RAF Cosford Air Show

RAF Cosford Airshow 2025


In 2024, the show featured the debut of an F-35B role demonstration

The RAF Cosford Airshow used to be the second biggest of the RAF airshows after Waddington. Since 2014, in the absence of the Waddington Airshow, it has become not only the main, but the only, airshow directly organised and managed by the RAF. RIAT at RAF Fairford, although on an RAF base, is organised by the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT), not the RAF, as was the airshow at RAF Scampton held in 2017.

Key Info

Airshow's own links


Gates will open at 08.00. The showground will remain open until 19.00. Flying times to be announced.


For trading and exhibiting opportunities, see the RAF Cosford Air Show web site.


This is what the show says.
"Can I bring pets to the air show?
No, unless it is an assistance dog. The airfield is usually a very crowded and noisy environment. These conditions are uncomfortable and potentially frightening for most animals."

This advice is on their FAQ page

About RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford was built in 1938 as a training, storage and maintenance base and remains a training base even now, accommodating several RAF and general aviation schools.

Other uses have been a major RAF hospital from 1940 until 1977 and an RAF POW repatriation centre after WWll.

As well as training schools, there is also an aerospace museum: part of the RAF museum, which houses mostly developmental aircraft including one of only two existing TSR2s. It is also the only museum that has one of each of the three 'V' bombers in the same place - The Valiant, Victor and the Vulcan.

Static Display

RAF Cosford Air Show 2024


The show featured the debut of an F-35B role demonstration

RAF Cosford opened its doors on June 9th, on a brisk and breezy but mostly dry summer day, to welcome a capacity and appreciative crowd of 55,000 to the only remaining UK airshow organised by the RAF.

There were a few changes to the anticipated programme, most of which had been publicised beforehand, so there was only one last-minute disappointment: the cancellation of the Lynx AH7 XZ179 from Project Lynx.

Compensation came in the form of plenty of additions, including flypasts by a pair of Hawk T2s; a doubling of the A400 flypast, which became a pair rather than a single and additional displays by a North American AT-6D Texan; a Folland Gnat and a second Jet Provost. A list of the displays after the changes is in the table.

This year’s theme was ‘Take Flight', designed to encourage youngsters to kickstart their interest in a career in the RAF and to develop in everyone an understanding of what the service does for the defence of the United Kingdom. There were plenty of chances to get close to the cutting edge of technology in hangars set out with opportunities for hand-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) including pneumatics and electronics, which engaged the enthusiasm of young and not-so-young alike.

Across the showground there were opportunities to get up close to RAF aircraft and there were even a few chances to sit in a cockpit. RAF Cosford has an extensive aircraft museum, where visitors were able to admire a wealth of historic aircraft.

The finale to the flying displays was an F-35B from 617 Squadron, which performed the first UK role demonstration of the type. There is more about this debut on the F-35 role demo page.

Review coming

A review of the show, with photos, will be here soon.

2023 photos

Click the '2023 Review' tab to see what happened that year and Photos / RAF Cosford Airshow to see photos taken at that show.

Aircraft expected in 2024Check the latest list on the show's site.
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IILockheed Martin F-35B (RAF) role demo debut
Couteau DeltaCouteau Delta Mirage 2000D Display Pair (Armée de L'Air & de l'Espace - French Air & Space Force)
Red Arrows BAe Hawk T1 (x9)Red Arrows
RAF TyphoonEurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (RAF)
Chinook, RAFChinook Role Demo (RAF)
Black Cats Helicopter Display Team: solo Wildcat HMA Mk2Black Cats solo Wildcat HMA Mk2(RN)
Equipe de VoltigeEquipe de Voltige de l'Armée de l'Air (Extra 330) (Armée de L'Air & de l'Espace - French Air & Space Force)
Gazelle SquadronGazelle Squadron. 4 x Gazelle Helicopters
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B' Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress G-BEDF 'Sally B'
Jet Provost T.5 XW324BAC Jet Provost T5 G-BWSG 'XW324'
Jet Provost XM479Hunting Percival Jet Provost T.3 XM479 (Newcastle Jet Provost)
Consolidated Catalina PBY-5A G-PBYA: Catalina Society 'Plane Sailing'Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (Plane Sailing)
P51D Mustang, North American P-51D Mustang Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar / Rolls Royce Heritage Flight (was G-SHWN 'KH774 G-AS' 'The Shark' Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)North American P-51D Mustang (Rolls Royce Heritage Flight)
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire PS853 Vickers Supermarine Spitfire PRXIX PS853 G-RRGN (Rolls Royce Heritage Flight)
Fairey Swordfish Mk1 W5856 Navy WingsFairey Swordfish Mk I G-BMGC 'W5856' (Navy Wings)
Westland Wasp HAS1 'XT420': Navy WingsWestland Wasp HAS1 XT420 (Navy Wings)
RAF Grob 115F TutorGrob Tutor (RAF)
Richard Goodwin G-EWIZRichard Goodwin 'Muscle' Pitts S-2S G-EWIZ
Mudry CAP 10, Tiger ClubMudry CAP 10 (Christophe Simon)
Schleicher ASK21Schleicher ASK 21 glider (RAF Gliding and Soaring Association)
North American AT-6D Texan North American AT-6D Texan from Stijn De Jaegere Aerobatics, Belgium
Yellow Gnat XR992Folland Gnat G-MOUR XR992
RAF Falcons parachute display teamRAF Falcons Parachute Display Team
Airbus A400 AtlasAirbus A400M 'Atlas' C.1 (x2) (FLYPAST)
Hawk T2BAE Systems Hawk T2 (x2) (FLYPAST)
A330 'Voyager' VespinaAirbus A330 Voyager 'Vespina' (RAF) (FLYPAST)
Flying displays cancelled
BBMF LancasterBBMF Lancaster 'PA474 Leader'. Cancelled because of BBMF flying pause.
Spitfire P7350Supermarine Spitfire (BBMF) (4 BBMF fighters in total). Cancelled because of BBMF flying pause.
BBMF Hurricane PZ865Hawker Hurricane (BBMF) (4 BBMF fighters in total). Cancelled because of BBMF flying pause.
de Havilland Vampire WZ507de Havilland Vampire T11 WZ507 (Vampire Preservation). Cancelled because of a technical issue.
Dassault Rafale solo 2023 liveryDassault Rafale C Solo (icon is the 2023 livery) (Armée de L'Air & de l'Espace - French Air & Space Force). Cancelled for 'logistical reasons and operational prioritisation'
Lynx AH7Westland Lynx AH7 XZ179 G-NCKS (Project Lynx)
Static Displays
SIAI Marchetti F.260 (Belgian Air Force)
Hawk T.1A XX236, XX181 & XX335
NH90 Caiman (Royal Netherlands Air Force)
Sea Harrier FRS.1
Harrier GR3
Tornado F3T (x2)
Typhoon ZH590 (DA4)
Sepcat Jaguar (x13)

RAF Cosford Air Show 2023

Per Ardua ad Astra


Patrouille Suisse RAF Cosford 2023

Airshows are time and resource intensive and deserve all the luck they can get. Lady luck smiles on some. Not others. The RAF Cosford Airshow deserved better than it got.

After a month of clear skies and sunshine, the weather turned clammy and the skies rather hazy for much of the day. Much worse, in the lead-up to the show and on the day, as displays were added, so others were cancelled. Exactly how many cancellations there were depends on when you start counting, and whether you count as cancellations the ones that were cancelled and replaced, or cancelled and reinstated. Let's say at least half a dozen.

So did this turn the airshow into a disappointment? Absolutely not. The RAF Cosford Airshow is the only one organised and managed by the RAF, whose motto is Per Ardua Ad Astra (see blue box). And 'per Ardua' the RAF did indeed do their best to make this one of the stars of the airshow season.

For a start, the flying list boasted no fewer than three national teams: the Red Arrows; Patrouille Suisse and the Royal Jordanian Falcons. Of these, probably the best received was Patrouille Suisse, in their six Northrop F5-E Tiger IIs, flying their only scheduled UK display of 2023. The team were able to grip the attention of the capacity 55,000 crowd the moment they arrived from their show base at nearby RAF Shawbury and throughout their very close formation and opposition routines. There is renewed discussion of the frequently-predicted demise of the team when their F5s are retired from service in the next year or so. If that does happen they will be sorely missed.

The Royal Jordanian Falcons put on a creditable performance, too. Being just four in number and flying Extra 330s, they were never destined to excite the crowd to the extent that Patrouille Suisse clearly did, but it was a tight and masterly display, well suited to the confines of the RAF Cosford showground. And the Reds? The eight-ship is certainly a major improvement on the seven-ship of last year. The performance seemed more polished, too, although some of the display did seem rather distant, possibly because of the need to avoid overflying Albrighton. Those in the crowd who rarely visit airshows will have been impressed enough, although old-timers might be looking for a bit more innovation when the team comes back next year with nine aircraft.

RAF Falcons

RAF Falcons 'Carousel'

Ian Gallacher Ask 21 Glider

Ian Gallacher in Ask 21 Glider

It isn't often that there are three national aerobatic teams at the same show (other than RIAT, of course) and not often, either, that there are two national parachute display teams. The RAF Cosford airshow usually starts with a drop from the RAF Falcons. This year, the opening display was by the French Air and Space Force Team Phenix Parachute Display Team. Jumping from a Skyvan, they formed what was described as a triangle, although the formation appeared more like a diamond with, from the top, a single parachutist, then an attached pair, each carrying massive French national flags, then two more singles, unattached but stacked vertically: even more skillful and complicated than the description. The formation broke for landing; a French Air and Space Force flag carried by the last man in.

The display by the RAF Falcons followed. Unusually, the Falcons jumped from a C-130 Hercules. Not only is this rare, it was also the last time the team would make a jump from such an aircraft, which was due to be retired from active service later the same month. The Falcons' display followed their usual pattern with the very impressive 6-member snake, heart and carousel formations followed down by three flag carriers.

After their respective displays, the two national parachute display teams lined up together to take a joint salute, overflown, for the final time, by the Hercules. As it was such a momentous occasion for the team and the aircraft, some were disappointed that the Hercules managed only one flypast and searched the skies for a return pass, which might have emphasised the significance of this historic moment.

The successor to the Hercules, the Airbus A400M C1, did make outward and return flypasts later in the show. Bringing the displays bang up to date, towards the end of the afternoon an F-35B from RAF Marham also made two passes before presenting the iconic hover and slow turn at the centre of the display line.

