North East leaders hope Sunderland Airshow 2014 brings benefits to all the region

Councillor Paul Watson said he hopes the Sunderland event has knock on benefits for the rest of the North East

 

Civic leaders say they hope Sunderland Airshow 2014 can be “an attraction for all the North East” as the annual airborne extravaganza takes to the skies.

Thousands of people will this weekend line Wearside’s shores to enjoy incredible aerial displays, acrobatics, vintage aircraft, music and family entertainment - for free.

But Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said its benefits would be felt far beyond the borders of the city.

“It’s nice to showcase the city but I hope the airshow is a great attraction for the North East too, bringing in people from far and wide. As council work closer and closer together I’d like to see the benefits spread far and wide around the region.

“And it would be nice to let this be known not as a Sunderland event but as a North East event.”

The free annual airshow will be in the air above Roker and Seaburn in the coming days - and to kick it off organisers visited Newcastle International Airport, where many of the planes and helicopters will be based during their flying visit to the region.

“As ever I think it will be a fantastic event - so long as the weather does us a favour,” said airshow director Sue Stanhope.

“I always think Friday night is great because it has such a family party atmosphere, and everyone loves the fireworks at the end.

“And over the weekend I’m particularly looking forward to seeing a pair of Dakotas and a Norwegian Vampire jet, as it’ll be the first time we’ve had those.

“Then on the ground we have the BBC bringing its World War One At Home tour - and we’re one of only eight places that it’s going to.”

On Saturday and Sunday the airshow will be open from 10am to 6pm, with flying displays taking place between 12.20pm and 5pm on Saturday and 12 noon and 5.15pm on Sunday.

In the air will be a variety of military and civilian planes including the RAF Typhoon Display Team, the Sea Kings of 771 Squadron - which specialises in search and rescue - the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team.

The Breitling Wingwalkers will also be on show, as are the Blades aerobatics team, who on Friday took Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup winner Micky Horswill on a “mind blowing” rollercoaster ride in the skies.

“I played in the big matches with 100,000 people watching and I was fine with that, but going up in this plane I was not so sure. We had our safety briefing and they said if the worst comes to the worst, just unbuckle your seatbelt, give the thumbs up to the pilot and jump out - like that’s the most normal thing to do.

“I do not like heights - I am frightened of going up ladders - so going up in this I was petrified. But it was a fantastic experience - and just mind boggling.”

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