RAF Northolt Open Day - Nortfest

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Today was RAF Northolt's Open Day. This event was only open to the local community via ticket sales, and it sold out quickly. The last time that RAF Northolt had a community open day was two years ago, and that year marked 100 years of the airforce base, which opened in 1915. RAF Northolt has one runway, and it handles a lot of private flights. I live near RAF Northolt, and although it's not that busy, I do see military and private aircraft use the runway. The royals and politicians are said to use it too. I've seen Spitfires do displays outside the base, the planes fly overhead after the Queen's birthday fly-past, and I've seen a VIP car with blacked-out windows and a convoy of additional cars and police (perhaps the queen?) stop the traffic and drive out of the base.


RAF Northolt was the home of the Hawker Hurricane aircraft and the location of the Polish Squadron in World War II. (A monument called The Polish War Memorial commemorates them near the base.) The base is not far from Pinewood Studios, so it has been used in several popular films, such as James Bond and Battle of Britain. 


Although we have been having beautiful weather, we did not have luck with that weather today. We walked to the base in the rain, although it rained off and on. I thought that the best plan would be to see inside the A400M plane as it was the largest plane on display. (I wish that more planes would have been on display.) The queue was already very long. 



In the end, we waited for over two hours to get onto the back of the A400M. Most of the time we waited, we did not have to deal with the rain too much, and the sun did come out a bit. 



After we got into the loading area of the plane, we had to wait another hour before we were at the front of the queue (on the left) to see the cockpit. As we had waited for so long, it did not make sense to leave.


Finally, we got to see the cockpit, which was worth it. 



After we finished, we headed over to the Chinnock helicopter.



We had a look inside and peeked into the cockpit.



While hanging around the Chinnock, we saw a Spitfire fly by a couple of times. (There was also meant to be a Dakota fly over at about 4:00, but we did not stay quite that long as the rain was very heavy.)


We had lunch, and I had a Slushie and wished that it was a sunny and hot day.


The main hangars were also open with one plane being repaired on display. The other areas were populated with some stands selling toys, collectibles, and other items. A lot of games and attractions were available to keep children busy, and RAF Northolt did a great job of organising this. I saw face-painting, clowns, video games, rides, racing cars, and timed attractions.


Also on display were army vehicles, and a lot of these were packing up early due to the weather.






Overall, we had a good time. The weather spoiled it a bit because the rain made us very wet and people were leaving early due to it. I do wish that there had been an area to see more about the history of RAF Northolt and to read more about it; there was a lot to do for children but not a lot for adults. I also would have enjoyed seeing more grounded planes and fly-pasts. I understand that the 2015 event was a larger one, and they did put on an air show as well. Everyone seemed to have a good time, even though others were also waiting awhile to see the A400M plane. Well done, RAF Northolt for putting on a show and also allowing me to tick a visit to RAF Northolt off my bucket list (since I live so close to it).

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