If Patrouille Suisse were the stars of the national aerobatic teams, what else impressed? Brighty for one. Flying possibly the best Typhoon routine for many years, Flt Lt Matt Brighty managed to stay within easy sight of his audience and to keep the crowd engaged throughout with his ever-changing tempo. It was a pity that the planned formation with the BBMF Lancaster did not come about because of a technical issue that delayed the Lancaster's arrival. A shame for some infrequent airshow goers, too, that the display aircraft was not BlackJack. But let's not take anything away from the perfection of Brighty's routine or the presentation. Typhoon display pilots of the future take note: this one will take some beating.

Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Navy Wings Wasp

Navy Wings Westland Wasp

Belgian NH90

Belgian NH90

Lancaster finale

BBMF's Avro Lancaster


F35B 'Lightning II'

As an RAF show, everyone expects huge RAF participation and there was a good turn-out, although by no means as much as many might have expected. Yes, we knew what was on the flying list, but previously there have been some RAF on-the-day extras. The Grob Tutor was absent on sick leave but there were other absences. Several helicopters were on ferry duty - perhaps a Flying Training School group flypast might have filled a gap. There was no Prefect and, apart from the Red Arrows, no Hawks and no Texan. As this is the only remaining RAF airshow, visitors might have hoped that the RAF would display as many examples of its flying inventory as possible - accepting that there are other pressures on resources these days.

The BBMF did oblige with both fighters. As is quite normal with the BBMF fighters, there was a tendency for both of them to appear a little distant and to display rather more belly than topside. The original idea was for the Lancaster and the fighters to perform their normal formation and solo routines and for the Lancaster to stay behind for a spell with the Typhoon. This was prevented by a technical problem that held up the Lancaster. All credit to the BBMF team who worked all day to return the Lancaster to flight in time for it to fly a fitting finale to the show.

The RAF Chinook and team excelled at their first airshow outing of the season. Flight Lt Jim Hobkirk and Flt Lt Jamie 'JJ' Johnson took the aircraft through a routine fairly typical for the type. The ever-popular landing on two wheels and reversing a little way up the runway appeared to be the biggest crowd-pleaser.

The Belgian NH90 Caiman was one of the cancellations, because it needed attention after it arrived and the crew couldn't validate before the event. A big pity. Those at the front of the crowdline were able to see it in the air for a little while, though, when it crossed the runway for a very short low-level trip.

Regrettably, the Royal Navy were not able to support this RAF show with their Black Cats Wildcat solo, apparently because of other commitments. There was a replacement display, though, in the form of Tim de le Fosse flying the Navy Wings Westland Wasp HAS1: a very gentle display respecting the age and value of this asset but managing to take in the whole crowdline, giving everyone a chance to admire this nearly-60-year-old helicopter that had been involved, amongst other assignments, with medical evacuations during the Falklands conflict.

More rotary wing action came from Project Lynx in the form of their ex-army Westland Lynx XZ179, which returned to flying condition just over a year ago following a three-year 'regeneration'. The very spirited display must have been on the cusp of what is permitted.

Complementing the ex-military rotary winged aircraft were two fixed-wing types associated with assisting military action; the 1946 Auster AOP6 TW536 and a Cessna O-1 'Bird Dog' flown by owner Kevin Hale and joint owner Laurie Gregoire respectively. These Aerial Observation Platforms did the job that drones or high altitude observation aircraft are more likely to perform nowadays: keeping friendly forces aware of movements and targets on ground occupied by the opposition. The types are both well reputed for their use in Korea. Austers also saw combat in Malaya and the Bird Dog in Vietnam. The term Bird Dog, incidentally, is not a reference to the plane, or 'bird' acting as a dog, but is the American term for what in the UK would be better known as a gun dog or hunting dog - helping hunters to find and retrieve their prey.

Richard Goodwin in G-EWIZ

Richard Goodwin, low level knife-edge pass in G-EWIZ

Westland Lynx

Westland Lynx

Stearman Kaydet

Boeing Stearman Kaydet

Auster AOP6and Cessna Bird Dog

Auster AOP6 and Cessna O-1 Bird Dog


Airbus A400M 'Atlas'

Rolls Royce Mustang

Rolls Royce Mustang

Another aircraft with military connections is the Boeing-Stearman Kaydet, used in the US as a primary trainer. A display by Kennet Aviation's Kaydet almost didn't happen. Originally destined to be a static display, it was promoted to the flying schedule to replace others that had been cancelled for a variety of reasons before the show. However, before his slot there was a starting problem, so another cancellation was feared. The starting issue was identified as a flat battery, which was dealt with by the team. Thankfully the static-turned-flying cancellation became uncancelled, so John Beattie was able to take the colourful ex-US Navy Kaydet through its paces.

From the same era, Bob Davey demonstrated what eastern europe could produce when he buzzed Cosford in his Yak-3, Ukrainian markings replacing the earlier Red Star livery, and both fighters from the Rolls Royce Heritage Flight had their separate moments in the limelight.

More light aircraft included the irrepressible Rich Goodwin who flew his union-jack liveried G-EWIZ, rather than the once-expected Jet Pitts. J-PIT was, nevertheless, on static display amongst other STEM attractions. From take-off straight into knife-edge, through to his short landing, via a million twists and turns, mimicking a helicopter one minute and a roller coaster the next, Rich commanded, and won, the attention of an astounded crowd at RAF Cosford, as he does everywhere he displays.

At the other extreme a calm, almost balletic, routine was a less familiar display by Christophe Simon in the Tiger Club's Mudry CAP 10. Christophe's display is designed to maintain flow with a virtually continuous succession of gentle rolls and subtle pitching, always within sight of his audience and taking in the whole of the crowd line, not just the centre. The routine clearly impressed the Flying Control Committee who awarded him the Bill Hartree Memorial Trophy for the 'most accurate, safe and polished flying display' of the day. Staying with the balletic theme, Ian Gallacher reprised his very graceful 2022 display in the RAF Shawbury Gliding and Soaring Association's Alexander Schleicher ASK-21 glider.

Reviews of RAF Cosford Air Shows in past years have invariably bemoaned the traffic into, and especially away from, the show. This year there should be special mention of the lack of such complaints. Of course, with upwards of 12,000 vehicles approaching the show over a period of a few hours; and the same number leaving in an even shorter time, there are bound to be some hold-ups. But there has clearly been special attention in 2023 to reducing traffic delays with clear signposting and wide a variety of routes and parking opportunities. Credit where it is due - and it is due - to the traffic organisation and special mention for the way the parking areas were controlled.

At many shows, the ordered lines of cars arriving become a disorganised crowd at leaving time - more akin to bees around a honey pot than a mannered traffic queue, drivers appearing to cut from one lane to another or, more frequently, to head towards an exit and start their own queues. This has the effect that some people report being able to leave quickly and others report inordinate delays, depending more on how discourteous they are than on the number of people seeking to exit.

Not so at Cosford, where the lanes appeared to be orderly and merged in a fair order. Much credit is due to the RAF personnel who managed these traffic departures.

Credit, too, to the Flying Control Committee and especially Mike Stanway, the Flying Display Director. Lesser mortals may have been tempted to shrug off cancellations as outside their control, but at Cosford there were clearly sterling efforts to introduce alternatives and fill most of the gaps. Yes, there were a few pauses, but when the number of late cancellations is taken into account, the programme flowed really well. Ben Dunnell and Andy Pawsey also deserve credit for keeping the audience abreast of the changes, especially as, with the ever-changing schedule, they must have been learning and then telling in very quick succession.

Perhaps not everything else was as well managed. In particular, there was quite a bit of speculation beforehand about the military aircraft that might be seen and especially whether a B-1 might fly by. Let's be clear, there was no such announcement. Expectations were based more on hope than reality. Nevertheless a social media comment to the effect that there would be a 'surprise'; reference to 'working on the B-1', and failure to dispel the rumour, left many visitors unnecessarily elated and then dejected. Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope, but encouraging the speculation was a pity and generated disappointment about what didn't show up, when emphasis should have been on the excellent variety that did fly. In the event the 'surprise' appeared to be a KC135, which didn't turn up anyway.

There was happier, unannounced, surprise in the form of North American T-28A Fennec G-TROY, which arrived shortly before the displays began and remained on the flightline alongside display aircraft throughout. There was some hope that flythroughs by the Fennec might be a late replacement for one of the cancellations, but it was not to be, and the Fennec flew out shortly after the displays ended, as anonymously as it had flown in.

Apart from the aircraft on the flightline, there were some impressive exhibits amongst the other statics. The RAF C-130 Hercules was especially popular. It was a bit out of the way - over on the western taxiway - but its size made it easily visible and plenty of the crowd were clearly happy to traipse over to it as there were queues to board and look around the aircraft all day. This could well have been one of the final chances to see an operational RAF Hercules as the type was due to fly its last sortie just a week or so after the show.

As is expected at Cosford, amongst the other statics there were a fair number of resident Harriers and Jaguars dotted around the showground, most noticeably a group in the colours of the Empire Test Pilots School on the concrete hardstanding between the trade stands and the runway. It has to be said, though, that compared with some earlier years, the static display was not over-exciting, and in places appeared cramped and rather higgledy-piggledy. However, on the positive side, there was an opportunity to see all the aircraft in the museum which was open to anyone who arrived early, stayed late, or could manage to drag themselves away from the action in the air in between.

Other distractions from the main flying display included the STEM hangar, as popular as it always is at RAF Cosford shows, with plenty to occupy the minds, and hopefully excite the interest, of potential STEM students and/or RAF recruits, and the Vintage village dominated by Aero Legends' Dakota 'Pegasus' and highlighting Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar's recently restored Spitfire Mk IX, LZ842.

So. Overall impressions? An excellent show with no fewer than three national aerobatic teams including 2023's only UK display by Patrouille Suisse, and a good variety of types in the flying displays: a virtually continuous 6+ hour flying programme, thanks to the sterling efforts of the control team, with informative commentary; varied entertainment around the showground; an OK static display plus access to the museum and a cleaner getaway afterwards than many shows manage. Yes, problems along the way, mostly unavoidable, but a very good, if not quite excellent, outcome.

Oh, and if someone could arrange for blue skies and a bit less humidity next year, that would be great. Thanks.

Team Phenix

Team Phenix

'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

There is no single translation for this motto. Latin doesn't easily translate word for word. The accepted translation is 'Through adversity (ardua) to the stars (astra)'.


STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Through words, but mainly through action and participation, the idea is to foster interest, even excitement, in these essential subjects, especially in young people.

