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First day of Bournemouth Air Festival looks set to be record breaker
THE first day of Bournemouth’s Air Festival was looking like the busiest Thursday in the event’s short history.
That was the view of Bournemouth Tourism director Mark Smith, a year on from the deluge which threatened to sink last year’s event on day one.
Despite a few raindrops minutes before the Red Arrows’ opening display yesterday, the sun shone on the whole afternoon’s flying.
Mr Smith said later: “I think it’s going to be our best Thursday – even better than our first year. I think it’s going to be a record day.”
There were some disappointments in the afternoon, with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight grounded by wind conditions in the North East and the RAF Tutor cancelled because of “technical issues”. But thousands enjoyed almost two hours of flying.
An Army Lynx helicopter performed aerobatics and there was a surprise flypast by an RAF Merlin chopper.
The RAF Tucano and the Beech King Air BE200 training aircraft both performed gravity-defying manoeuvres.
The Tigers – the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiments Parachute Display Team – leapt from a plane 3,500ft above the ground, falling at up to 100mph as they dropped towards the sea.
The RAF Hawk display plane, piloted by former Red Arrows leader Ben Murphy, astonished the crowds, and the afternoon was rounded off by the Hunter aircraft Miss Demeanour performing stunts and barrel rolls.
Among the crowds were Carol and Colin Heywood, visiting Boscombe , who came last year when the Thursday was wrecked by flooding.
“We came last year but it was rained out. We stayed in the flat playing games,” said Carol.
“This was the best display I’ve seen for a long time.”
Sean and Margaret Sullivan, visiting with Air Cadet son Michael, were impressed. “Bournemouth was buzzing with all the activity,” said Margaret.