Trig Aerobatic Team The home page of the Trig Aerobatic Team Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:42:50 +0000 en hourly 1 The Victory Show, Cosby, Lincolnshire, Santa Pod Raceway, Nortamptonshire, Seething Charity Air Day, Norfolk, 7 – 8 September 13 Mon, 23 Sep 2013 11:28:53 +0000 Daisy Traditionally, the Trig Aerobatic Team go to war at the beginning of September.  Not a real war of course – as we are fully paid-up, peace loving individuals – but a re-enacted war in a field at Cosby, near Leicester.

Enthusiastic land owner Steve Pepper opens his farm to an impressive collection of military vehicles, re-enactors, stalls, vintage aeroplanes and ‘warbirds’.  It is one of our favourite shows as it is completely different to anything else that we do and has a wonderful atmosphere.  Ken Ellis keeps the whole event rolling along with his well-honed compering skills.


In addition to Pitts flying, Richard also had to display the Grace Spitfire at Cosby on both days, which made our logistics particularly challenging.  Cosby is perfect for light aeroplanes but presents a few challenges for heavier aircraft, particularly the large trees at the end of the strip, which make the landing approach very much a one-way ride!

Our first day at Cosby was terrific fun and without any other commitments that day, we were able to relax and really enjoy the event.  Whilst watching ‘the war’ – augmented by impressive pyrotechnics – we contemplated how awful it must be if you get ‘killed’ right at the beginning and then have to lay motionless in the mud for 20 minutes whilst various 20 tonne tanks manoeuvre around you.  Either way, it was very impressive!

Day two had the potential to present us with a challenge or two, with showers forecast and a lot more to achieve.  Prior to the start of the air display at Cosby, Dave ‘Bro’ and I positioned the team aeroplanes to Sywell and waited for Richard to arrive after his Spitfire show at Cosby.  He arrived bang on time and in the middle of a heavy rain shower!  We jumped in the Pitts and headed off in the rain towards our display at Santa Pod, which is only a few minutes away.  Thankfully, the rain showers were very isolated and we were able to carry out our display clear of the weather.

Within minutes, we were back on the ground at Sywell, for a quick fuel and smoke-up, prior to heading back to Cosby for our slot there.  As soon as the previous item had cleared, we did not waste any time and ran straight in.  With rain showers building, we needed every second that we could muster for our transit to Seething.

Departing off slot at Cosby, we were lucky to have a light tailwind helping us on the way to Norfolk.  Approaching the airspace surrounding Mildenhall and Lakenheath, there were some really evil storms building in the Seething direction.  Scooting close to Lakenheath, we were able to avoid the majority of the weather and steer clear of the storms, which we later found out had been particularly violent thunderstorms, rather than the lighter showers which we had experienced.

Seething’s runway looked more like a river than a runway and it was extremely difficult to keep straight on landing, with the tyres dragging unevenly in the patchy water.  After a fuel and smoke-up, we ended up closing the show at Seething and departing straight home to avoid any more inclement weather.  Relieved that the second of our two very busy weekends was now in the bag, we closed the hangar doors and retired for a beer!

]]> 0
LAA Rally, Northampton Sywell; Shoreham Air Show, West Sussex; Rhyl Air Show, Denbighshire, Wales and Morecambe Bay Seaside Festival, 30 August – 1 September 2013 Mon, 23 Sep 2013 11:20:55 +0000 Daisy Praying for pleasant weather has never really been a Meteorological Office approved method for guaranteeing a good weekend; however, in the weeks preceding this one, I did plenty of it.  Meticulous planning removes most of the variables but when you have a packed schedule, it doesn’t take much to throw a spanner in the works.

This weekend started early with our annual Friday pilgrimage to the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) Rally at Sywell.  For lovers of light and sport aviation, this has to be one of the highlights of the year.  As a place to catch up with old friends and see what is new, it is hard to beat.  Pride of place in the aircraft park this year was Richard Seeley’s immaculate Travel Air Type R “Mystery Ship” replica, built by Ron Souch of Aero Antiques.  Representing our favourite period of aviation history, the late 1920s and 1930s ‘Golden Age’ of air racing, we were so pleased to see this fine machine glistening in the sun.  We were joined by Jon Roper from Trig Avionics, an enthusiastic microlight pilot, who was in his element assessing the new quick-build kits which are now on the market.

