Air show cleared for take-off

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THE SPECTACULAR, annual Hucknall air show will take to the skies on Saturday (June 16), marking a decade since the historic event was revived in the town.

An eye-catching aircraft extravaganza was an integral part of the Hucknall calendar for decades before and after World War Two.

But it has only been hitting the runway at Hucknall Airfield off Watnall Road again for the last ten years, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the organiser, the Merlin Flying Club, which is based at the site.

The event is known as the Merlin Pageant and has established itself with a hardcore of supporters. It is expected to attract thousands of spectators.

Once again it will follow the theme of ‘Wings and Wheels’ with vintage aircraft and attractions linked to aviation sharing the billing with a huge display of more than 100 classic cars and motorbikes.

But at the heart of the dazzling show will be an air display that will be cleared for take-off at approximately 2.15 pm, weather permitting.

This will include a Hawker Hurricane, which is the only one that saw service in the Battle of Britain still flying, and a Mustang that saw service in World War Two and bears the scars to prove it.

A new addition is a World War Two re-enactment of ground-defence manoeuvres with aircraft flying above.

Main organiser Colin Hutson, of the Merlin club, encouraged locals to give the event their full support to ensure it continues in years to come.

“We are looking forward to it and hope the weather holds out,” said Colin. “We have once again had a lot to do but the air cadets of the 1803 (Hucknall) Squadron of the Air Training Corps (ATC) have been on board and that has been a massive help.

“There is going to be plenty to see and it is one of the biggest events of the year in the town.”

There will be attractions for children, trade stands and performances by the Rolls-Royce Brass Band who are based at the world-famous aero-engine companies headquarters in Derby.

Rolls is also Hucknall’s biggest employer from the airfield on Watnall Road and its aviation museum will be open to the public at the air show.

The site is steeped in history and Rolls operated the airfield as its flight-test establishment, with many famous engines making their first flights there.

Hucknall was also the base of the famous Flying Bedstead, which led to the development of the Harrier Jump Jet.

Hucknall air shows are renowned for their up-close and personal atmosphere, enabling visitors to get right up to many of the display aircraft and talk to the pilots.

ENTRY to the pageant is through Rolls-Royce gate number two, off Watnall Road, from 10am.

The admission price is £5 for adults and accompanied children under the age of 15 are allowed in for free.

Profits from the show will be donated to an array of charities, including the Rainbows Children’s Hospice in Loughborough, which has been chosen by Mr Hutson.