RAF Cosford Airshow 2024

Next year's show will be held on June 9th


If you think this review is not balanced, or that a point has been missed, or even if you agree with it, do get in touch to let us know.


Christophe Simon

CAP10C Christophe Simon

Christophe Simon was awarded the Bill Hartree Memorial Trophy for his display in the Tiger Flying Club's Mudry CAP10C. This is an award for the best (most accurate, safe and polished) flying display performed at the show.

About RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford was built in 1938 as a training, storage and maintenance base and remains a training base even now, accommodating several RAF and general aviation schools.

Other uses have been a major RAF hospital from 1940 until 1977 and an RAF POW repatriation centre after WWll.

As well as training schools, there is also an aerospace museum: part of the RAF museum, which houses mostly developmental aircraft including one of only two existing TSR2s. It is also the only museum that has one of each of the three 'V' bombers in the same place - The Valiant, Victor and the Vulcan.

Patrouille Suisse: 6 Northrop F-SE Tiger 11Patrouille Suisse (Swiss Air Force)
Red Arrows BAe Hawk T1 (x8)Red Arrows
Royal Jordanian Falcons, Extra 330LX x 4Royal Jordanian Falcons (4 x Extra 330LX)
BBMF LancasterBBMF Lancaster 'PA474 Leader'
Supermarine Spitfire LF MkVb G-AISU 'AB910'BBMF Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vb G-AISU 'AB910'
BBMF Hurricane PZ865Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc PZ865 BBMF 'Last of the Many'
RAF Typhoon, 2022-3 liveryEurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (RAF)
Yak 3-U Yakovlev YAK-3U F-AZIM (Bob Davy)
Richard Goodwin G-EWIZRichard Goodwin 'Muscle' Pitts S-2S G-EWIZ (replaced the anticipated JetPitts)
Schleicher ASK21Schleicher ASK 21 glider (Ian Gallacher)
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire PS853 Vickers Supermarine Spitfire PRXIX PS853 G-RRGN: Rolls Royce Heritage Flight
P51D Mustang, North American P-51D Mustang Rolls Royce Heritage Flight (was G-SHWN 'KH774 G-AS' 'The Shark' Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)P-51D Mustang: Rolls Royce Heritage Flight
Lynx AH7Westland Lynx AH7 XZ179 G-NCKS (Project Lynx)
Navy Wings WaspWestland Wasp HAS1 XT420 G-CBUI (Navy Wings) (replaced the cancelled Black Cats Wildcat display)
Mudry CAP 10, Tiger ClubMudry CAP 10 (Christophe Simon)
Chinook, RAFChinook (RAF)
RAF Falcons parachute display teamRAF Falcons Parachute Display Team. Jumped from a C-130 Hercules
C-130J HerculesC-130J Hercules - from which the RAF Falcons jumped. Flypast but no display by the aircraft itself.
Phenix French Air & Space Force Parachute Display TeamPhenix French Air & Space Force Parachute Display Team (jumped from a Skyvan)
Auster AOP6Auster AOP6 (Kevin Hale)
Cessna Bird DogCessna Bird Dog
Stearman KaydetBoeing-Stearman N2S Kaydet (originally listed as a static but brought to the flying display following other cancellations)
Airbus A400 AtlasA400M Atlas C1 Flypast (Late addition)
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IILockheed Martin F-35B. Two passes and a hover
Flying displays cancelled
Consolidated Catalina PBY-5A G-PBYA: Catalina Society 'Plane Sailing'Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (Plane Sailing) - ongoing maintenance
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B' Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'. B-17 flying had been suspended because of a wing spar issue.
RAF Grob 115F TutorGrob Tutor (RAF) (technical issue with the type).
NH90 Netherlands Air ForceNH90 Caiman TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) (Belgian Air Force). Suffered a technical problem on arrival. The problem was resolved but not in time for a validation flight.
Vampire: Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadronde Havilland DH.100 Vampire T.55 XJ711 (Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron). Technical problem.
Royal Navy WildcatBlack Cats solo. Wildcat HMA2. Cancelled for operational reasons. Replaced by the Navy Wings Wasp.
KC135 (USAF) Flypasts were planned at a late stage but cancelled on the day for operational reasons
Statics included
RAF C-130 Hercules
Douglas DC-3 Dakota G-ANAF (Aero Legends)
Dakota DC3 Cockpit (RAF Museum)
Devon (RAF Museum)
Hunting 126 (RAF Museum)
Jaguar 'Fly-By-Wire' (RAF Museum)
Meteor (RAF Museum)
Pembroke (RAF Museum)
Saunders Row SR53 (RAF Museum)
Spitfire PRXIX (RAF Museum)
Spitfire Mk.IX LZ842 G-CGZU (Biggin Hill / FlyaSpitfire)

RAF Cosford Air Show 2022

F-35 at RAF Cosford Airshow 2022

The F-35B at the RAF Cosford Air Show in 2022

The RAF Cosford Air Show 2021 had been postponed from the original June date because of Covid-19. The organisers were working on a smaller, socially-distanced event, to be held over two days on 11 & 12 Sept 2021. However, in July they announced that it would not be held at all in 2021 but that plans were underway for a special show in 2022 to mark aviation achievements in the 70 years since the Queen's coronation.

It has to be said that there was some anxiety, leading up to the 2022 show, that it might not live up to the high expectations that airshows at RAF Cosford tend to generate. The initial promise was a 6-hour display window but the list of display aircraft didn't seem to be building into a show consistent with that length of programme.

Some comments on social media suggested that the show would be a bit of a damp squib and there didn't seem to be much reassurance emanating from the show organisers, through social media or the web site, to reassure would-be visitors that all would be well.

Richard Goodwin at RAF Cosford Air Show 2022

Richard Goodwin in G-JPIT

The doubts proved to be largely unfounded as, in the end, the long-awaited show was a massive success and an early sell-out, leaving many lamenting their absence from what turned out to be a thrilling and varied show both on the ground and in the air, although the programme was, indeed, rather shorter than original expectations.

The participation list had started excellently with, as expected, full support from RAF teams. Foreign participation took a disappointing reverse when the Hungarian Gripen had to be withdrawn for operational reasons but there was a great boost by the addition of an F-35B flypast with hover and unannounced debut public displays from two of Historic Helicopters' fleet.

Although the Hungarian Gripen had been lost, several of the highlights in the displays were by teams from outside the UK. Public opinion, and the judges for the 'Bill Hartree Trophy', gave the loudest acclaim to the UK's first display by Commander Steven 'Vrieske' De Vries of the solo Belgian F-16AM in it's new-for-2022 and very striking 'Dream Viper' colour scheme: a vivid green, black and grey design with a viper's head on the tail and the body of the viper along the fuselage. In a less glamorous airframe, but a contender when it comes to accolades for dynamic displays, was Capitaine 'Bubu' Butin in the French Air and Space Force's Rafale. And European rotary winged aircraft were well represented by the Agusta A109, the second contribution from the Belgian Air Force, in its 'Razzle Blades' livery: a growling wolf against a grey camouflage background.

Although the fighters excelled amongst the European displays, the stars of the rotary winged displays were contributions from the UK's Historic Helicopters. Exactly which of their craft would attend, and which would display, was a matter of some confusion right up to the event. Their Sea King was listed as a display item. In the event, the Sea King became a static display and Historic Helicopter flying displays were given by their Wessex, in its easily recognisable Navy Search and Rescue scheme, and, to the surprise of anyone who had watched the build-up of the display schedule from the beginning, their Lynx, in its first public display since it was transferred to the civilian register. Andrew Whitehouse flew a truly impressive routine, demonstrating the versatility of this long-time favourite, albeit without the backflip that would stun the crowds when it was flown by pilots from the Army Air Corps. One day, maybe, if the CAA can be persuaded.

Other vintage aircraft in the displays included The Vintage Pair: Chipmunks flown by Jon Higgins and David Petters; Plane Sailing's Catalina; Rolls Royce Heritage Flight's Mustang and Spitfires P7350 and MK356 from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; a technical problem preventing the scheduled Lancaster joining them. Following the BBMF display, Andy Preece returned to centre stage in P7350 alongside the RAF Typhoon. This 'Synchro Pair' made three passes, beginning with a very photogenic topside, before breaking to allow Flt Lt Adam O'Hare to perform his Typhoon solo.

Flying display
Red Arrows BAe Hawk T1 (x9)Red Arrows
RAF Typhoon, 2022-3 liveryEurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (RAF)
BBMF Spitfire pair (The Lancaster was also due to fly but had a technical fault)
Dassault Rafale solo 2022 liveryDassault Rafale C Solo (icon is the 2022 livery) (Armée de L'Air & de l'Espace - French Air & Space Force)
Boeing Chinook HC6A (since 2018): RAFChinook (RAF)
RAF Falcons parachute display teamRAF Falcons Parachute Display Team
RAF Grob 115F TutorGrob Tutor (RAF)
Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Hungarian Air Force) CANCELLED
Consolidated Catalina PBY-5A G-PBYA: Catalina Society 'Plane Sailing'Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
Agusta A109 Belgian Air ComponentAgusta A109 (Belgian Air Component).
Lockheed Martin F-16AM 'Dream Viper' (Belgian Air Component)Lockheed Martin F-16AM 'Dream Viper' (Belgian Air Component)
Schleicher ASK21Schleicher ASK 21 glider (Ian Gallacher)
P51D Mustang, North American P-51D Mustang Rolls Royce Heritage Flight (was G-SHWN 'KH774 G-AS' 'The Shark' Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)North American P-51D Mustang (Rolls Royce Heritage Flight)
Rich Goodwin Pitts S2S G-JPITRichard Goodwin Jet Pitts S2S G-JPIT
Vintage PairVintage Pair: 2 Chipmunks
Westland Wasp HAS1 XT420 (Navy Wings) CANCELLED
Westland WessexWestland Wessex Helicopter (Historic Helicopters)
Lynx AH7Lynx AH7 (Historic Helicopters)
Lockheed Martin F-35B FLYPASTS
Airbus A400M FLYPASTS CANCELLED for operational reasons
Beechcraft Texan T1 x2
British Aerosystems Hawk T2 x2
Static displays included
Richard Goodwin's Pitts G-EWIZ
Puma from RAF Benson, including opportunities to speak to the crew
Search and Rescue helicopters: Whirlwind (Historic Helicopters), Wessex (RAF Cosford), Sea King (Historic Helicopters) and AW189 (Bristow's Helicopters)
de Havilland Vampire FB.52 (temporarily marked up as 94 Sqn RAF WA123) (Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron)
Tiger Moth R5172 (Finest Hour Experiences)

Unsurprisingly for their sole remaining airshow, the RAF had more to offer. They had opened the flying with an entry by a pair of RAF Protection Force Paramotors, which landed in the centre of the airfield, and the show proper began with a display by the RAF Falcons. Although they arrived in a Dornier 228 the Falcons dropped from a Chinook, which then performed its own routine.

