The last Culdrose Air Day was in 2016

The show was cancelled in 2017 and there has been no mention of an Air Day since

Culdrose Air Day 2017 was cancelled

Sea Vixen

The Sea Vixen flew in 2015 but weather prevented a display in 2016

The following is the official statement concerning the cancellation of the show.

2017 promises to be a very important, and busy, year for Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. 80% of the Air Station’s front line aircraft and personnel are already serving on operations or at very high readiness to deploy all around the world. Delivering this high operational tempo, protecting Royal Navy ships and submarines above, on and below the waves, takes much training, planning and effort – but life at the Helston based Air Station is going to get even busier.

This year will see a new era of ‘Carrier Aviation’ when HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the Nation’s two new aircraft carriers, sails into Portsmouth. RNAS Culdrose has a vital part to play on board this new flagship, and personnel need to be ‘carrier ready’ for this significant event. Therefore due to this focus, and existing operational commitments, RNAS Culdrose will not hold an Air Day in 2017.

The Commanding Officer of Culdrose, Captain Dan Stembridge ADC said: “We have had to make the regrettable decision to not hold an Air Day this year in order to focus our resources on delivering our primary roles; to protect the Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, support Counter Terrorism and be ready to defend the Royal Navy’s Carrier Task Groups.”

“HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Nation’s new flagship, will sail into Portsmouth Harbour this year. The carriers are the most powerful ships ever built by the UK and will have a lifespan of 50 years. They will be capable of high intensity war-fighting and global counter terrorism, through to defence engagement, disaster relief and humanitarian aid. It is essential that RNAS Culdrose is fully prepared to support the aircraft carriers when they deploy with trained personnel and aircraft. Indeed one of my squadrons will provide the very first aircraft to land on her deck. This significant milestone will be a proud moment in history for Culdrose, Helston and the County of Cornwall.”

About RNAS Culdrose

Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose, also known as HMS Seahawk, is a Royal Navy Air Station near Helston on the Lizard Peninsular in Cornwall.

RNAS was designed to be a wartime airfield. It was identified as a potential base in 1942 but by the time it was commissioned in 1947 the needs had changed.

Originally a Naval Fighting School it has served as a training base for the first Navy Jets, training for early warning crews, and as a home base for carrier crews.

Whilst retaining some fixed wing aircraft, the base has moved towards rotary and is now the largest helicopter base in Europe with 75 aircraft and 3,000 personnel. It also has a very strong naval training and support role and was the Royal Navy Search and Rescue base for the area until the transfer of the service to Bristow Helicopters, based at Newquay Airport. More about RNAS Culdrose.

"This new focus comes as many of my personnel and aircraft are already deployed protecting the nation’s interests worldwide. Indeed 80% of my front line personnel are currently on operations or at very high readiness to deploy."

"Culdrose remains one of the largest single site employers in Cornwall and has a very bright future. Our unique relationship with the people of Cornwall is hugely important to us, and provides essential support to our families during periods of separation. The Air Day decision has involved much deliberation and we appreciate that many will be disappointed, however operations must come first. There is a lot of work to be done to deliver air power from our nation’s new carriers; and we must be ready.”

RNAS Culdrose Air Day is one of three military Air Shows still delivered in the UK, the others being held at RAF Cosford and our sister Air Station RNAS Yeovilton. Yeovilton Air Day will be held on the 8th July 2017. In future years, one possibility is to combine the Yeovilton and Culdrose Air Days to create one South West Fleet Air Arm event.

Culdrose Air Day 2016: Review

Culdrose 2015

Happier Days. Flypast in 2015

Culdrose Air Day 2016 promised much, but delivered little, thanks to the Great British weather.

The show was to have started with a flypast by Belgian F-16s. They were in the area but the weather forced them to avoid the airbase so they continued directly to Spain. The Belgian Sea King from No 40 Squadron, based at Koksijde, which was to have provided a search and rescue demonstration, held nearby but abandoned any display attempt, eventually touching down and being towed off to the static display area.

There was some excitement when the Sea Vixen was also said to be holding off Torbay awaiting a break in the cloud, but the break never came and Foxy Lady was sent home.

Commentator George Bacon did his best to reassure visitors that something would happen until Commander Ian Fitter announced that it wouldn't.

So in the end, the only aircraft movements of the day were the recovery of six Hawks who found a brief break in the weather to return to base from operations; a Sea Harrier trio who provided welcome relief with a taxi up and down the runway and a couple of would-be display aircraft departing for home. Otherwise, activity was left to the ground. (... continued below the table)

No aircraft flew because of the weather.
These aircraft had been booked to fly
Team Raven
Black Cats (RN helicopter display team)
The Blades
Breitling Wingwalkers
Sea Vixen
Fairey Swordfish
Merlin HM Mk2
Sea King SCaSAC Mk7
Sea KingSea King (Belgian Air Force)
Gazelle Squadron (2 flying + 2 static)
Antonov AN-28 (Polish Navy)
Cobham Falcon 20
Richard Goodwin 'Muscle Biplane'
Bücker Bü131 Bucker Jungmann
Chance Vought Corsair
Spitfire Mk XIV
Douglas Skyraider
T6 Texan
Bristol Scout
Static aircraft
Antonov AN-28(Polish Navy)
AVIAT Husky (Seaplane)
Boredom Fighter
Cessna 182R (Seaplane)
Chinook (RAF)
Cobham Falcon
Eurofighter Typhoon (German)
Gazelle Squadron (plus 2 flying)
Griffin Helicopter
King Air Avenger
Merlin MK2
Mudry Cap 10
NH-90 (Royal Netherlands)
Queen Bee
Scottish Aviation Bulldog
Sea Harriers
Sea King Mk7
Socata TB-10
Squirrel HT-1

There was, nevertheless an opportunity to see inside the naval air base and talk to the obviously knowledgeable and keen personnel, see the statics and climb onboard aircraft. Not much compensation, though, for a lost airshow and visitors were left wondering whether, with all the resources and resourcefulness at their disposal, there could have been a little more ground-based entertainment.

A list of intended flying displays is in the table.


Local area

Getting to the Show

By car

Head for Helston on the A394. Use sat nav TR12 7RH until you get close, but ignore the sat nav and follow the local show signs as soon as you pick them up.

By coach

National Express have several coach services that visit Helston, which is now accessible from many towns and cities along the south coast: Eastbourne, Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Exeter, Plymouth, Newquay, St. Austell, Truro Falmouth, St. Ives and places in between. Another service goes to Helston on the way between Heathrow and Penzance, visiting Reading on the way; and another goes from Yorkshire, visiting Halifax, Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Birmingham, Bristol and Taunton.

It is not quick and you may have to change buses, but if you like coaches the journey is possible.

By Train

The nearest railway station is Camborne, about 10 miles to the north. Trains from there get to Reading in about 5 hours or London in about 6 hours, with connections to most of the country from those stations.

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
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.

Expedia lists 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. They also give, and take, Nectar points.

Click the blue Expedia name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into the link, so when the list comes up you just have to adjust the dates, number of guests and rooms as necessary.

The nearest Holiday Inn is 50 miles away in Plymouth, but there is a Premier Inn hotel in Helston itself and another three within 15 miles in Truro, Camborne and Hayle.

Weather for the show area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day RNAS Culdrose 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 cancelled
Airshow links


Sat Nav TR12 7RH
For links to travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting there' tab


Photos taken at Culdrose Air Day 2015