Fairford in the early 1990s. I'd never been to an air show before but I was dragged along by Colin Pike, expecting it to be mildly entertaining with the odd plane taking off and the Red Arrows turning up to do their stuff but this was the most amazing spectacle. It left Madonna at Sceaux Parc, Dire Straits at the NEC, Art Garfunkel (not a natural stadium artiste) and even Springsteen at the Villa Park in its wake.
We stood barely a hundred yards from Concorde landing and taking off, there was the incredible sight of the red arrows following a spitfire at about 100mph and none of them actually looking like they'd fall out of the sky. Then there was the Sukoi, I think it was an S27 which just walked up and down the runway on its tail before taking off into the stratosphere like a rocket. Also we had the first glimpse of the B1 stealth bomber which came in like a UFO. The whole thing finished off with the Harriers doing a last hurrah whilst we headed for our car to avoid the inevitable queue.
It was all bewildering and much as I don't want to celebrate the war machine that drives this technology you have to admire the engineering. Unfortunately I don't have a single picture to show for it. I do however have several thousand from this year's show and I've picked this one as my favourite because it sums up some of the reactions at least from having a very loud aircraft with its afterburners flying yards over your head.
Also it's the best place to stand as long as you don't mind being in a potentially dangerous spot. It's free, it's just next to where all the planes land and you aren't moved on so I guess some basic risk assessments have been carried out. Watch out for the ice cream van though because it's acually louder than an SR-71.