The Red Arrows made their usual and anticipated RAF Cosford appearance, this time in their reduced 7-ship format and there were also flypasts by three Grob Tutor T1s, each flown by a student in the company of an instructor, and a full display by a The RAF's solo Tutor display pilot, Flt Lt David-John ('DJ') Gibbs.

The RAF Cosford Air Show is better placed than most shows to bring novelty to the displays and rarely fails. This year the freshness came in the form of a truly outstanding display by the RAF Shawbury Gliding Club's Chief Flying instructor Ian Gallacher in a Schleicher ASK 21 glider.

Further flypasts came from a pair of Texan T1s and a pair of Hawk T2s. There should also have been a flypast by a A400M, but this was cancelled for operational reasons. Although the A400 could not display, an RAF F-35B did. Billed only as a flypast, in practice the F-35 completed a circuit and returned for a prolonged hover.

Civilian displays were reduced when Team Raven were cancelled but the star was undoubtedly Rich Goodwin, displaying this time in his blue G-JPIT. Starting with his iconic lift-off straight into a knife-edge and finishing in similar style with umpteen twists and rotations in between. No matter how often you see the display, you can't help but watch every moment and to be amazed every time.

The final flying list, including changes made on the day, is in the table.

The show offered additional entertainment for the whole family. This year, as well as helicopter pleasure flights, there were the usual trade stalls and plenty of entertainment including a fun fair. For those who like to mix a little learning into their pleasure, a large area was set aside for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) exhibits and hands-on fun.

The static display is usually extensive at RAF Cosford and this year's was no exception. Perhaps the highlight was a parade of Search and Rescue helicopters, including those used by the RAF and their civilian replacements.

Most people come for the airshow: understandably so, but it is worth spending a little extra time at RAF Cosford to visit the excellent (free to enter) museum. The museum has a wealth of historic aircraft in specified areas. Must-visits include the Cold War Museum which houses, amongst other cold war aircraft, the three 'V Bombers': Vulcan, Valiant and Victor. Other exhibits are those aircraft that didn't quite make it into service, such as the TSR 2 prototype and Gloster Meteor "Prone Pilot" F8.

The exhibits do vary from time to time, so it is worth visiting even if you have visited before, especially as some of the aircraft that usually live indoors and brought out into the open on show days.


Belgian f-16

The Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Display was awarded the prestigious "Bill Hartree Trophy" for 'Most Entertaining Flying Display' at the show.

Schleicher Ask 21

Schleicher Ask 21



Typhoon - Spitfire Synchro at RAF Cosford 2022

The Typhoon and Spitfire Synchro arrival at RAF Cosford in 2022

About RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford was built in 1938 as a training, storage and maintenance base and remains a training base even now, accommodating several RAF and general aviation schools.

Other uses have been a major RAF hospital from 1940 until 1977 and an RAF POW repatriation centre after WWll.

As well as training schools, there is also an aerospace museum: part of the RAF museum, which houses mostly developmental aircraft including one of only two existing TSR2s. It is also the only museum that has one of each of the three 'V' bombers in the same place - The Valiant, Victor and the Vulcan.

RAF Cosford Air Show

9th June 2019

Belgian F-16

The Belgian F-16 won the prize for best presented aircraft in 2018

The RAF Cosford Air Show was one of only 13 public shows to see the RAF Chinook display in 2019 and one of the few to have The Red Arrows. The Red Arrows have a very short UK season this year because of their North American tour, which resulted in the UK part of their 2019 schedule being curtailed in mid-July. They did, however, keep faith with the only RAF-organised show when they flew at the RAF Cosford.

There were several themes to the displays at this year's RAF Cosford Air Show. One was a celebration of the 65th anniversary of the first flight of the BAC Jet Provost. The Jet Provost served the Royal Air Force for nearly 40 years as a flying training platform on which thousands of RAF fast-jet pilots honed their skills. To mark the theme there were unique displays in the air and on the ground. In the air, there was a special trio of aircraft performing a formation flying display together, including a Jet Provost T3, a T5 and Mark Petrie's Mk82a Strikemaster.

Thanks to the participation of the RAF Museum, and a number of civilian aircraft operators, visitors were also able to see a chronologically arranged static display of Jet Provost aircraft, from the initial T1 design, through the T3, T4 & Strikemaster armed variant. A Piston Provost - the aircraft on which the Jet Provost was based - also formed part of the display.

Another anniversary celebrated with a theme at the show was the 70 years of NATO. In 1949, the United States and 11 other Western nations formed NATO, with its membership growing larger over the course of the Cold War era. Now an Alliance that consists of 29 independent member countries, its purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.

Aircraft - Flying
Red Arrows
F/A-18C Hornet (Swiss Air Force)
Danish Blue: Four SAAB T-17 Supporters (Royal Danish Air Force)
Chinook (RAF)
Eurofighter Typhoon (RAF)
Attack Helicopter Display Team (AHDT) Apache AH1 (British Army)
Agusta A109 (Belgian Air Force)
BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane
RAF Tucano
Grob Tutor (RAF)
SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 (Belgian Air Force) (Flypast. Another on static)
RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team
Hawker Hurricane P3717
Sea Fury T-20Hawker Sea Fury T20 (Navy Wings)
Saab JAS-39 Gripen (Czech Air Force)
Aero Vodochody L-159 Alca (x2) (Czech Air Force)
Lockheed P-3C Orion (German Navy)
Boeing Stearman (TG Aviation)
P51 Mustang 'Miss Helen'
Global Stars: Extras and/or CAP232s
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1 G-PRXI 'PL983' (ARCo)
Fairchild Argus (another on static)
Pitts Special 'G-VOOM' (show debut)
Rhin DR-107 One Design (Phil Burgess)
Aircraft - Static display
Auster III (Private owner)
Auster V (Private Owner)
Avro C19 Anson (BAeSystems) (in the WW2 Vintage Village)
Bristol Aerospace Sea Harrier FA2 (Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations)
BAE Systems Hawk T1 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Cessna O-1 Bird Dog (Private, N5308G)
Fairchild Argus
Harrier: Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Harrier: Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 (RAF Museum)(
Harrier: BAE Systems Harrier GR9 Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Harrier: British Aerospace Sea Harrier FA2 (Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations)
Harrier: Hawker Siddeley Harrier T4(VAAC) (Jet Art Aviation)
Hawker Hurricane (Air Leasing)
Hispano Buchón 'Yellow 7' (Air Leasing)( in the Vintage Village)
Leonardo Merlin HM2 (Royal Navy)
LET-410 (Slovak Air Force)
Panavia Tornado F3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Panavia Tornado GR4 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Puma HC2 (RAF)
SEPECAT Jaguar GR3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 (Belgian Air Force)
Spartan 7W Executive (Private owner)
Westland Sea Lynx Mk.88A (German Navy)

The SAAB JAS-39C Gripen from the Czech Air Force displayed as part of this NATO 70th Anniversary theme. The Czech Air Force have 14 Gripens, whose primary mission is air defence of the skies over the Czech Republic, all based at Cáslav AFB. A pair of Aero L-159 ALCA aircraft from the Czech Air Force performed an airfield attack role demonstration, accompanied by ground-based pyrotechnics. This was the first time either of these aircraft types have been seen at the RAF Cosford Air Show.

Before the show, Air Show Operations Manager, Mr Peter Reoch, said:

"We're very excited to have the Czech Air Force participating at this year's Air Show. The participation of the Czech Air Force is particularly notable for us due to RAF Cosford's role as a Czechoslovak Depot during WWII, where thousands of Czech airmen enrolled to the Royal Air Force."

Another east-European debutant in the NATO celebration area was the Slovak Air Force with their LET-410, joining other NATO aircraft on static display such as a German Sea Lynx and a Belgian SF.260M. A second SF.260 made a special flypast.

More themes were the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the RAF Harrier, celebrated with a static display of no fewer than four Harriers, and the 'Women in Defence' theme, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Women's Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the 70th anniversary of the re-inauguration of the WRAF, was marked by several displays including a trio of ladies from the University of Birmingham Air Squadron taking the pilots' seats in the UBAS' traditional Tutor flypast.

One of the feature displays at the show was a WWII set piece. It is not unusual to have a Buchón and Spitfire or Hurricane dogfight at airshows, but this one had a twist. The twist was that it was staged as a display by Bygone Aviation's Mk1 Hawker Hurricane, representing the kinds of aircraft deliveries that were routinely made by the ATA, when Buchón 'White 9' appeared from nowhere and launched an attack, complete with pyrotechnics, much to the surprise of the crowd. This vividly illustrated the kinds of risk that were encountered by women as a part of their daily routines.

Food Fayre

The RAF Cosford Air Show introduced a food fayre on the showground to promote local food businesses.


The Attack Helicopter Display Team returned to the RAF Cosford Air Show with their explosive display showcasing the Apache gunship helicopter.

The Apache is the Army Air Corps’ primary attack helicopter and its display, accompanied by ground-based pyrotechnics, is always one of the crowd favourites at the Air Show. Helicopters on static display were a Royal Air Force Puma HC2 troop transportation helicopter, a Royal Navy Merlin HM2 submarine hunter and a Midlands Air Ambulance H145 life-saving helicopter.

The first flying display announcement was the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet, which has just two UK displays this year: at the RAF Cosford Airshow and at RIAT.

The German Navy sent a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft for the flying display and a Westland Sea Lynx Mk.88A for the static display and the Royal Danish Air Force's "Baby Blue" Display Team were at the RAF Cosford Airshow for the first time ever, performing in the flying display in their four SAAB T-17 Supporter aircraft.

In addition to the flying, a Vintage Village focused on WWII, with the sights, sounds and smells of the era. Re-enactors helped to create a realistic WWII atmosphere around vintage aircraft and vehicles, both military and civilian, a Village Pub and a church fete. A variety of musical acts performed on the bandstand whilst in a marquee there were teas and vintage items for sale.

An RAF Zone showcased the very best of today’s Royal Air Force. As well as hands-on displays and exhibitions from all aspects of the Royal Air Force, including a mock-up Chinook helicopter. A number of Royal Air Force display teams had a ground presence in the RAF Village, with opportunities to meet the pilots and to explore the range of RAF Careers available as both a Regular or Reservist.

