Manston airshow 2013

Discussion in 'Warbird Displays' started by DVH, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. DVH

    DVH Member

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    Just got back from the Manston airshow in Kent UK.
    This show has returned after a 20 year absence. What a shame, they should have left it alone.
    A queue is one thing, I expect congestion at a large event, but a queue of cars nine miles long, that leaves people waiting for six or more hours and cripples the roads of west kent is totally unacceptable.
    My journey of an expected one hour expanded to six hours. I left home in plenty of time, and still got there so late I missed the whole show. I was thinking that maybe we should at least enter the grounds for a toilet break and some much
    needed water, then head home dissapointed, but after witnessing the shambolic scene, I decided to turn straight back. Trying to even leave the car park took another one hour!
    Duxford has a larger airshow every year, and manages perfectly well. i will never go near this Manston airshow ever again, it was the most ill organized shambles i've ever had the misfortune to witness.
    My advice to anyone in the UK , is avoid this airshow in future. The roads servicing this site are completely inadequate, and the organisers are incompetent.
    I am going to demand a refund, and a reimbursement of my fuel costs, i used a whole tank full in my epic all day car journey. Eight hours in total, instead of the two hours it should have taken. And I didn't see a single aircraft, except the
    spitfire flying as i battled to leave the car park, but by that time I just didn't care.
     
  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Sounds rather like the RAF Cosford show, two weeks ago. I was fortunate in the route I used from where I live in Cheshire, but was still delayed by about an hour, and a further 20 minutes actually getting through the gate to what should have been a reserved Disabled car parking area, on tarmac, near the mobility scooter provider, but ended up 400 metres from the flight line, on the grass. We missed the opening few acts of the show, which also seemed to start two hours earlier than advertised - 10.30 am for the start of a flying programme seems exceptionally early to me.
    But me and my mate Mick were lucky - we'd arranged to meet Karl (rochie), who'd left the North East at sparrow's fart to get there with an ETA of around 09.00 to meet us, but got stuck for four hours on the hard shoulder of the M54, in the que for the show, some eight miles from the field!
    He eventually got in to the chaotic ground organisation of the show well over an hour after us!
    I can't understand how large airfields such as Cosford and Manston, with more than one entry point, can get so congested with traffic trying to get in, (and just as long getting out) when, as you mentioned, Duxford is relatively straight forward, and it's on a terrible junction with the Motorway and dual carriageway.
    I used to work air side at my local air show, on a small grass strip where around 50,000 were packed in, and although there were of course ques, the traffic flowed and the Police and the gate and parking marshalls kept things moving.
    You have my sympathy, as it's a real bummer when you not only get delayed, but miss the show. In my case, I was p*ssed off with not being able to get near the flight line due to thousands of mini 'camp sites' between the cars and tents, right up to the fence line, packed with general public who were mainly there for a day out, and appeared to have little genuine interest in the displays. This hit home even harder, as I had thought Cosford would not be as busy or as packed as the average Duxford show, and would be a good introduction, for me, to the 'public' side of an air show, something I hadn't done for many years, and the first time since getting this crippling disability. I think that, after that experience, Duxford would be a breeze!
    Thanks for the info regarding Manston, as I had considered going there, or Old Buckenham, then cancelling due to Mick's work rota. I'll know for next year, and strike it off the 'potential show' list !!
     
  4. DVH

    DVH Member

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    Hey airframe, sounds like you had the UK airshow experience as well, ie total chaos. My sympathy to you.
    I had booked my mansion tickets because it was local, so thinking it would be an easy journey, ha!
    I feel sorry for the dedicated people who maintain and fly these vintage aircraft, having their hard work tarnished by idiots running the event.
    Its a syndrome that's becoming more evident in the UK, people are halfheartedly strolling through their job, and hiding behind the company when they cause totall failure. No one is bothered at the prospect of lletting people down, because its 'just not their problem. '
    Failure is actively encouraged by this attitude of no blame, in all fields, that's why the banking, railway and health care services are so bad here.
    I needed that rant .my national pride is fully evaporated.
     