All too soon, our visit to the LAA Rally was over and we had to make our way to a private display in Gloucestershire, enroute to Shoreham.  Within no time we were lounging in front of Shoreham’s impressive Art Deco terminal building, awaiting our ‘ground team’.  Dave ‘Bro’ had also flown down, via Biggin Hill, in a Duxford based Piper Cub, so it really was a proper team outing.

 Sandwiched between the South Downs and the sea, Shoreham has a reputation for very changeable weather but fortuitously, the forecast was looking fine all weekend, albeit with a northerly component to the wind, which would hinder us a little.  We had arranged an early slot at Shoreham but had to fly with full fuel, to ensure that we reached our next show in time, which made the display a little more challenging than normal.  We really enjoyed ourselves and as our smoke trails dissipated, we cleared to the north and set heading for Sleap, to refuel the aeroplanes and ourselves.

 Our friends at Sleap made us very welcome and we had time for a sneaky bacon and egg roll, prior to making our way to the next show at Rhyl.  This was our first appearance at Rhyl and one which we enjoyed very much.  Flying over Wales always brings home just how flat it is where we are based, and when the weather is nice, it is a real pleasure.  Once complete at Rhyl, we had sufficient fuel to go all the way to Goodwood and await the end of the Shoreham show before the short flight back there for the evening.

 Next day had a real feeling of déjà vu, expect this time we had to cram another show into our itinerary.  After another early display at Shoreham, we made the now familiar journey back to Sleap, for a very rapid fuel stop prior to a speedy transit past Manchester, up to Morecambe bay Seaside Festival.  By this point, the weather had deteriorated somewhat and as well as a threatening grey sky, the wind had intensified more than a little.  This made for challenging conditions over Morecambe, but luckily the weather didn’t appear to have frightened away the crowds.

 Heading south back to Sleap again, we now had time to catch a breath and enjoy an all-day breakfast before going back for another thrash around at Rhyl.  Although not as challenging as Morecambe, the wind had picked up a little at Rhyl and we had to work fairly hard at positioning the show, as well as avoiding the occasional windswept seagull. 

Following another stop at Sleap, we made our way back home after a challenging, yet rewarding few days.  This time, the wind which had plagued us all afternoon was working very much in our favour and we covered the ground at an astonishing rate for a Pitts.  In no time at all, our wheels were kissing the tarmac at Bentwaters and all that remained was to clean off the flies, dirt and smoke-oil, which are always testament to a good weekend!

]]> 0
CarFest South, Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire and Little Gransden Air and Car Show, Cambridgeshire, 24 – 25 August 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 23:05:56 +0000 Daisy Fresh from our first CarFest North experience at Oulton park, this weekend we journeyed south to sample the southern equivalent.  This event follows a similar format to Carfest North, but instead of being held at a dedicated racing circuit, Chris Evans’ team transform the lovely Laverstoke Park Farm into a feast of fun for all the family.

On the Friday prior to the show, we noticed that there were two weather fronts approaching, which looked like they were trying their best to ruin our weekend.  If the synoptic chart was to be believed, a front was going to move through Hampshire early in the afternoon but would sit over the east of the country for the rest of the day.  We decided to fly to White Waltham in the evening in the hope that we could outwit the weather.

The next morning was exactly as predicted and we stared out of the window of the bar at White Waltham, waiting for the anticipated clearance, whilst struggling to see the other side of the airfield.  The time of the forecast improvement came and went but we remained optimistic that something good would happen!

Right on cue, the weather improved to a point where a cross-country flight could be made but it still wasn’t suitable for our display.  We decided to take a look anyway, in the hope that the front would clear through at the site by the time we got there.  Initial impressions of the weather once airborne were not particularly favourable but as we headed west, the cloud lifted and the visibility improved to a point where we could accomplish the show and actually see where we were going!