Hangar displays showed what training to become qualified RAF Technicians and Engineers is like. There were displays from the Defence School of Aeronautic Engineering, No.1 Radio School, Defence School of Photography, RAF School of Physical Education and others.

Two STEM Hangars have become well-reputed attractions at the Air Show, showcasing the best that the RAF, Industry and Academia have to offer in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and offering hands-on experience of several trades.

RAF Cosford Air Show

10th June 2018


Possibly one of the last appearances by a UK Tornado at an airshow

The RAF Cosford Airshow 2018 was selected to be one of the major British airshows to celebrate the centenary of the RAF, and they did it in style. Right from the outset the organisers promised a range of aircraft to represent the 100 years since the RAF was formed from the former Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service to become the world's first independent air force. And that is exactly what they delivered.

The show categorised the 100 years into four eras and both the static and aerial displays followed the themes for the eras: 'Policing the Empire', when the RAF helped to secure the integrity of the pre-war British Empire; 'The World at War', when the RAF's aircraft developed to meet the needs of conflict; 'The Age of Uncertainty', when war was 'cold' rather than physical and aircraft were developed to become faster and to carry more threatening weapons; and the 'New Millennium', when science and technology are as significant as brute force in the maintenance of peace in our own time.

The Static Displays

There had been some criticism at earlier RAF Cosford airshows that the static displays were scattered, possibly cramped, and disguised in muddled settings. There can be absolutely no such criticism of the RAF100 static displays. Aircraft were brought by air and by road, some, such as the Boulton Paul Defiant, a short distance from the very co-operative museum on the same site but some, such as the Phantom McDonnell Douglas F-4K Phantom ‘Black Mike’, as many as 346 miles from Leuchars in Scotland. The gathering of the static displays had taken place over many months and further work to arrange, paint and polish the exhibits is witness to the determination of the organisers to offer the best possible example of the history of the RAF through its aircraft.

Flying (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
National aerobatic teams
Red Arrows (RAF)
Jet Fighters / Attack
RafaleRafale Display Team (French Air Force)
F-16 'Dark Falcon' (Belgian Air force)
Eurofighter Typhoon (RAF)
MiG-29 (Polish Air Force)
Tornado GR4 (Flypast)
Chinook (RAF)
Westland Gazelle HT3 & HT3 (Gazelle Squadron)
Agusta A109 (Belgian Air Force)
Bristol 171 Sycamore (Flying Bulls)
Westland Whirlwind HAR10 (Historic Helicopters / LiftWest)
Bolkow Bo-105 (Flying Bulls)
Juno HT1 & Jupiter HT1 helicopters (RAF) FLYPAST
Lancaster, Dakota, Spitfire and Hurricane (BBMF)
Supermarine Spitfire PRX1 (Hangar 11)
Great War Display Team:
Avro 504
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2c
Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a x2
Avro Anson in RAF Coningsby coloursAvro Anson (BAe Systems) (in RAF livery)
Chipmunkde Havilland Chipmunk (Privately owned)
Hawker Fury Mk 1 (HAC)
Bristol Blenheim (Aircraft Restoration Co)
Jet Provost T.5 (Jet Aerobatics)
Vampire T11 (Vampire Preservation Group) CANCELLED
Tiger 9 (DH82 Tiger Moths x8) (9th unserviceable)
Hawker Hurricane P2902Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 (Air Leasing)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a (IWM/ARCo) CANCELLED
Hawk T2 x4 (FLYPAST)
Grob Tutor (RAF)
Grob Prefect, Grob Tutor (x3), Tucano FLYPAST
Transport & Tankers
Percival Pembroke C1
Boeing 757-2K2 (Royal New Zealand Air Force)
McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 Tanker (Royal Netherlands Air Force) Flypast CANCELLED (unserviceable)
Airbus A400M Atlas FLYPAST
RAF Falcons
Additionally the following were on static display in 'villages' grouped by theme
Policing the Empire
Blackburn B2
Bristol M1c (RAF Museum)
de Havilland DH.60 Cirrus Moth (BAe Systems Heritage Flight)
de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (Finest Hour Experiences)
Hawker Nimrod ll (HAC)
Morane-Saulnier Type N (Replica) (Ridley's Aeroplane Company)
Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2 (WWI Aviation Heritage Trust)
Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a (Great War Display Team)
Sopwith 1½ Strutter (RAF Museum)
Sopwith Triplane (Great War Display Team)
World at War
Boulton Paul Defiant l (RAF Museum)
de Havilland DH.87 Hornet Moth in full Royal Air Force markings
de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapide G-AGJG (de Havilland Support Ltd)
Douglas C-47 Dakota (Aces High), painted in RAF markings
Gloster Gladiator I (RAF Museum)
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 (Bygone Aviation)
Hawker Hurricane llB 'Hurribomber' (Hangar 11) CANCELLED
Noorduyn Harvard llB (Hurricane Heritage) CANCELLED
North American Harvard IV (T6 Harvard Aviation)
North American P-51D Mustang 'The Shark' (Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)
Percival Prentice T1 (AeroLegends)
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt 'Nellie'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb (Historic Aircraft Collection)
Supermarine Spitfire PRXI (ARCo)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1V (Air Leasing)
Westland Lysander (RAF Museum)
Age of Uncertainty
Auster AOP6 (Privately Owned)
BAC Jet Provost T3 (Privately Owned)
BAC Jet Provost T3a in Red Pelicans colours (Privately Owned)
BAC Jet Provost T5 (Privately Owned)
Blackburn Buccaneer S2B (GJD Services)
Boulton Paul Balliol (BP Association)
de Havilland Chipmunk (x2) (Privately Owned)
de Havilland Devon C2 (RAF Museum)
English Electric Lightning F.53 (JD Services / CAHC)
F-4K Phantom IIBPAG (GJD Services)
F-4K Phantom FG1 'Black Mike' (British Phantom Aviation Group)
Gloster Meteor F9/40 (RAF Museum)
Hawker Hunter T7 (GJD Services)
Hawker Siddley Harrier GR3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Panavia Tornado F3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Panavia Tornado GR1 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Percival Pembroke C1 (RAF Museum)
Percival Piston Provost T1 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 (Privately Owned)
Scottish Aviation Jetstream T1 (RAF Museum)
SEPECAT Jaguar GR1 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Slingsby Venture (Private)
Westland Gazelle HT3 (Gazelle Squadron)
Westland Sea King HAR3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Westland Wessex HC2 (RAF St Mawgan)
Westland Whirlwind HAR10 (Yorkshire Helicopter Preservation Group)
New Millennium
Aeropro EuroFOX 912 (RAF100 GBNZ Expedition)
Agusta-Westland Merlin HM.2 (Royal Navy)
Airbus H135 Juno (RAF Shawbury)
Airbus H145 Jupiter (RAF Shawbury)
BAE Systems Harrier GR9 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
BAe Systems Hawk T1 (RAF Shawbury Storage Flight)
Eurofighter Typhoon Full-Scale Replica (BAe Systems)
Grob Prefect
Grob Tutor T1 (University of Birmingham)
Lockheed Martin F-35B Full Scale Replica
Panavia Tornado GR4 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
SEPECAT Jaguar GR3 (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering)
Shorts Tucano T1
AgustaWestland / Leonardo Merlin HM2
Airbus Helicopters H125 (QinetiQ)
Airbus Helicopters H145 (Midlands Air Ambulance Charity)
Airbus Helicopters NH90 NFH (Royal Netherlands Air Force)
Eurocopter EC135 (Irish Air Corps)
NH Industries NH90 (Royal Netherlands Navy)
C-130E Hercules (Pakistan Air Force) CANCELLED
PZL M28 Bryza (Polish Navy)

The static aircraft were presented in a series of 'villages', each representing the theme of its era, in chronological order, starting at the western end of the showground when the newly-formed RAF was 'Policing the Empire' and progressing eastwards until the 'New Millennium' displays were, appropriately, adjacent to the hangars housing the STEM activities towards the eastern end. Each of the villages was populated not just with the aircraft but also with equipment and re-enactors, bringing history to life in the context of the RAF and the population it has protected over the century.

Although the war was virtually over by the time the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service became the Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918, Great War aircraft still dominated the 'Policing the Empire' era, gradually giving way to the new inter-war designs. Both were on display in the village alongside living history re-enactors providing the ambience of the early post-WW1 years when the RAF was in its infancy.

The adjacent village recreated the ‘World at War’ whose re-enactors presented a Battle of Britain Operations Room and aircraft dispersal. Amongst the static aircraft, the RAF Museum's Boulton Paul Defiant l, the only complete example of this two-seat turret fighter in the world, was on display alongside other warbirds that served the allies throughout the war years. Hangar 11's Hurribomber was to have been a static display here too, complete with replica bombs, until it was sold at the very end of 2017 and fell off the static display schedule but still in the zone was the C-47 Dakota / Skytrain from Aces High, which was the focus of a feature on the Berlin Airlift. The iconic Douglas C-47 had been repainted in RAF markings especially for the airshow as a special tribute to the Airlift. The Berlin Airlift remains the largest ever humanitarian airlift in history. During the mission British military and civilian aircraft flew more than 540,000 tons of cargo into the city. An RAF re-enactment group and period vehicles were displayed alongside the Dakota, demonstrating the unloading of the aircraft's vital supplies just as it would have been during 1948/1949.

Firsts at RAF Cosford Air Show

The show scored a number of firsts.

The show saw the first:

  • display of the Hawker Fury 1 away from Duxford
  • public display by 'Vador', Belgian F-16 solo pilot
  • public showing of the new Belgian F-16 livery
  • display in the UK of the Bristol Sycamore since retirement from the RAF
  • appearance at a public show of the H135 Juno and H145 Jupiter helicopters
  • appearance at a public show of the Grob Prefect
  • full pubic display of Trenchard Formation
F-16, Belgian Air Force

F-16, Belgian Air Force "Best presented Aircraft"

After the war came an ‘Age of Uncertainty’ including the era better known as the ‘cold war’. A highlight of the zone representing this era was the F-4M Phantom FG.1 XV582 ‘Black Mike’. The Phantom was operated by the Royal Air Force between 1969 and 1992, principally as an air defence fighter. Although the jet was an American design, produced by McDonnell Douglas, the UK’s Phantoms were a special batch built separately and containing a significant amount of British technology, including the addition of Rolls-Royce Spey engines. Of all the UK’s Phantoms this airframe is perhaps one of the most iconic. It's name ‘Black Mike’ comes from its unique paint scheme applied by 111(F) Squadron in the late 1980s. On 24th February 1988 ‘Black Mike’ was flown the 590 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats in 46 minutes, earning two speed records in the process.