  5. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    man that sucks...totally ruined day....
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I'm hoping to maybe get to the end of season show at Duxford, about a three hour drive on a 'normal' day, as I've decided to take my chance with the crowds. After Cosford, it can't be any worse, and at least everything is on a straight line at DX.
    Hopefully, total time of travel, including getting in, will be no more than five hours on the way there,allowing fopr air show traffic, and hope the traffic marshalls get things right and direct me to the proper Disabled car park!
    Coming back isn't a concern - wait until the field and traffic clears, then get to a pre-booked local hotel or inn !
    Weather, of course, is the main concern - nothing worse than an open airfield on a wet day!
     
  7. DVH

    DVH Member

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    I have good experiences with duxford, they are well organised, and its a good show. You get to see lots of low flypasts, and the commentary is well done.
    I think you'll enjoy it. Assuming the weather is ok.
     
  8. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    i sypathise DVH as Terry said i spent 4 hours on the M54 at Cosford, though at least we got in if a bit late and i saw all i went to see display wise
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yep, it was worth the hassle just to see the mighty Vulcan again !
    As for DX, I've been there many times, but the last time I did an air show there, I flew in, so no hassle either getting in, or once there.
    Karl, you fancy the end of season show, or the Spitfire day at DX? Would possibly stay over locally after the show, rather than blatt back the same evening, which could possibly mean seeing some departures the following day.
     
  10. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    What a shame Terry, Manston is such a big airfield and setting for an airshow. Its funny, when I lived in the UK in the 1990s I used to go to airshows a lot and the only ones I recall having any issue with getting to in terms of queues was IAT at Fairford. The first time I went to Fairford we got stuck in a traffic jam, not unlike the ones you guys describe. On two occasions I went I stayed locally; one time I hitched a ride from Cirencester and got picked up by an American serviceman staying on base. Another time I pitched a tent, along with a lot of other folks in a farmer's field for a night, within walking distance of the base.

    It seems that traffic queues are getting more prevalent at airshows these days where in some cases they hadn't been an issue before. Any thoughts as to why? I know you guys mentioned why at Cosford, but queuing in cars seems to be de rigeur rather than the exception, or am I not going to as many now?
     
  11. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    will certainly have a look and see if i can make one of them
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    OK mate, I'll re-check the dates, and see how Mick is fixed for work rotas, and be in touch.
    Grant, Cosford was the first show I've been to on the 'public' side for many years, so I don't really know the answer to the traffic problems. In this instance, it might be at least partially due to the relatively long spell of good weather - 8 days without rain, and quite a bit of sun - as we haven't had that for six years, since 2006!
    It could also be partially as a result of budget cuts in local Councils and Police Forces across the country, which I think would have an impact on funding for road signs, and Police traffic control etc.
    I didn't experience the delays that Karl had, but it was evident that the poor guys in charge of traffic marshaling and parking, on the field, had been under pressure, due, no doubt, to what must have been organised chaos turning away those without pre-paid tickets. This was reflected in the parking arrangements, and just seeing the huge mass of cars and people gave some indication of what it must have been like for the two or three hours prior to our eventual entry to the field.
    That said, at Cosford the actual parking arrangements appeared to be lacking from the outset, either by accident due to the huge influx, or at the planning stage, as allowing vehicles so close to the crowd line, with enough space between each vehicle to fit another one and half vehicles (or more) which resulted in people setting up chairs, tables etc, restricted parking slots overall, and made it impossible to get within 200 meters to the fence line, at best.
    I think it would have been better to have a 'forward line', maybe 100 meters deep, or less, back from the fence line, where car parking ended. This would have allowed an open area up to the fence line, where the public could either line the fence (if they got there in time!), or set-up their 'camps' further back, which in turn would have allowed all vehicles to be parked with 'normal' spacing between each vehicle.
    By doing this, at worst the same number of vehicles would have gained access, and probably more, which would have minimised the problems at the gate, and greatly reduced the traffic delays on, and from, the primary route to the field.
    I know what's involved in organising and executing these arrangements at air shows, and it's not as easy as it sounds, so I won't criticise the organisers too much. But, perhaps they will have learned from this, and things might be better next year, although I doubt I'll be going there again for a show.
     
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