Record-Breaking Day At Bournemouth Air Festival

2 September 2013, 07:38

This year's Bournemouth Air Festival saw a record-breaking number of people go along in one day.

400,000 went along on the Saturday (31 August). In total, the sixth Bournemouth Air Festival saw 1.3 million festival-goers visiting the town.

The Festival started on Thursday with more than 200,000 visitors enjoying glorious sunshine and seeing displays from the Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Royal Navy Black Cat helicopter.

Friday saw the return of the ear-splitting RAF Typhoon display to the Bournemouth Air Festival - its first appearance in four years - with crowds of up to 235,000 people.

The glorious weather continued on Saturday, and with the Red Arrows opening the flying with their third display in Bournemouth, huge numbers of people packed the beaches and cliff tops before noon. By the time the Typhoon had closed the flying displays, a record-setting 400,000 people had visited the Festival site. Out to sea almost 1,000 boats were anchored amongst the Royal Navy vessels.

The Festival drew to a close on Sunday with another impressive crowd. Joining the 275,000 people ashore were more than 500 boats taking in the fantastic displays and unbroken sunshine. Whilst the Vulcan didn't display due to technical issues, the crowds enjoyed helicopter performances from the Royal Navy Black Cat, the Royal Navy Merlin and a Chinook display.

Also on show were Festival newcomers Patrouille Reva, British heritage jets the Vampire and Meteor, aerobatic aces The Blades and, drawing the flying to a close, Bournemouth favourite Jonathon Whaley in the elegant Miss Demeanour.

This was followed by the Royal Navy delivering a booming eight-gun salute from HMS Northumberland, before all six of their vessels departed in a coordinated formation. Accompanied by a Merlin helicopter hovering overhead, the ships moved west in unison, sounding their horns while HMS Northumberland fired off more shots from her gun before an enchanted crowd.

Hundreds of thousands lined the East Overcliff and seafront across the four days, keen to score pole position for views and images. Aviation action came from the Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon, Chinook, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Royal Navy Black Cats, The Blades and European Freestyle Champion Gerald Cooper to name but a few.

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines joined forces with the Army to create a must-see interactive military village area, with a 20-foot climbing wall, weapons display dome and Challenger tank among the highlights.

Out to sea was the Royal Navy's largest ever presence at the event, with six vessels appearing including the Type-23 frigate HMS Northumberland, which was open to visits for members of the public.

The stunning Dusk and Night Air displays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights saw combined crowds of 136,000 treated to fantastic aviation action by the SWIP Team Twister Duo, fearless Red Devils, O'Brien's Flying Circus and the Rolls Royce Spitfire.

Jon Weaver, Air Festival Director, said:

"It has been an amazing event this year, the sun shined, the entertainment was superb and more than a million people came to enjoy some of the world's best aviation teams perform spectacular displays.

"It was fantastic to see the Reds flying in their classic nine ship formation across Bournemouth's skyline, the magnificent Typhoon roaring through the skies and seeing the Royal Navy's eight-gun salute ending the Festival on a high. Like many Festival-goers we were disappointed that the Vulcan was unable to fly due to technical difficulties but people didn't let it dampen their spirits - there is always next year!

"It's been brilliant to have had such appreciative crowds, helping to make it one of our biggest and best ever Festivals so far."

The Royal Navy and Army Village gave prime vantage points for an incredible amphibious demonstration by the Royal Marines.

Commodore Jamie Miller CBE of the Royal Navy said:

"The best show yet with so many people seeing their Royal Navy and Royal Marines, our ships and aircraft, meeting the men and women who serve and being enthused.

"Thank you Bournemouth. More of the same next year & that is an order not a request! See you next year if you invite us!"

The RAF Village was buzzing with Festival-goers delighted to meet members of the display teams including the Red Arrows pilots and members of the iconic Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

Flight Lieutenant Leon Creese, pilot of the BBMF Lancaster said:

"It is always an honour to fly the wonderful aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Our aims are to remember the past and inspire future generations and I take great pride in playing my part in achieving both of these aims at the spectacular Bournemouth Air Festival."

The dates for the 2014 Air Festival have been confirmed Thursday 28 August - Sunday 31 August.