Also displayed in this zone were other favourites of the sell-out 60,000 crowd; the Gloster F9/40 Meteor, which normally lives in the nearby RAF Museum, and the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre's English Electric Lightning F.53.

This area also had privately-owned Jet Provosts, including a Jet Provost T3a in Red Pelicans colours, which has not been seen on the UK airshow circuit for over a decade. Not only were there rarely-seen aircraft but there were aircraft that, although seen individually, have not been seen together, in context with each other, for very many years.

The ‘New Millennium’ village brought the RAF story up to date and featured full-scale replicas of the Typhoon and the F-35B as well as other current (such as the Tornado) and recent (such as the Jaguar) RAF aircraft, as well as the first glimpse for many of the RAF's new Juno and Jupiter helicopters. This was possibly the least well populated area, missing some of the headline aircraft of the last 18 years, although there were plenty of Jaguars to be seen just off the main display area at the extreme west of the static display line and yet more teasingly outside hangars across the runway to the south of the showground.

Perhaps as important as the aircraft, RAF personnel and partners from industry were in this 'New Millennium' area, and in another STEM hangar in the centre of the static displays, to demonstrate the skills of the many trades that are learnt and taught at RAF Cosford, giving visitors a chance to see, and possibly to try their hand at some of them in hangars devoted to encouraging Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities. And there is nowhere better to encourage STEM than at RAF Cosford, a major part of the Defence College of Technical Training. As well as the mind, the physique was given a work-over, too, with plenty of opportunities to test strength and skill under the supervision of trainers in the lifestyle hangar.

The Flying Displays

In the air there was a six-hour display programme starting at around 11.30.

In the last few years the flying programme has been decimated, even curtailed, by unfavourable weather and cancellations. There were few such problems this year. Thankfully, the weather was dry and reasonably clear, although cloud and some haze that persisted for much of the early part of the display time, and the south-facing display line into a bright, albeit hidden, sun, did make photography a little challenging for the first few hours. Cancellations were fewer, too. IWM's MK1 Spitfire and Vampire Preservation Group's Vampire T11 were the only full display cancellations. Perhaps equally disappointing, the proposed flypast by the Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 was not possible because the aircraft was unserviceable.

The remainder of the programme ran unusually (for any airshow) close to the published schedule. One change that caught out a few was the Belgian F-16, one of the headline displays, which was brought forward quite significantly and surprised and disappointed many who had not reached the crowdline from the static displays, or even reached the showground at all due to slow traffic.

Following what has become an RAF Cosford tradition, displays were opened by the RAF Falcons. Because of the fair weather, and unusually for the venue, the drop from a Dornier 228 was at 9,000 feet, enabling several thousand feet of freefall before the team opened their 'chutes and displayed their aerial manoeuvres, coming to land traditionally close to the marked zone.

After landing and securing their equipment, the salute was followed by the presentation of the RAF100 baton, which had been carried during the drop.

The flying followed the same chronological pattern as the static displays, punctuated by displays from the european and Commonwealth military . This worked well. A fully chronological order would have left all the fast jets grouped at the end which, although providing an exciting end to the programme, would have left the remainder of the day a little unpaced. The order also allowed for a very impressive mix of fixed wing and rotary aircraft, which almost alternated in the middle of the day.

The Bremont Great War Display Team began the flying action with four, rather than the advertised three, examples in the form of the RAF BE2c, Avro 504K and a pair of RAF SE5a replicas representing the type of aircraft that were inherited by the RAF at its formation 100 years earlier. Before eight of the Tiger 9 team displayed their de Havilland DH82a Tiger Moths there was the first of the european jet displays. This was the much-anticipated F-16AM 'Fighting Falcon' from the Belgian Air Force flown in the first public display for team's solo display pilot for the next three years, Senior captain aviator Stephan "Vador" Darte. The aircraft livery has been updated for the season in a striking scheme nicknamed 'Dark Falcon'. It clearly made an impression, earning the award for the 'Best Presented Aircraft at the RAF Cosford Air Show 2018'. As well as the overall new paint scheme, the F-16 sported a union flag on its left horizontal stabilizer, balancing the Belgian flag on the other side: a very nice touch that the team say will be replicated when they perform other displays abroad.

As well as the first Belgian F-16 display of the season, another first for the show was Charlie Brown's display of the Historic Aircraft Collection's Hawker Fury 1, which has never before been flown away from its Duxford home.

Dave Puleston flew Anglia Aircraft Restoration's Hawker Hurricane Mk 1. Following the solo display the Hurricane was flown back onto the display line, this time accompanied by the Polish Air Force MiG-29, emphasizing the close bond between the British and Polish air forces around WW2 which endures to this day. The MiG-29 then went on to perform its own solo display. The display MiG was from the 1st Tactical Squadron of the Polish Air Force, which can trace its history back to the RAF's 303 Squadron, manned by Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain. All MiG-29 jets operated by the squadron have the portrait of a pilot on the tail fin in recognition of the contribution and sacrifice made by 145 Polish pilots during the war.

As well as the Belgian F-16 and the Polish MiG-29, another contribution from Europe was made by the French Air Force, who displayed their solo Dassault Rafale. This sported another of the season's new paint schemes, a black-and-red design as flamboyant as the performance by Capitaine Sébastien "Babouc" Nativel, which won him the Hartree Memorial Award for the best flying display.

Larger aircraft always make an impact at airshows and the RAF Cosford Air Show certainly had its share. But there were none as big and none had travelled as far as the Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757. The RNZAF Fixed Wing Transport Force has two 757-2K2 aircraft. Officially they provide strategic airlift capability to carry personnel and equipment as well as VIP transport and ministerial and trade missions worldwide. Thankfully, we can add 'air displays' to that list of purposes. And display it certainly did, with fast and slow runs, plenty of topside and a steep climb out. It is very impressive, and equally unusual, to see such a large aircraft display over a relatively small showground.

Helicopters at the RAF Cosford Air Show

Helicopters played a major part in the airshow. There were no fewer than seven involved in displays and a further two in a flypast. Of course, a superb display by the RAF Chinook HC6A, flown by 'local' captain Flt Lt Stu 'Kyno' Kynaston was a huge attraction but enthusiasts were even more excited by the two contributions from the Flying Bulls.


Bolkow Bo-105

The first of their helicopters to display was the Bolkow Bo105, a highly manoeuvrable aerobatic machine from which the Eurocopter EC135 was developed. The Chief Helicopter Pilot of the Flying Bulls, Siegfried "Blacky" Schwarz, has won the Freestyle World Championship in this helicopter twice. His display demonstrated some of the moves that earned him that accolade, including spins, inversions and rolls that no other helicopter can match.

Sycamore helicopter

Bristol Sycamore

But the undoubted highlight was when the same pilot from the same team displayed the world's only flying Bristol 171 Sycamore, in its UK debut since being acquired and restored by the Flying Bulls. The Sycamore was the first British-designed helicopter to enter production and served with the Royal Air Force between 1953-1972, although this one came from the German military. Siegfried is the only pilot qualified to fly the Sycamore, which has heavy mechanical controls and none of the electronic assistance available to pilots of modern rotary-winged aircraft.


Whirlwind HAR10

Other vintage helicopters in the flying schedule were the Westland Whirlwind HAR10, a British licence-built version of the U.S. Sikorsky H-19, a type that served with the Royal Navy and with the RAF in search and rescue until they were replaced by Sea Kings in the mid-sixties, and a pair of Westland Gazelles from the Gazelle Squadron.

Apart from the Chinook, other military helicopters were the Agusta A109, the second contribution to the show from the Belgian Air Force, and a flypast by a pair of the latest helicopters to enter RAF service: the H135 Juno, which replaces the Squirrel HT1 as a basic rotary wing trainer at the Defence Helicopter Flying School, and the H145 Jupiter, both based at nearby RAF Shawbury.

Red Arrows

The RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight presented their 'Trenchard' formation incorporating the Dakota, closely followed by the Lancaster, escorted by their Mk lX Spitfire and Hurricane Mk llc. The formation, introduced for the RAF's centenary year and named after 1st Viscount Hugh Montague Trenchard, who was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force, is designed to honour current members of the Royal Air Force and all those who have served over its past 100 years. The foursome arrived over the crowd with the Dakota leading and flew a formation circuit before the fighters peeled off to enable the component aircraft to perform their respective displays. The Trenchard formation was due to be seen four times in the RAF100 year: the first at Torbay, the second here at RAF Cosford, the third at Weston-Super-Mare and the last at RIAT. However, the fighters were not able to join the formation at Torbay, so in practice the display at RAF Cosford was the first of three Trenchard Formation displays in 2018.

As well as the BBMF, the RAF sent one of the best selections of current RAF aircraft seen at any show. The RAF's own 90-minute finale to the show began with the Red Arrows who, thankfully, flew the traditional axis at right angles to the crowdline, rather than the oblique axis that caused so much disappointment in 2017. Two new manoeuvres have been introduced to celebrate the RAF100 and, as conditions were fine for a full display, appropriately both could be witnessed at this RAF100 show. The first was the Centenary Split, ending the formation flying half of the show. This involves seven aircraft dispersing in a vertical fan with white smoke whilst the remaining pair exit horizontally exhausting red and blue smoke. This has become a part of the full display and will be seen elsewhere. The second innovation followed the end of the display, when the team sometimes offer an additional flypast. But instead of a traditional nine-arrow flypast, six aircraft flew a topside pass with red white and blue smoke whilst the remaining three drew the figure 100 in red, white and blue in the background. This is not listed as a routine display item by the Red Arrows but may, perhaps, be seen at the shows selected to celebrate the RAF centenary.

More Photos

More and larger photos taken at this airshow

As well as the Chinook, Juno and Jupiter helicopters, this RAF finale included the return of the Grob Tutor display and ended with noisy Eurofighter Typhoon. Less commonly seen contributions were a series of flypasts including a trio of Grob Tutors from the University of Birmingham Air Squadron; a single Grob Prefect T1, a Shorts Tucano T1, a formation of four Hawk T2s from RAF Valley and an Airbus A400M 'Atlas'.

