In the summer of 1992, the 20th FW at RAF Upper Heyford, UK, put on “Sky Pageant ’92” and opened the base to the public – here’s the 79th FS “NATO Tigers” flagship F-111E in the early morning rain that was beginning to let up.
I brought my son David out to the base before the airshow was open to the public to take a tour of the aircraft on “static display” – without having to fight the crowds – here’s my name on the nose gear door along with the name of one of the aircraft’s dedicated crew chiefs.
From a “nose on” perspective, the F-111E “Aardvark” or “Vark” looks pretty impressive – and an impressive aircraft it was; shortly after the improved avionics (AMP) and GPS capability were added, the decision was made to retire the entire fleet.
The rain had stopped and the weather was improving, but the ramp was still soaking wet as I gave David a tour of the airshow aircraft on display – this is the 55th FS flagship F-111E.
Weather can be very fickle in England, and ideal weather for an airshow is impossible to “schedule” – but the forecast was improving with every passing minute – this is the 77th FS flagship F-111E.
Here’s a look at the 20th FW aircraft display at Sky Pageant ’92 – the gray aircraft is the 42nd ECS flagship EF-111A “Raven.”
The 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron (ECS) provided USAFE and NATO with a unique EC aircraft that could fly as fast and far as any other aircraft it supported.
Here’s the 20th FW flagship F-111E, “The Chief” on display for Sky Pageant ‘ 92 – I previously posted photos of flying “The Chief” back for depot maintenance at McClellan AFB, CA.
Here’s the “fin flash” for the 20th FW flagship, “The Chief” at RAF Upper Heyford, UK – on display for Sky Pageant ’92.
The main attraction for Sky Pageant ’92 was the arrival of the MiG-29 “Fulcrum” from the 1. Letka “Tiger Squadron” in Czechoslovakia – which later split in 1993 into the independent nations of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic or “Slovakia” – the sign in the background says, “Sky Pageant ’92.”
This is the F-15E “Strike Eagle” or “Mud Hen” from the 48th FW at RAF Lakenheath, UK, which was a fairly new aircraft at the time – first introduced in 1989.
Another view of the F-15E “Strike Eagle” or “Mud Hen” – which has become the de facto replacement for the F-111 fleet after it was retired.
Here’s an RAF AV-8B Harrier II “Jump Jet” with a vertical launch and landing capability, but more commonly used with a short “rolling takeoff;” these will eventually be replaced with the F-35 which is now in pre-production flight testing.
A German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Panavia “Tornado” aircraft on display at Sky Pageant ’92; flown in different versions by the UK, Germany and Italy – and in this picture the tarmac was just beginning to dry.
Another look at the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Panavia “Tornado” from nose on, and like the F-111 it also has “swing wings” that enables it to fly at higher speeds.
The RAF “Buccaneer” shown here is one of the most unusual fighters – with its extended “air brake” trailing behind it like a tail; looking like it could be part of Captain Nemo’s submarine in the book, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
An RAF “Jaguar” multi-role fighter, which is in the “small jet” category along with the “Hawk” and the “Alpha Jet” (not pictured) – but the “Jaguar” has a much greater capability.
The RAF “Hawk T1A” was designed as a small two seat training aircraft, and fits into the same category as the “Jaguar” and “Alpha Jet” – not pictured here but which looks very similar to the “Hawk” with wings mounted high on the fuselage by the aircraft’s spine.
A Spangdahlem AB, Germany, F-4G “Wild Weasel,” “Phantom II” or “Rhino” from the 81st FS on display in the “air superiority gray” paint scheme.
Another look at the F-4G “Wild Weasel” from the 81st FS at Spangdahlem AB, Germany – the F-4G was retired from service shortly after participating in the Persian Gulf War.
A German Air Force (Luftwaffe) RF-4C “Phantom II” on the ramp for Sky Pageant ’92 – you can see the 20th FW’s flagship F-111E, “The Chief” in the background.