We had a very good view of Mark Jefferies doing his usual world-class display and as he cleared south, it was our turn to cover the place in smoke.  After making as much noise as we could to try and drown out the noise of the cars on the ground, we waved goodbye to the vast crowd and hopped over the hedge to land at Popham, which is just down the road.  Abandoning our aeroplanes at Popham, Daisy picked us up so that we could go and experience CarFest proper.  There really was something to please everyone and we are never more pleased than when eating, so we tucked into some marvellous food whilst watching the ‘Dancing Diggers’, an impressive JCB display team, complete with smoke and pyrotechnics.  If you can get a ticket, we heartily recommend a day or weekend at CarFest; you won’t be disappointed.

Following another evening at White Waltham and another slow weather clearance, we made our way to Little Gransden for the annual Air and Car Show.  This event has been running since 1992 and over the years has made a considerable amount of money for Children in Need and other local charities.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to visit a display with the feel of a laid-back family barbeque but with an impressive catalogue of aerial activity, this one is hard to beat.  This year, David Poile and his team did not disappoint and we were treated to appearances by various ‘warbirds’, aerobatic acts, jets and heavy bombers.

An unexpected highlight of the Gransden show was an extremely well choreographed aerobatic duo where one of the pilots didn’t even leave the ground!  We watched in amazement as Chris Burkett put his Extra 300S through its paces, in perfect harmony with an aerobatic model Extra, piloted by Mike Williams.  The routine had everyone transfixed and the aircraft complemented each other perfectly.  We hope that the duo get booked for lots more shows so that we can watch them again soon.

]]> 0
Clacton Air Show, Essex, 22 – 23 August 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:57:57 +0000 Daisy It is awfully British and somewhat tedious to keep harping on about the weather but the conditions we experienced getting to and displaying at Clacton are probably worth a little mention.

For a show which is so local, a cursory glance at the weather forecast will normally suffice, as you can be fairly sure that the conditions just down the road will be fairly similar to what you can see out of the window; not true of Clacton!

We telephoned prior to the event for our mandatory briefing and were somewhat puzzled when we were told that everyone so far, including the Red Arrows, had been able to do their full display routine and the weather was just fine.  From our perspective, it was only just barely flyable and certainly not quite suitable for our full, but fairly low show.  Prior to the flight the weather improved a little and we assessed the cloud base as suitable for our needs.  On arrival at Clacton, the ‘suitable conditions’ were now not quite so suitable, but owing to our fairly compact routine, we were able to tuck it under the dreary grey cloud layer, mostly.

Day two showed great promise, with a forecast suggesting a vast improvement and a view from the ground which also appeared just fine and dandy.  Anticipating an easy ride, we climbed out ready for a very routine flight and were surprised by some patches of very low cloud.  As the cloud was broken and we could still see the ground, we climbed for height in the hope that we would have a better view.  Looking out towards the sea, the grey land blended into the grey sea and then into the grey sky, which is about the worst conditions that you can get for display flying.  On a calm day over the sea in such grotty weather, it is extremely difficult to judge height or attitude, which can lead to a very premature end to your display routine, and indeed your display flying career!

Approaching Clacton, just to make things even more interesting, a very solid bank of low cloud was pushing in from over the land, meaning that from our vantage point, we could see the sea and where we just came from but couldn’t see Clacton, despite knowing exactly where it should be.  As we got nearer, it looked possible to display, as long as the threatening bank of cloud didn’t move at all, otherwise we would be severely restricted to a very flat show.  The visibility close to the sea was appalling and the relaxing local bimble had now deteriorated into a hardcore concentration-fest; perfectly safe but requiring utmost vigilance.

Returning to base, very much underneath a low blanket of clag, which was not forecast or expected, our shared puzzled expressions said it all.  To use a couple of well worn clichés, “always prepare for the worst and always expect the unexpected”.

]]> 0
Woolley Moor, Derbyshire, 17 August 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:52:58 +0000 Daisy We are delighted that the kind people of Woolley Moor keep inviting us back to fly at such a picturesque location; however, trying to position a show in the rolling Derbyshire hills, with one end of the display line significantly higher than the other and a venue which looks quite similar from various angles, can prove challenging.  Throw in some bucketing turbulence, coupled with strong winds, and you have the building blocks for an exciting day out!