Of all the flypasts, the most emotive was that by a Tornado GR4. At first there was a slow flypast with wings forward and this was followed by a fast flypast with wings swept back. The F-35s which will replace the Tornado have already started to arrive at RAF Marham so it is realistic to wonder if this was the last display by the type before it leaves RAF service. If so, it will be a huge disappointment for air enthusiasts who already mourn the loss of these swing-wing fighters from the regular airshow circuit.

These and the other flying and static displays are listed in the table.

When airshows are reviewed there is usually a commentary of the traffic. The organisers have done a huge amount to ease traffic issues, with alterations to road traffic patterns and several alternative parking areas to separate the tens of thousands of vehicles into more manageable tranches. But whenever 60,000 people descend on a single venue: and when 60,000 attempt to leave a venue at more-or-less the same time, there is bound to be congestion. Regrettably queues did begin to form very early and some people suffered traffic issues that caused them to miss some displays or, in extreme cases, to abandon their attempt to arrive at all. Regrettably, and not for the first time, a serious road traffic accident, unconnected with the show, then closed one of the major exit routes at exactly the time visitors were beginning to leave. Accepting that it is natural to judge a day on the whole experience, of which arrival and egress are an integral part, it would be a shame if the show were to be judged on things like the impact of road traffic accidents which, however frustrating, were not in the power of the organisers to change. Instead, consider the day within the showground.

Some come to an airshow to enjoy the flying: indeed many arrived early, found a spot on the crowdline and stayed there until making for their cars as soon as the displays were over, without visiting other parts of the showground. Others took a leisurely and detailed look at the many exhibits including the static aircraft, the displays in the hangars and the trade stands, gazing up when a specific display was overhead. For most, the event is a combination of the thrill of the air displays, the learning from the many exhibits, and the emotion that the evident dedication of those who fly, and those who teach, instil in everyone, sometimes by provoking memories, sometimes by engendering an understanding of the security that a relatively few people provide for the rest of us.

Whatever the motivation that brings visitors to events such as the RAF Cosford Air Show, most will surely leave with a better understanding of the mechanical and human power, ingenuity and dedication that combine to constitute the RAF. The people who offer their time to open an operational base so that the public can see and learn from them deserve our thanks: and our encouragement to do it again next year.

Weather curtailed, but some thrilling débuts

Great War Display Team

Great War Display Team won the 'Best Display' award

The dull weather and low cloud did not detract from the enjoyment of most of the RAF Cosford Air Show. However, poor weather here and elsewhere did reduce the number of displays and rain from about 4 p.m. meant a very wet Apache display and premature end to the day. A road traffic incident then hampered the get-away afterwards, leaving many drivers quite angry, no doubt to the frustration of the organisers who had made huge efforts to improve the traffic handling this year following complaints after previous shows.

Hopefully the show will not be remembered for the weather and the egress, but for some impressive flying right from the opening fly-past by the Airbus A400M; the flypast by the Red Arrows with the King Air; the debut 2016 display of the Chinook, the first display of the season by the solo Apache with pyrotechnics and many others.

The themes for the RAF Cosford Airshow 2016 were 'Speed', 'Training' and the 75th Anniversary of the Air Cadet Organisation.

The key theme was a celebration of Speed and showcased the evolution of the jet engine.  The theme marked the 75th anniversary of the inaugural flight of Britain’s first jet engined aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39. The evolution of British jet engine technology was exhibited in a special hangar display, which also marked the 20th anniversary of Sir Frank Whittle’s death.

Following this same 'Speed - evolution of the jet engine' theme, the Bristol 188, Fairey Delta II, Avro 707 and Hawker Siddeley Gnat T1, all of which played a vital role in the development of British aviation technology, were outside at various points across the air show site. The Bristol 188, known as ‘the flaming pencil’ because of its long, sleek design, and intended as a supersonic research aircraft, was one of the main attractions amongst the static aircraft which also included, for the first time, the Museum's new Vickers VC10: the fastest ever sub-sonic airliner.

RAF Cosford is the home of training for RAF engineers and technicians, as well as military photographers and fitness instructors. The air show gave the Royal Air Force the opportunity to showcase the diverse roles within the Service, mostly in ground-based exhibitions.

The third theme of the RAF Cosford Air Show 2016 celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Air Training Corps. On the ground, an enhanced Air Cadet village promoted the array of opportunities that the ATC gives young people. Visitors also had a chance to experience flight simulators, a climbing wall and other interactive activities. On display were historic and current aircraft operated by the 633 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) and 8 Air Experience Flight (AEF) units, which provide flying training for Air Cadets.

Flying display
AAC Historic Flight Scout. Sioux due to display as well but unserviceable
Agusta A109 (Belgian Air Force)
Apache. Attack Helicopter Display Team. (solo in 2016)
Avro Anson (BAE Systems / Shuttleworth Collection)
BBMF Spitfire Mk XVI TE311 and Hurricane Mk IIc PZ865 (Lancaster cancelled. Unserviceable)
 BBMF Dakota (Cancelled. Unserviceable)
Chinook (RAF)
ChipmunkChipmunk (John Higgins)
Eurofighter Typhoon (RAF)
Gazelle Squadron. 2 Flying. 2 static
 Gloster Meteor NF.11 & T.7 (pairs display) (Cancelled in advance of the show)
  Gnat Display Team (weather prevented transit from Bristol)
Great War Display Team. 9 aircraft. (winners of the 'best display' award)
Jet Provost XW289 (substituted for XN637) (JP Display Team)
 King Air Display Team (RAF) (Cancelled in advance of the show)
Lauren Richardson
  Mustang: North American P-51D, 'Red Tail' (ex- ’Jumpin Jacques') cancelled.
Nanchang CJ-6 trainers (2 due. Only G-BVVG flew. Other unserviceable)
Old Buckers
 Puma HC2 from RAF Benson (Flypast cancelled)
HarvardNorth American T6 AJ841 'Wacky Wabbit'
 RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team (flew in but weather prevented jump)
Rans S-6 Coyote II G-SBAP
Red Arrows (RAF)
  Sea Vixen (Fly Navy Heritage Trust) (weather at base prevented arrival)
 Venture (private cancelled)
Grob Tutor x 3 (Flypast to honour Air Cadets 75th year)
Boeing B-52H Stratofortress (Flypast)
C-130J Hercules (Flypast)
A400M (RAF) (Flypast)
Static aircraft
AAC Historic Flight: Auster, Beaver, Sioux, Scout, Skeeter
Aerospatiale TB30 Epsilon x2 (French Air Force)
Alouette III, Belgian Navy
Auster AOP9
Avro 707
BAe 146 (RAF)
Bristol 188
Fairey Delta II
Gnat T1
Griffin HT1
Grob Tutor T1EA
Harrier GR3
Hercules C130-H (RNAF)
Jaguar GR3
Jet Provost Mk 5 XW324
King Air T1 (RAF)
Pilatus PC-9M (Irish Air Corps)
Squirrel HT1 (RAF)
Tornado GR1
Tucano T1
Venture T61
Vickers VC-10
Watchkeeper UAV
Westland Wasp

In the air, despite the weather and the reduced flying schedule, several displays did impress. Lauren Richardson threw her Pitts around the sky for the third time in the same day, having previously flown at two other shows, and the Gazelle Squadron flew their debut 2-ship display in less than perfect weather conditions, with another 2 Gazelles on static. The show was one of only 11 public venues listed to get the RAF Chinook display this year, always a crowd-puller and pleaser. Another impressive rotary was the only European flying display to make it to the starting line, the Belgian Agusta A109, unfortunately not the one in the special paint scheme.

The planned Meteor pairs display did not happen, because the operators cancelled all displays this season, but there were vintage jet displays by the Jet Provost Display Team in the person of Ollie Suckling flying the T.5A XW289, a late substitution for the intended T.3 XN637, and the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron's MiG-15. Per Strømmen flew a generous number of topside passes in this example of a cold war jet from the 'other side', probably the most widely-produced jet aircraft ever, presented in the colours of Yuri Gagarin's Red 18. Vintage jet flying displays were also to have included the only airworthy Sea Vixen in the world, but this was weather-bound and unable to reach the venue, and the Gnats, who were weather-bound in Bristol.

The Great War Display Team flew their new 2016 routine complete with pyrotechnics and really impressed, winning the 'Hartree Memorial Trophy' Best Display award. The RAF were unable to jump in with the Falcons, again because of the weather, and the Dakota was unable to fly because it is still unserviceable, but the other RAF contributions, the Typhoon and the Red Arrows, were able to fly their flat routines under the low cloud.

There was a big build-up before the show for the flypast by the iconic B-52. The B-52H, the US Air Force's long-range, large-payload multirole bomber, is used as both a strategic nuclear and conventional weapons platform and has seen action in numerous conflicts around the globe. The B-52 is a huge aircraft, with a length of nearly 50m and weighting a mighty 220,000kg. However, the much-anticipated B-52 is only cleared to fly at shows above 1,000, which was above cloud level, so the Stratofortress was heard but not seen. Hugely disappointing. An RAF A400M was flown by Tim Dunlop earlier in the afternoon and there was a single pass by a Hercules in standard livery: the special schemes being committed elsewhere.

Other displays are detailed in the table, together with a note of those planned but absent on the day, and the list will not be duplicated verbally here, but worthy of special note was an unusual combination flypast by the Anson and the T6 and a pairing of the Scout with its modern counterpart, the Apache.

Let's be honest, this wasn't the greatest RAF Cosford Airshow. Many of the problems were not the fault of the organisers: they could not be predicted or helped. The road accident that hindered travel away from the show, for example, could happen anywhere. The weather was the one factor that had most impact on everyone - the decreased vision, the dull photos, the difficulty seeing some aircraft against the gloomy skies and especially the cancellations caused not only by the conditions here but the weather elsewhere as well. The poor weather had been forecast but there was nothing RAF Cosford could do to change it.

There are some other things that the show will probably want to look at before the RAF Cosford Air Show 2017. In 2015 the main commentator, Sean Maffett, was pretty poor. The relief that year was Peter Dickson, who gave a comedic commentary when Rich Goodwin flew his display and was much lauded for it. He should have quit whilst the going was good, because in 2016 he joined Jonathan Ruffle, Gareth Attridge and Radio DJ Claire Sturgess in an even worse joint attempt to describe happenings at the show. Apart from the inane nature of some of the comments, they seemed to forget the main purpose of the commentary team is not only to elaborate on what is happening now, but to keep the crowd advised of what is going to happen next and later. The audience seemed to have to depend more on whispers up and down the crowd line, originating from others gaining their information from Twitter or Facebook messages. A new commentary position and new commentary team are a must for 2017.

