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Well as expected the weather was not ideal today at the Little Gransden Airshow, thankfully not quite as bad as early forecasts suggested, but still not great. The weather did unfortunately affect the flying and various aircraft such as the Vulcan and B-17 were not able to make the show due to a band of inclement weather crossing the country. The light was also pretty awful for shooting so there's not going to be much photography to share from the flying, there will be some but not as much as usual. There will be a number of taxiing/take off shots to share though so not all bad. I cannot complain though as looking at the forecast last night, I expected far worse and we were lucky to get the majority of the flying acts in the air.
Well a week has now passed since the deeply sad and tragic events took place at Shoreham. Though I could sit here typing endless paragraphs bemoaning the treatment of this incident by the press and typically uncaring attitude toward sharing graphic imagery of such an event, the recent shooting in the US is another case in point. I am choosing instead to rise above it and support the industry that has given me so much pleasure over the last two decades.
I know from experience how seriously the industry takes safety and though the events last week clearly had terrible consequences, I have no doubt in my mind that this incident was not in anyway an indication that this particular event's obligations toward safety were not met. However there is a valuable and hard hitting lesson to be learned here. No matter how much we plan, no matter how much we put in place to prevent tragedy, these tragic accidents still happen. We should never be complacent about these things and assume it will never happen, despite an exemplary safety record.
I hope that going forward, those choosing to stand and watch an airshow from outside of the show ground itself will think twice before doing so. This has been a brutally clear message to them all that what they are doing is dangerous and can put their lives and the airshow industry itself at risk. Those in their cars that were sadly caught up in all of this were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's very sad indeed. However those who ignored all the clear signs that were placed on the road (I noticed them myself driving into the event) stating that they should not watch the airshow from these places made a choice to be there, and though their deaths or injuries are no less tragic, I hope in future that people will see that injury could so easily have been prevented. I also hope the airshow industry and community at large do more to stop people from doing so also. Other events are heavily policed such as football matches and other sporting events, so why not airshows? Airshows are the second most popular outdoor activity in the UK, second only to football so why not police the airfield boundaries properly?
Anyway we all have to learn to live with this incident and move on. They say the show must go on and for airshows this is the case too. My camera and I will be back in action tomorrow at the Children in Need Air Display at Little Gransden. I am not looking forward to hearing or participating in the inevitable discussions and "were you there?" conversations that will take place tomorrow as this can very often be as speculative as reading the newspapers. But it's a small price to pay to be back doing what I love. The weather unfortunately is looking like it will be poor. Possibly raining for much of the morning or at the very least heavy cloud. There's nothing that can be done about that though and we have been pretty fortunate on the whole this year for weather with a good amount of sun falling on display days so I guess it's just one of those things, cartainly I cannot complain. Who knows though, forecasts have been wrong before, it may well be sunny yet...