Bournemouth Air Festival 2018 celebrates 11th gravity-defying year

Bournemouth Air Festival 2018 celebrates 11th gravity-defying year

Caption: Four of the Breitling jets powering skyward on 2 September © CatchBox

Bournemouth, Events | Posted: Monday, September 3rd, 2018 at 12:26 pm | return to news

Bournemouth Air Festival 2018 celebrates 11th gravity-defying year

Among an action-packed programme, the 11th Bournemouth Air Festival showcased a futuristic jet suit that looked straight out of a superhero movie and a UK first with the Breitling Jet Team.

Bournemouth Air Festival 2018 celebrates 11th gravity-defying year

Caption: Four of the Breitling jets powering skyward on 2 September © CatchBox

A phenomenal 1,006,000 people attended the Bournemouth Air Festival between 30 August and 2 September, with the good weather tempting almost 2,000 boats into the bay. One of the big draws was the ever-popular Red Arrows who thrilled spectators on three of the days.

Overall, 2018 saw festival firsts, fast jets and very vintage fun in celebration of RAF100.

Day one saw a surprise Tornado flypast, Super Pitts Muscle Plane and Team Raven, bringing their four-ship formation display to Bournemouth for the first time.

Friday saw tens of thousands flock to the seafront to witness the very first flight of the Gravity Industries Jet Suit Display Team pair in their display supported by the GREAT Britain campaign. Pioneering ground-breaking technology, the team lifted off from Bournemouth Pier and flew along the beach to the drop zone in three entertaining and eventful shows.

Director of Flight Training, Dr Angelo Grubisic broke the team’s Jet Suit Speed Record, flying at 74 kmph – beating the Guinness World Record of 51.3 kmph set in November last year. Richard Browning, founder and chief test pilot, was also able to fly the longest distance of 1.4km – further than the team has ever flown before.

Richard said, “At Gravity Industries we are always developing and testing our technology. It’s been the most fantastic week, pushing boundaries, and we very much look forward to coming back to display at Bournemouth Air Festival and potentially grow a part of our international race series across the waterfront.”

On what is commonly now dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows concluded three days of show-stopping aerobatic displays – supported by World Fuel Services. Hugely popular with crowds around the world, the team is a firm favourite of Bournemouth Air Festival.

Adam Collins, Red 10, said “The response from the Bournemouth Air Festival crowd has been tremendous – particularly in 2018, the 100th anniversary of the RAF – and the Red Arrows have taken great pleasure in seeing so many young people at the event inspired to think about their potential future in science, technology, engineering and maths. Bournemouth always delivers a great festival and will always remain a highlight of our display season.”

This year, the festival also welcomed the international Breitling Jet Team, displaying for the very first time in the UK. The French team was a well-received, with reams of favourable comments on social media.

Jacques Bothelin, team leader and manager, said, “It’s our first time to Bournemouth and we are so happy to be in the UK. We’re really enjoying ourselves. The Air Festival is very professionally organised with a great atmosphere. It’s such a beautiful sight especially when we flew at dusk.”

Not content with more than 14 hours of fantastic daytime flying, Bournemouth Air Festival brought back its unique Night Air programme, including the incredible helicopter “Otto”, featuring over 2,000 pyros. The Breitling jets also returned for evening displays alongside family entertainment in the Lower Gardens, live music on the beach, unarmed combat demonstrations and the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth in a beat retreat performance.

Saturday and Sunday were also dedicated to celebration of the RAF centenary and commemoration of the end of World War I. A Very Vintage Weekend took place on the East Overcliff with classic cars, live music and even dancing in the street. There was a fitting backdrop of wartime displays including the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) – starring the Hurricane, Dakota and Spitfire.

Proving that it truly is so much more than just an air show, the festival site was once again complete with Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army villages, as well as a huge variety of trading stalls along the promenade and clifftops. With the addition of HMS Diamond in the bay, this year’s anchorage tours were extremely popular and sold out by the last day.

RNLI lifeboat crews were out and about amongst the air show flotilla and attended a few minor shouts including having to trace a vessel that was blocking the airwaves.

Festival director Jon Weaver said, “We’ve had jet teams, stunt pilots, display teams, pyros and international aircraft. It’s been a diverse, exciting and adrenaline-fuelled line-up with land, air and evening entertainment. The weather has been incredible and we also owe a huge thank you to the hundreds and thousands of people who have come to watch and enjoy the festival – see you all next year.”

Bournemouth Air Festival will be back again on 29 August-1 September 2019.

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