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Thousands joined us on the beach this weekend for what might have been summer’s last shout and the 10th Bournemouth Air Festival. We enjoyed three full days of fantastic action in the air, on the ground and at sea - with a wide range of displays from WWII fighters and fast jets to parachute jumpers and wingwalkers. And it wasn’t just the daytime flying that wowed the crowds – there were dusk displays, pyrotechnics and live music well into the evening. In celebration of 10 years, the event took on a very vintage feel, with historic aircraft across the weekend and a display of classic cars on the East Overcliff on Sunday.

The event is as appealing today as when it started in 2008. Its value to the local economy is estimated at more than £31 million each year and it supports 500 full time jobs. It's already an award-winning, international event but the 10th year saw even more records broken with more than 15,000 ice creams sold in one day, an estimated 1,020 boats in the bay and approximately 450,000 festival goers attending ‘Super Saturday’.

Despite a few scattered showers on the first day, all programmed displays went ahead and aircraft fans welcomed back festival favourites including the Blades, the Royal Air Force Chinook Display Team and aerobatic pilot, Gerald Cooper. Day one signed off in style with a performance from HM RM Band Collingwood in the Lower Gardens’ bandstand and live music on the beach.

Friday’s glorious dawn heralded a meet and greet with the RAF Red Arrows, who – thanks to sponsorship from Morgan Sindall – performed their awe-inspiring display every day except Sunday. We spoke to outgoing Squadron Leader Mike Ling, Red 10, who told us: “The Red Arrows always feel at home in Bournemouth... and it’s been a privilege to take part in each of the 10 festivals.”

The hot weather continued into Saturday, providing breath-taking views across the bay and the perfect backdrop for spactacular feats of derring-do. Firm friends of the festival the Tigers Parachute Display Team were back once again diving onto Bournemouth’s golden sands from knee-trembling heights and a solo Breitling Wingwalker limbered and flexed through the clear blue skies.

As well as the popular Red Arrows, high speed fun continued with jets including the MIG, Vampire Pair, Strikemasters and, back for the first time since 2009, the Russian Yakovlevs performed tandem twists and turns above the sparkling sea.

Dusk displays returned for another year with the Twister Duo, Otto the Helicopter and the Red Devils Parachute Regiment performed magical pyrotechnic displays against the weekend’s clear moonlit skies. Live music stages starring tribute acts and party bands, as well as children’s entertainment in the Lower Gardens and fireworks in the bay, completed the 2017 Night Air programme.

The forecast rain and high winds eventually set in on the final day but didn’t dampen the festival spirit. The Royal Navy carried out their final amphibious beach assault demonstration and those who braved the weather, saw a selection of classic motors on the East Overcliff. Although Sunday’s flying programme was cancelled, the spirit of the wartime tribute had already been honoured with a huge variety of historic aircraft across the weekend. Hordes of enthusiasts had already seen a Hurricane, Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, the ever-popular Sally B and a Blenheim featured in recent Hollywood blockbuster, Dunkirk. The Great War Display Team also put on a magnificent show in their flying machines on both Saturday and Sunday.

The armed forces always show great support for the Air Festival and this was evident across the resort. The Royal Marine reservists’ carried out impressive amphibious beach assault demonstrations supported by the Royal Navy’ ship, RFA Argus, as well as Hawk jets and a Wildcat helicopter. The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood also performed musical extravaganza, the Beat Retreat sunset ceremony, on the East Overcliff.

We were delighted to be able to put on three days of fabulous flying in spite of what the British weather threw at us on the final day and thrilled to confirm that Bournemouth Air Festival is back again next year, 30 August – 2 September 2018.


Bournemouth Air Festival
Typhoon flying upwards during their air festival display

Get set for the UK's biggest free air festival. 4 award-winning days of action and entertainment in the air, on land and at sea!



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