Thousands turn out for Sunderland International Airshow

Thousands of people turned their eyes skywards for a flight spectacle over the region's coastline


Thousands of people turned their eyes skywards for a flight spectacle over the region's coastline.

The roar of the Vulcan, the skill of the Red Arrows and for the first time an appearance of the Royal Netherlands Airforce AH64D Apache attack helicopter meant it was another bumper year at the Sunderland International Airshow.

Despite a wet start to its final day yesterday, the event didn’t disappoint with many taking to the internet to rave about what they’d witnessed.

Now in its 25th year the event, the largest free airshow in Europe, came to a close yesterday along the coast at Seaburn and Roker.

Kicking off proceedings was a party at Cliffe Park with live music from the band of HM Royal Marines Scotland and performances from local tribute band Re-Take That.

With more than 10 hours of flying displays the crowds pitched their fold-up chairs and picnic blankets to be wowed by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, flying in tribute to the aviators of the Second World War, the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team and the Royal Navy Black Cats Solo Lynx, Tucano and Typhoon.

With so many people expected to flood to the coastline, park and ride facilities were laid on with other travel advice encouraging people to use the Metro.

Heavy rain early on Sunday morning caused minor disruption to the number of park and ride buses able to run but failed to dampen the final day of festivities.

Steve Graham commented online: “can’t beat the Vulcan Roar!!! Great display Gents, long may she fly.”

While Red Arrows pilot Red Ten said online: “What a fabulous crowd. Hundreds of thousands of people. Thank you to the people of the North East.”

Such is the pull of the airshow that fans living in France and Oregan, America, watched it live online.

The final day of flyovers was rounded off with an enchanting night flight by the SWIP Twister Display Team followed by glittering fireworks lighting up Sunderland’s night sky.

This year’s event saw civilian displays from that SWIP Twister Display Team, the amazing daredevil Breitling Wingwalkers, the stunning Hawker Hunter aircraft Miss Demeanour and the beautiful flying boat, the Catalina.

Second World World veteran Lance Robson got the chance to relive his youth flying in the Catalina ahead of the festival, the aircraft he navigated nearly 70 years ago.

The 97-year-old pensioner who lives near Morpeth, Northumberland, leapt at the chance to climb back on the Catalina flying boat for the first time since 1945.

Derek Head, captain of the Catalina, said: “It’s an honour for our crew to meet Mr Robson. It’s a thrill to meet a veteran who flew in the Second World War on active service in Catalinas. Mr Robson has some interesting stories and tales about the long hours that he and his crew spent airborne.”

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s. It was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of the Second World War.


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