Held in the picturesque Cambridgeshire countryside, the Little Grandson Air and Car show is one of the most popular small air shows in the country. The whole event is run in aid of Children in Need and provides important funding for that charity each year.
The show ground was covered with a great variety of stalls and, as the name suggests, a number of classic car displays. These attractions alongside the arriving aircraft provided plenty of entertainment ahead of the flying display in the afternoon.
Another display on offer, for a small additional charge was the Hawker Hurricane and Fury restorations taking place on the airfield, a fascinating chance to get an up close look at these two iconic aircraft as they are restored to their former glory.
The main flying display began after lunch and thankfully the bad weather forecast had not yet arrived. Clive Denny opened up the show with a solo display in the Kent Spitfire – Mk IX TA805. This display made great use the curved display line while combining flowing aerobatics and a number of victory rolls.
The Calidus Auto-Gyro, which always leaves a great impression, put on a great show making good use of the short display line available. The Calidus was followed by a dynamic solo display from a Yak-52 including a live radio link to the pilot during the display.
Captain Neville’s Flying Circus has been a stalwart of the UK Airshow Circuit for years now. Despite that i’ve managed to miss them for a few years so it was a welcome sight to see the Jackaroo, Queen Bee, Tiger Moth, Emerald and Chipmunk performing barnstorming, including limbo flying, balloon bursting and flower bombing. As a reprise of this sequence we also saw a solo aerobatic routine from the Chipmunk in tricky conditions later in the afternoon.
A star of the show was Peter Holloway’s Ryan STA, putting in the best performance I have seen to date. The sweeping sequence was close to the crowd and was a great sight and sound making a rare appearance away from Old Warden.
2016 has thankfully been a less difficult year than expected for the UK Classic Jet scene. Little Gransden saw an excellent solo outing for the Yellow Jacks Folland Gnat from the Gnat display team. It would be easy for such a small aircraft to be lost when performing on its own, but there were no such problems at this show.
It had been hoped that there would be a pair of Yak-11s displaying on the day but Rob Davies’ example was unable to make it. Thankfully Rob Davies did bring his T-6 Texan, which has recently re-flown and flew a classic aerobatic display in the classic trainer.
Another warbird highlight came with the arrival of Dave Harvey in Hurricane Heritage’s Battle of Britain veteran Hurricane I R4118. It is always a treat to see this historic veteran in the air and Dave Harvey gave a close, flowing display.
Little Gransden is home to a host of classic vintage aircraft that are rarely seen at other shows throughout the season. A highlight from the home-team was a very spirited pairs display from the Spartan Executives, in some pretty miserable weather. Other Gransden based displays included the Stearman and Yak 11.
An unusual pairing was the Yak-50 and Piston Provost, which after a formation pass each performed flowing aerobatic displays in these classic radial trainers, a fine pairs display that would make a great inclusion at future airshows.
As will by now have become clear, rarely seen performers are almost a theme of a Gransden show and the Army Co-operation segment was a clear example of that. A trio of Cessna Bird Dog, Ryan Navion and Auster. All three aircraft performed together before breaking off into a short tail chase and opposition display a real highlight and an unexpected bonus.
Two american heavies performed as the show came to an end, Plane Sailing’s Catalina took centre stage first with an imposing display before B-17 Sally B put on one of the best performances I have seen from this classic bomber making great use of the smaller venue.
The finale of the days flying came from the Global Stars team, their close formation aerobatics, combined with Mark Jeffries incredible solo routine made for a fitting close to a varied afternoon’s flying.