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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight display unlikely to perform at Herne Bay air show

By Dan Wright

Historic aircraft from the Second World War are unlikely to perform at two of Kent's leading air shows following engine issues.

A Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) team were due to appear at Herne Bay air show Saturday and on all three days of the Combined Ops Military & Air Show at Headcorn Aerodrome, starting tomorrow.

Their displays have been thrown into doubt over engine-related safety fears found during a routine inspection.

The Battle of Britain memorial flight
The Battle of Britain memorial flight

Herne Bay organiser Gerald McCarthy said: "It is looking rather unlikely, but it has not been ruled out until we have 100% confirmation.

"We are searching for another display element..." - Gerald McCarthy

"The inside information we have is that it is not completely ruled out yet, but we are waiting to hear what is happening.

"It will be disappointing not to see them."

Mr McCarthy says his team is looking to replace the BBMF squad, which was scheduled to perform at 4.40pm.

"We are searching for another display element," he added.

"We are going to try to get something as big and as loud as we can."

The engine issue relates to the Merlin powerplant, but Mr McCarthy says a Griffon-engined Spitfire from the BBMF team could still perform.

Saturday's display will feature the Red Arrows at 6.15pm, as well as a pyrotechnic display from the AeroSparx planes at 8.20pm.

Chris Yates of Headcorn Events said he is also looking to make alternative arrangements to replace BBMF, who were due to appear at 2.25pm tomorrow and 4.25pm on Saturday and Sunday, joined by pilots from Aero Legends.

He said: "Everything is still going to plan. With a lot of these old aircraft they do break regularly because some are 70 to 80 years old. It is all about safety, if something is not quite right we will not fly the aircraft."

The BBMF keeps six Spitfires,two Hurricane Mk 2Cs, a Lancaster and a C47 Dakota at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

A spokesman for the RAF said: "We are still operating Griffon powered aircraft, including Spitfires and Chipmunks.

"We realise the disappointment this will be to many supporters and Airshow organisers, however safety is our paramount concern."

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