|Red Arrows displaying the Vixen break|
I absolutely love Bournemouth beach and love to come every summer just to get a little taste of the summer sun that is so fleeting and rare. Be it to tan the buns in the sun, enjoy lazying by the sea on the sand, taking a trip to the quay, or riding up the air gondola to get the best view of the city and sea from up high, Bournemouth is one of the most visited beaches in the southern coasts of UK and I can see why. About 40-45 mins drive away from Southampton, being one of the few beaches that boasts of golden sandy shores especially in the heat of the summer, it is indeed a very loved and coveted place for everyone to come and enjoy a piece of warm heaven here. If you wonder what else does this beautiful place have to offer then please read my little review article on what to do when in Bournemouth here in my old post.
However, the biggest highlight of the beach has to be its annual air show that show cases some of the best, most reputed air crafts, booming sonic jet, gigantic helicopters, some really impressive manouvers and even vintage real war crafts that have saved the British soil and maintained its integrity in the olden days. Every year there are several air shows that take place throughout the country such as the Eastbourne air show, the Falmouth air show, the Weymouth air show, cowes week, and so on (the full list here), showcasing for 3-5 days, and yet 100s of folks come to witness the impressive showmanship of the military forces (especially the fighter pilots from the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Navy (RN) and the marines) here at Bournemouth by the fleet with not just the whole family but also their dogs... Really, at times it almost feels like a dog show that air show (LOL).
Bournemouth Air Festival is one of the most sought after events for air craft enthusiasts, it is also one of the most important platforms for the RAF, RN and marines to recruit young cadets and inspire younger audiences. It is one of the best Tourism Event in the country! Award winning and internationally renowned, they boast the fact that in May, Air Festival organisers were awarded GOLD by Visit England. Since 2008 the Air Festival has welcomed more than 7 million people to the UK’s leading resort. The Patrons scheme was launched in 2010 and has raised in excess of £80,000 for Air Festival charities, nominated by the Armed Forces. They have had incredible jets and display teams from the RAF and RN (who regard the festival as a key event in their calendar), won the Green Apple environmental award in 2011 and been recognised for Marketing and PR by the European Airshow Council (2010, 2012 and 2014). See this year's line ups here.
With a sea of people everywhere from the beach to the pier to the plethora of military weapons on display, to the various interesting food, beer and souvenir stalls set up during the air festival, the Bournemouth seafront is fully loaded with joy rides, sand bars, and marquees that offer endless fun and exquisite hospitality for one and all. The Marquees are generally a little expensive but provide a fantastic experience with delicious food, chilled beverages and superb service, providing the perfect location to watch the stunning aviation action with VIP treatment. The various different stalls open for public leisures include the usual coffee bars, chip shops, hog roast stalls, fashion stalls, and even a few novelty stores.
From morning till night fall there are numerous incredibly spectacular displays of skills and showmanship from a roster of very renowned pilots, from fighter jets like the world famous Red Arrows to helicopters, sky divers to the vintage stratigic bomber, Vulcan, for which this was sadly the very last year of its flight after which it was to be decommisioned forever.
Here are a few pics that I could capture with my phone cam:
The amazing Red Arrows are bright red fighter jets who are one of the biggest highlights of the event. The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Scampton, comprising of 9 pilots per display, who are rotatory among the 91 pilots currently permitted to fly the aircrafts. Everyday of the Airshow they perform at about 3:45 PM, displaying several neat and perfectly excecuted formations in perfect order, including the British flag coloured smokes. Read all about them here.
|The Apollo formation|
|Red Arrows come together to form one big feathered arrow formation|
|T for Tango... Tango formation|
The Air display ended with the best one saved for the last, the Vulcan. The Vulcan came into RAF service in 1960, was once UK's first line of defence against a nuclear attack. This year it was the final flight of this magestic beast of an aircraft and it brought tears to the eyes of many a fellow who know its worth.
Here are some more amazing close-up pictures courtesy of Victoria Silverton