RNAS Merryfield Open Evening Report
Wednesday 8th June 2011
Every year, Merryfield, the satellite airfield to RNAS Yeovilton, opens its doors to give the local residents an insight into the sort of operations conducted at the airfield. The evening is very much a family orientated affair, with the locals having the opportunity to get up close and personal with their noisy neighbours and their crews, with the small selection of static aircraft opened up for the public to view. The event also provides the photographer with some unique photo opportunities if the weather plays ball. Sadly, there was a fair amount of cloud cover this year, although the sun did make an appearance at the right times, illuminating the aircraft with some lovely golden light when it mattered.
has this report for UK Airshow Review.
This year's static display was a little sparser than previous years, with a Tutor, Lynx HAS.3 and Sea King HC.4 (complete in arctic camouflage) on the ground courtesy of the squadrons based up the road at Yeovilton, as well as a glider and tug from the local flying club. Also in attendance were the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, which departed early on due to a shout, and the Avon and Somerset Police EC-135. Agusta Westland traditionally supports the show with a range of aircraft, though this year they sent just a solitary A109 for static display.
The flying demonstrations commenced with a Parachute drop by the Royal Navy Raiders team, jumping from another Sea King HC.4, which then proceeded to conduct a series of demonstrations showing the sort of training routines that take place at Merryfield. These included simulated auto rotations, downwind landings and single engine circuits, as well as fast roping and under slung lifting capabilities. A Lynx Mk.8 performed similar demonstrations alternately with the Sea King, before joining up with its partner HAS.3 of the Black Cats display team and closing the flying with their impressive routine for the 2011 season. The evening closes with the static aircraft departing, providing a unique opportunity to get close to the aircraft as they take off. This year, the departures seemed a little sportier than usual, with the Police EC-135 in particular giving it the beans as it left!
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Wednesday evening.