admission ticket but no upgrades, you must park at the Lincolnshire showground. Use Sat Nav LN2 2NA. There is a free shuttle bus service from the showground to the airfield.

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's advice on getting there from nearby towns is here

By coach

The show's web site has details of coach operators making special tours to the Scampton Airshow.

There are no direct national national services to RAF Scampton. The places to head for are Lincoln or Scunthorpe. Stagecoach service 103 connects Scunthorpe and Lincoln, passing by RAF Scampton. National Express service 448 between Hull and London goes to Lincoln and route 562 between York and London serves Scunthorpe. You can book seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.

By Train

The easiest place to aim for is Lincoln, about 15 minutes by local bus (Stagecoach service 103) or 6 miles by taxi from the show.

Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.

The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose, but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.

Travel Advice

Road traffic updates
Highways Agency
National Express
Incidents and enquiries
National Railway Map
DIY pocket timetable
Journey planning by public transport
Route planners (Road)
Bing (Microsoft)

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, Expedia and LateRooms 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 and, if necessary, change the number of rooms and guests.

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.

The International Hotels Group have Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in nearby Lincoln, which also has two Premier Inn hotels.

Weather for the show area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day RAF Scampton weather forecast from the UK Met Office

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.

2017 Show

9th & 10th September

Airshow links

Scampton airshow web site


For the show - advance only.
No tickets on the gate:
Adult £39 per day
Under 16s free with paying adults. Grandstand (with on-airfield parking) £20 extra, including children occupying seats.

Park and view comings and goings, Thursday, Friday and Monday £5 per day in advance and on the gate. Under 16s free.

All online ticket purchases: plus £2 admin fee per booking (not per ticket)


Show's timetable


Sat Nav LN1 2ST if you have an upgraded ticket with on-airfield parking. Otherwise LN2 2NA.

For links to travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting there' tab