The other disappointment was that the excellent array of static aircraft were again arranged in a rather higgledy-piggledy way around the site, mostly in cluttered positions. This is not unusual for the show but it is a huge contrast with some other shows, Duxford for example, where the statics are lined up with clear country backgrounds for a clear view of the exhibits - and clean photographs. Changing this would require considerable re-organisation of the layout but if RAF Cosford is going to continue to be attractive to enthusiasts, and to live with the new RAF show at Scampton, this is the sort of thing the volunteers at the base will need to consider.

The team at RAF Cosford work tirelessly for a long time to make the show as good as they can make it. They must be applauded for getting such a wide range of static exhibits and as many displays in the air as they did in very unfavourable conditions. They do tackle challenges, such as the parking, which has evolved and improved over the years, and they do the very best to attract a suitable variety of displays. For next year they will, no doubt, try to avoid clashes with continental airshows to ensure the availability of European aircraft and will take on board other comments which they themselves have invited. All is looking promising for a first class show in 2017, as long as uncontrollable factors such as the weather and any further tightening of the regulations don't get in the way.

RAF Cosford Airshow 2015

Sea King bows out

Sea King bows out in 2015

An impressive complement of military and civilian aircraft helped the 55,000 visitors celebrate this year's main theme: the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

The organisers made some determined efforts to make the 2015 show even better than the sell-out or near sell-out shows of earlier years. To achieve this they concentrated on a change in traffic management to make coming and going easier; moving to advance-ticket only, also easing traffic flow before the show, and broadening the variety in aircraft attending. And it seems to have worked, with lots of interest in the display items and easier traffic flows on the day, although there will need to be some fine-tuning in 2016 to make sure the apportionment between on-site and the newly-introduced off-site public parking is seen to be fair.

The result was that the biggest RAF show was the best it has been for a very long while, despite the determination of the weather to spoil the organisers' efforts. The show was also unlucky with some high-profile late cancellations including RAMEX Delta, the German Navy P-3C Orion, the Polish Air Force MiG-29 as well as the Polish Sokol, intended for the SAR-themed exhibition. The intended Belgian F-16, the camouflage Typhoon and the Anniversary Chinook were also non-starters for technical reasons and the Tutor was weather-bound at Cranwell, although all four: F-16, Typhoon, Chinook and Tutor were substituted. The Bulldog was weathered in, so the Tutor flew a totally solo display in place of the intended pairs arrival. The Hercules was also not fit enough to perform its planned flypast although the RAF's Voyager did manage its single and very impressive pass.

Blades with oil spill response Boeing 727

Blades with oil spill response Boeing 727

Red Arrows with the BBMF

Red Arrows with the BBMF


Apache Gunship 2 in 2015 role demo

In addition to the main VE70 theme, a secondary theme was Search and Rescue through the ages, which also had its static area as well as flying representatives. The static area was supported by contributions from Europe including an Italian AgustaWestland HH-139A, a German Sea King Mk41 and a Dutch NH90 as well as UK entries from the restored Westland Whirlwind HAR10, RAF Griffin HT1 and the EC135 Air Ambulance. Displaying in support of the theme were Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina and 22 Squadron RAF Valley's active-service Sea King.

Vulcan XH558

Vulcan XH558

Bexi Owen

Bexi Owen, part of the continuous ground entertainment in 2015

One of the unintentional themes was fond farewells, but farewells there were. The RAF Sea King HAR3 bowed out at the end of its last public display before the disbandment of the Squadron, and the imminent transfer of the SAR role in this area to Bristow Helicopters, with a long, emotional wave and bow farewell sequence and the Vulcan flew its last ever Cosford display in its final flying season.

The show's original line-up was studded with novelty and a generous splattering of foreign aircraft but regrettably the RAMEX Delta Mirage pair, the German Navy P-3C Orion and the Polish Air Force MiG-29 were amongst the last-minute cancellations. Nevertheless, two rarely seen combinations that did display were Dan Griffith in 2Excel's Oil Spill Response Boeing 727 with The Blades and a pair each of Hurricanes and Spitfires from the BBMF within the V of the Red Arrows marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Also near-unique to RAF Cosford, a pair of GR3/TR Jaguars performed a ground run, stopping for photographers and others who wanted a chance to see this enigmatic ground-attack aircraft not just in static positions around the grounds but also in action.

A highlight at this, as any, show was Rich Goodwin with another remarkable display in his Pitts. Talking visitors through that display was the unmistakable Peter Dickson, whose wit and novelty was certainly the commentary highlight of the day. Hopefully not too many people really believed that Rich has to fly half his display upside down because he painted the union flag the wrong way up, or that his dog helps him with the flying on long journeys. At least his misinformation was deliberate and comic, whereas the inaccuracies from the base team of Sean Maffett and Jonathan Ruffle were just mistakes.

True to the key theme of the show, the finale was a VE70 set-piece featuring the Anson of the Classic Air Force, the Vacher Mk1 Hurricane R4118, Cliff Spink in Spitfire Ltd's Buchón and Lars Ness in the Norwegian P-51D "Sharkmouth" Mustang, now in its 112 Squadron livery, each performing in the set-piece and individually.

Airshows at RAF Cosford

There is one airshow each year at RAF Cosford, generally towards the middle of June.

The RAF Cosford Airshow has previously played second fiddle to the larger and traditionally better-favoured show at RAF Waddington. In 2015 the Cosford show was the biggest RAF show in the absence of Waddington from the airshow calendar during runway works. During 2015 Waddington was withdrawn altogether as an airshow venue, leaving RAF Cosford in top place for RAF.

The RAF Cosford airshow features military and civilian aircraft, modern and heritage, flying and static. There are arena demonstrations, military displays, a fairground and craft and memorabilia shops.

During the show, the RAF museum with some unique displays is free to enter and some museum exhibits, which included the TSR2 prototype in 2015, also get a rare airing, so giving visitors an opportunity to see historic aircraft in a more natural and photo-friendly environment.

Other vintage jets displaying were Jon Corley, chief pilot of Classic Air Force in their Gloster Meteor NF11 and Dan Arlett in Jet Provost T5 XW324, which was not programmed but was flown as a tribute to former Flying Display Director Bill Hartree, who had died in the previous November.

Modern jets included welcome contributions from abroad: a replacement Belgian Air Force F-16AM Fighting Falcon, minus flares, flown by Cdt Tom “Gizmo” De Moortel and Capt. Julien “Teddy” Meister in a Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet, with a display so impressive it won the Hartree Memorial Trophy, introduced in 2015 as a memorial to Bill Hartree, for "the most accurate, safe and polished flying" during the show.

The RAF contribution to the fast jet displays was Johnny Dowen with his vigorous outing in the 29(R) squadron centenary FGR4 Typhoon, which was also flown by Flt Lt Ben Westoby-Brooks as a replacement for the intended camo Typhoon for the synchro display with Flt Lt Antony Parkinson MBE in the BBMF's Mk. Vb Spitfire AB910.

As well as the BBMF's contribution to this and the Red Arrows formation, their Dakota made its usual dignified contribution. Other props included the Wingwalkers who put down their usual smokescreen. Why, oh why, do they use so much smoke?

Amongst the rotaries, the Royal Navy offered a welcome and increasingly rare outing by a Lynx, taking their HMA8 through its paces but the Chinook's intensive and aggressive demonstration of the agility of this massive beast is most people's favourite. However, they were taken to the line this year by the Apache AH1 duo, giving one of only a few displays by the team in 2015 complete with bright and loud pyrotechnics as Gunships 1 and 2 worked through a realistic scenario seeing off the baddies in traditionally competent RAF style.

The six hours of flying displays, backed up by static aircraft displays, are the focus for most, but there are always other treats on the ground at airshows during, before and after the air displays. One of the ground attractions provided at RAF Cosford but not common elsewhere is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) hangar, especially appealing to youngsters, where visitors can see and interact with STEM displays.

Backing up the VE70 theme, a hugely popular Victory Village was filled with re-enactors representing civilian and military encampments at home and abroad. I'm sure I saw General de Gaulle. And not far from the re-enactors, musical entertainment was virtually continuous adding to the VE70 atmosphere.

Shows in earlier years had been less high-profile and rather in the shadow of big brother RAF Waddington. Foreign participation had been minimal and road traffic problems had tended to be a constant curse, despite the close proximity of the base to the motorway and major road networks. These issues were addressed for 2015 which almost certainly offers a better example of the shows to expect in 2016 and future years.

These shows do not happen by themselves. At RAF Cosford the show is the result of the efforts of the 1500 RAF Cosford personnel, reserves, recruiters and cadets. All credit to them for the 2015 show and we look forward to the results of their meticulous planning for 2016.

Getting to the RAF Cosford Air Show

By car

One of the easiest shows to access, Cosford is off the A41 and only a mile from junction 3 of the M54 with easy access to the motorway network via the M56, M5, M6 and M40. Even so, the roads in the area can become very busy indeed because of the popularity of the show. To get close to the site, use the post code TF11 8UP. Not all sat nav systems recognise this post code: the alternative is WV7 3EU. In both cases, follow local show directions in preference to the sat nav once you get close.


There are links to other route planners in the Travel Advice section.

By Train

Cosford has its own station, which is only a very short walk from the show site. Trains from Cosford go to Wolverhampton (about 20 minutes), Birmingham (about 30 minutes) and, via Birmingham, to London (roughly 3 hours) and other major cites.

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

Special coach services

Several companies have special services direct to the show. See the show's web site for details.

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.

The location is already built in to the link but please check, and change as necessary, the dates, number of rooms and number of guests.


Some More Options

There are four Premier Inn hotels near RAF Cosford, between four and eight miles from the show, and two in Wolverhampton about 13 miles away.

Travelodge have two hotels in or near Telford.

Weather for the show area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day Shifnal weather forecast from the UK Met Office

BBC Forecast

A 14-day forecast from the BBC

What the forecasts tell you

The Met Office 7-day forecast includes actual and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind speed, wind direction, wind gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.

The BBC's 14-day forecast has overall conditions including and hourly estimate of temperature, wind direction, wind speed and UV range.

Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.

2024 Show Basics


June 9

Airshow links


This is what the show says.
"Can I bring pets to the air show?
No, unless it is an assistance dog. The airfield is usually a very crowded and noisy environment. These conditions are uncomfortable and potentially frightening for most animals."

This advice is on their FAQ page


Sat Nav TF11 8UP


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


Photos taken at RAF Cosford Air Shows