Many Royal Air Force bases have a history of organising a yearly Friends & Families day, in order to thank the families and relatives for their supporting the forces. RAF Odiham is one of these bases who yearly open up their gates, and the Bronco Demo Team was kindly invited to participate the 2011 show which took place on August 10th. RAF Odiham is one of the main helicopter bases and houses three RAF support helicopter squadrons, flying the Chinook, and one Army Air Corps Lynx squadron.
Early morning, Tony flew the Bronco from Wevelgem to Odiham with a quick stop at Duxford to deliver some parts for Bronco n°2. The Bronco was parked on the main ramp next to the historical control tower, dating from the 50’s.
In the morning all aircraft arrived, both for static and flying displays. After the arrivals, the visitors could bring a visit to the ramp and many people were interested in the Bronco. Visitors were given answers to their questions and leaflets were handed out. The Bronco was joined by a Tornado GR.4, a Dakota and a de Haviland Dove in the static park. One of the special aircraft on display was the recently restored Meteor T.7 WA591 who made its first flight only weeks before the event. The Meteor was at Odiham for repainting back to its original RAF color scheme.
Many children were given an incredible experience with a flight in the mighty Chinook. Visitors could also take a look inside the RAF Puma, Chinook and Merlin helicopters. On the base a large funfair was erected to provide the families and children a great day out.
In the afternoon it was time for the flying display which included a nice variety of participating aircraft. The show was blessed with a clear blue sky. Military displays were performed by the Apache, King Air, Tutor, Tucano, Hawk and a role demo by the Tornado force. But the show was stolen by the home based Chinook demonstration. Next to the military participants, also a nice variety of civil aircraft took to the skies, from the slow An-2 to the fast jets like the Jet Provost and F-86. O’Briens Flying Circus also performed a very attractive demonstration with the Piper Cub. Two nice display team also flew over Odiham, the Aerostars flying four Yak 50’s and the famous Blades flying four Extra 300’s. No air shows without warbirds, and Odiham attracted some very nice ones like the B-17, Skyraider and the awesome Sea Fury, what a sight and sound.

After the show, Tony flew back home in the Bronco and the rest of the crew made the long trip back by van, but time was taken for a quick stop at the Burger King before taking the Channel tunnel.

We would like to thank everyone of the RAF Odiham organisational team for their great hospitality, and we hope to come back next year for another great show.

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