2021 sees the Essex seaside resort of Clacton celebrate its 150th Anniversary. In an ordinary year, the town’s popular annual airshow would have been a grand affair to mark such an important milestone. Sadly, the uncertainty thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic meant it was impossible for Tendring District Council to plan the full airshow with all its ground attractions and various displays. Instead, they presented displays by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Red Arrows as the ‘150th Anniversary Flights.’
Paul Johnson/Flightline UK reports from the opening Thursday. All photography by the author.
Traditionally, a busy weekend of air displays over the August Bank Holiday weekend is opened by the two-day Clacton Airshow. Tending District Council have really grown the airshow in recent years adding in an evening show on the Thursday plus an impressive ground show. Sadly, the uncertainty on social distancing restrictions meant it was impossible to plan for the ground show and other aspects of the event.
However, Tendring did persevere with some aerial action to mark the 150th Anniversary with flying displays from the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over the two days that would have normally seen the full airshow. Despite the scaled back event, the displays from the two RAF Display teams attracted a very healthy crowd on both days which hopefully boosted the town’s hard hit hospitality sector. With the Rotary Club also running the traditional car park area by Clacton Aero Club, the event also managed to raise some funds for local charities as well.
For Thursday’s visitors, there was the added bonus of a flypast from two United States Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing. Their flypast opened the displays just ahead of the BBMF’s appearance with a straight and level flypast before they powered skywards just north of Clacton Pier.
It was great to be back in Clacton for air displays celebrated the town’s 150th Anniversary and to see great support from locals and visitors alike. 2022 will see the return of the full Clacton Airshow over the weekend of 25th-26th August.