But now it has emerged that this year’s show may have been the last.
It became obvious, the moment the Ministry of Defence announced the transfer of Leuchars from the RAF to the Army, that the days of the Leuchars Air Show were numbered.
However, most people assumed – with good reason – that changeover would take several years to implement, leaving room for a few last glorious September days filled with the swooping of jet fighters, the throaty roar of Merlin engines and the sweet tang of unburned aviation fuel in the air.
But maybe not. There does now seem to be a serious question-mark on whether the Leuchars Air Show will ever take place again.
Something seems to have changed inside Whitehall and it doesn’t seem to be good for the future of the show.
According to SNP MSP Roderick Campbell, who has taken up cudgels on behalf of the show, the UK government’s approach to the future of the show appears to have moved. Indeed, no one at the MoD can guarantee anything for next year.
Scottish secretary Michael Moore had previously said the airshow will continue for the “next few years” – however a recent letter from defence minister Nick Harvey to Mr Campbell stated “As yet there has been no major discussion on the future of the airshow as part of the overall plan for RAF Leuchars. Unfortunately, at this stage I cannot tell you what will happen beyond this year’s show.”
Mr Campbell says that he is now seeking assurances from the UK government that the airshow will be backed for at least the next three years.
Mr Campbell, MSP for North East Fife, said: “The UK government must confirm the future of the airshow along with the plans for the future of the base as a matter of urgency.
“The airshow’s future is of paramount importance and is worth over £1 million to the local economy over the next three years. It is crucial to the wellbeing of so many businesses in the area.”
And he added: “The UK government’s position on the future of the Leuchars airshow is a complete shambles.
“Who is telling the truth here – the Defence minister or the Scottish secretary? The continued uncertainty over the future of the base and the transfer of the army is already causing great concern in the local community, the last thing we need now more uncertainty with the questions over the future of this much loved show.”The Leuchars airshow regularly attracts more than 50,000 people for the one-day event. In Scottish terms, it is big. For Fife, it is huge.
This year’s show wasn’t a vintage one, to be honest, but that was because of the weather. The cloud was low and thick to start with, which hindered the arrival of some aircraft.
It then poured with rain for half an hour in the afternoon, which caused further scheduling and flight problems – not to mention dampening the spirits of the visitors.
But it was still a fabulous event – and it was not a bad pay day for the makers of earplugs, either.
It would be a shame, a real shame, for the show to go out on the damp note of this year’s show. There are boys – of all ages – all over Scotland who share Mr Campbell’s desire for the government to think again.