As we passed Leicester and assessed the winds aloft, we were mentally attuned to what we thought the conditions would be like at Woolley Moor but nothing could have prepared us for the sheer brutality which we subsequently experienced close to the ground.  The conditions were so rough that it would have been unsafe to fly our normal full routine and just staying over the site was a full-time job.  It can be extremely frustrating when the weather conspires against you to that degree

We achieved all we could in the circumstances and breathed a sigh of relief as we climbed up into smoother air (a relative term!) for the short flight to Leicester.  We clambered out of our aeroplanes, somewhat relieved to be back on terra firma, and hoped that the boisterous day hadn’t adversely affected the ground-based fun.  We would love to come again but hopefully someone will turn the wind down a bit next time!


]]> 0
Blackpool Air Show and Whitstable Regatta, 11 – 12 August 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:51:32 +0000 Daisy Somehow we had done it again and planned a show on one side of the country, shortly followed by a show on the other side of the country.  More important than all the tedious logistics was brunch, so we positioned to Headcorn in Kent for a bacon roll so that we could get psyched up for our first show at Whitstable.

There is no way that we could have missed Whitstable with the regatta in full swing.  Glinting sails could be seen from miles away and the boats looked like toys in a pond from our vantage point.  As we left Whitstable, it felt like the day was only just beginning, heading directly to Sywell as fast as the headwind would allow us.  Our turnaround at Sywell was very rapid, owing to the extremely efficient staff and friendly Air Traffic Control, all of whom we owe some beer!  We were soon on our way to Blackpool.

Unlike some faster aeroplanes, there was an expectation that we could cram our show between the two piers, adjacent to Blackpool Tower.  This looked really easy when studying Google Earth over breakfast but looked a little more daunting as we neared the site, especially as there was a stonking on-crowd wind.  We rose to the challenge and ended up flying some very strange trajectories to make everything work, but it was tremendous fun!  The show used to be in a slightly different location but there is no doubting that having the tower as a backdrop is very spectacular.

Sharing the ramp with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows, we were given a very warm welcome by the friendly staff at Pool Aviation, and a luxury hangar for the night.  We made our way to the hotel and then into town, only to find that seemingly all the food for miles had been consumed by thousands of hungry visitors to a punk rock convention!

The next day, after the obligatory purchase of Blackpool Rock and a brisk walk down the seafront, we did it all again in a slightly stronger wind this time!   Departing straight off slot to Sleap for fuel, we were joined briefly by the Royal Navy Historic Flight Sea Fury, which very impressively managed to hang in formation at Pitts speeds for a short time.


]]> 0
‘On Your Marks’, ASDA, Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire and Rayne Fly-in, Essex, 10 August 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:45:36 +0000 Daisy ‘On Your Marks’, sponsored by Asda, started over 11 years ago because an Asda driver named Mark Higginbottom was sadly diagnosed with Lymphatic cancer and only had a short time to live.  The owner of Bruntingthorpe, David Walton, kindly allowed his airfield and proving ground to be used by Asda lorries and visiting car clubs to give Asda employees and friends a chance to drive around the track under instruction.

Unfortunately, Mark passed away before the day but £7,500 was raised for his family.  The event has gone from strength to strength and over the years has raised in excess of £245,000 for children’s cancer charities.  In excess of 10,000 Asda employees, their families, invited guests and children assisted by the nominated charities, flock to Bruntingthorpe for a day of fun.

The air show is just a brief interlude in the motoring mayhem but we felt honoured to do our bit for this great day.  Off-slot from Bruntingthorpe, we headed to Rayne in Essex for a brief visit to their fly-in.  There was a fine selection of aeroplanes present and the party was in full swing by the time we got there.  Highlight for us was watching a Pilatus B4 glider land and coast off the strip following a perfectly judged approach.  It is always nice to see something a bit different.

]]> 0
‘Wings on Waves’, Felixstowe, Suffolk, 4 August 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:41:54 +0000 Daisy Excited at the prospect of a new show springing up only a few minutes from our home base, we fired up the barbeque and invited a couple of the other participants over for a bite to eat prior to an afternoon of flying.

The Port of Felixstowe, with its distinctive array of cranes, used to be a thriving RAF Seaplane base and ‘Wings on Waves’ was to celebrate 100 years since the seaplane base first opened in Felixstowe, under the command of Wing Commander C E Risk.

To open the show, the natural choice was the wonderful Plane Sailing Catalina from Duxford, which must have looked terrific from the beach.  We had a brilliant time and hope that this event becomes a regular on the air show calendar.

]]> 0
CarFest North, Oulton Park, Cheshire and RAFBF East Kirkby Air Show, Lincolnshire, 3 Aug 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:37:50 +0000 Daisy We headed to Cheshire to support CarFest North, a festival of fun, food, flying, music…….oh and the odd car!  Brainchild of Chris Evans, the event raises a massive amount of money for Children in Need and offers something for all the family.  Set at Oulton Park Race Circuit, sight of a former stately home, the scenery is spectacular.

Loitering to the south-east, we waited for our turn as the Strikemaster covered the sky in dense smoke.  Watching the smoke intently gave us a good idea what challenges awaited us on this slightly boisterous, windy day.

As we departed, it was our first chance to have a proper look at the fun below as the mighty Vulcan ran in for its display.  We raced the Vulcan to East Kirkby in Lincolnshire – low over the Deryshire hills – and unsurprisingly we lost, but only just!

Casting a shadow over most of Lincolnshire, the massive Vulcan roared off after displaying at East Kirkby, allowing us to sneak in to land, taxiing past another amazing bomber, Lancaster ‘Just Jane’.

East Kirkby is a fantastic show, with the feel of a family barbeque and some fine aeroplanes on show.  As our slot time drew nearer, it appeared that the isolated rain cloud which had haunted us at East Fortune had followed to Lincolnshire!  We got airborne as the heavy shower hit the airfield and waited for our allotted time, hoping that the weather would improve in time.  Not only did the rain stop but the air became incredibly smooth and the conditions were perfect for formation flying.  Once again, we must say a hearty thank you to those who braved the elements and stayed to watch our show.

]]> 0
Scotland’s National Air Show, East Fortune, 27 July 13 Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:34:02 +0000 Daisy Whilst our Trig Avionics colleagues decamped to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the week, we headed north to their home turf, to fly the flag at East Fortune in Scotland.

With airfields north of Newcastle being a bit scarce, careful planning is required, especially when thunderstorms are promised for the Edinburgh area.  The flight to our fuel stop at Durham was painless and we were soon being greeted by a couple of cheerful ladies, clad in bright yellow.  Due to the mandatory flight plan required for Edinburgh International Airport, we had little time to chat if we were to arrive when we said we would.

We were soon airborne again and enjoying the lovely scenery north of the border.  As we approached Edinburgh the weather man did not disappoint and an evil thunderstorm blocked our way.  We called up Edinburgh and were advised that a selection of airline traffic had been unable to land due to the vicious hail and he would have to recover all the airliners before we could land.  This is where the careful planning paid off and we knew that we could comfortably loiter for long enough and wouldn’t have to divert elsewhere.

Navigation in the air was straightforward but finding our way around Edinburgh Airport could have caused a problem or two if it wasn’t for our excellent Airbox GPS, which help you on the ground as well as in the air.

After a pleasant evening, the day of the show dawned and I was delighted by the comprehensive breakfast in the hotel.  You can’t beat a bit of haggis with the usual dose of red meat!  Remember, you never know where your next meal is coming from.  With a briefing only 10 seconds walk from the breakfast room, this was fast becoming one of our favourite shows!

We routed out towards East Fortune, via the Forth Rail Bridge, to photograph the iconic landmark for posterity.  As we approached the site at East Fortune and caught our first glimpse of the National Museum of Flight, we were slightly dismayed to see a rain shower threatening.  We could not delay and so dived in for our first manoeuvre as the rain found its way through the canopy and pelted us in the face.  We have the greatest admiration for those who braved the elements to watch us fly.   Sadly, not every show involves blue skies and puffy clouds, so you have to take the rough with the smooth!

We stopped off at the friendly airfield at Fishburn – former home of our Pitts G-PIII (originally G-BETI) – for some fuel and then pushed on to Wickenby as some grotty low cloud rolled in from the Wash.  Fearing that the area was about to succumb to fog, we wasted no time in heading for home and reflected on a weekend of strange weather.

]]> 0