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For a great weekend look no further than the bournemouth air festival
Bournemouth Air Festival (Dorset)
Member Name: F1Princess
Bournemouth Air Festival (Dorset)
Advantages: Only car parking charges apply its free to watch and some great acts
Disadvantages: some acts do not fly in bad weather and its only once a year
I live not far from Bournemouth and at the end of august decided to visit the inaugural More bus Air Festival.
I am so glad I did!!!!
*+* OVERAL IDEA *+*
OK so back around a year ago it was released in the local news Bournemouth was going to put on a free air show that would last for 4 days in the summer. Like many local residents we believed the free part would change and for the first year of the event it had little potential. The idea was for the planes to perform over the sea, just off the beach between the two piers of Bournemouth and Boscombe.
In the build up to the event some acts were announced the first of these was the red arrows who were not only doing a display one day but would be at the event 3 days out of the 4. Being a big fan of the red arrows since I was a little girl this did encourage me to look into going one day. Little did I know that one day would turn into 2 and some of the best days of the summer.
*+* THE ATTRACTIONS *+*
The list of planes and teams read a little like a who's who of air festivals. Headliners for Friday, Saturday and Sunday were of course the ever great Red Arrow display team but they had some serious competition on Saturday. On the bill was The blades display team made up of ex red arrow pilots who managed to control madness to perform a display with only 4 planes that had the crowd gasping at the closeness of the aircraft, with mid air stalling of the engines and flipping one of the planes nose over tail backward it really was a sight to be seen. Lining up alongside the Blades to compete with the Red Arrows was the Yakovlevs. The Yakovlevs are 4 Russian aircraft which are just as close and daring as both the red arrows and the blades smoke flowing from the aircraft.
The Blue eagles, the army air corps helicopter display team showed just what you can do with a lynx helicopter as it back flipped and barrel rolled in the air just above the sea. It was joined by 3 other varieties of helicopter, a gazelle, scout and an allouette. Even with four completely different craft the display was breathe taking as always. Another highlight of the weekend was the presence of Team Guinot. They are a wing walking display team. The two bi-planes are the stage for some incredible handstands and upside down riding by the girls on top of the wings.
On hand to help thrill the crowds were a host of rare and rebuilt aircraft including a sea hawk, king air, DC-6, tutor, Catalina (a flying boat), Tucano T1, 2 Falcon 20's and the RAF Falcon parachute display team.
Added to this list were 3 very special displays. The battle of Britain memorial flight consisting of a Lancaster bomber which cast a huge shadow over the flotilla of boats moored just off of the coast, a hurricane and the ever so symbolic spitfire (the one flying was one that actually took part in WWII). Secondly was the newly restored sea vixen a plane that has to be seen flying for anyone to really appreciate the shape, size and sound of the only flying example of this plane. Talking of sound the last mention goes to the Typhoon Eurofighter F2, the state of the art and almost brand new jet fighter which was the newest flyer in the programme made the crowd cover its ears at it displayed its flying abilities with afterburners on and made windows shake all over Bournemouth.
Away from the air there was also plenty to do stalls, stands and amusements filled the promenade between Bournemouth and Boscombe pier. Rides and simulators gave the visitors something to do and the chance to sit in the cockpit of a fighter plane was also on offer. A very popular attraction was the presence of RAF Mounts Bay, a supply ship moored just off of the pier which was allowing anyone who had put their name down to be transported out via a landing craft and take a look about the ship (this of course was booked up very quick).
The evenings saw a balloon glow aerial acrobats and a firework show on the Saturday night crowning off an incredible event.
There were plenty of food and drinks vendors on the over cliff and promenade as well as the many places within the town. Toilets were also in place and seemed to cater well.
*+* VIEWING AND SPECTATOR INFORMATION *+*
The viewing of the event was phenomenal with Bournemouth's cliffs above the beach the perfect platform to see everything. Even the beaches which were packed had a great view as the planes performed just off of the coast. The other side of the display are was hundreds of boats varying in size which had sailed from nearby ports and had just as great view of the action.
The place to be thought for viewing alone was the over cliff and this was where we were both days where you could even see the pilots.
*+* TRANSPORT *+*
I attended on the Friday (2nd day) by car we used the park and ride system that had been put in place. This did cost £10 but with 5 people in the car we figured £ each was reasonable. After parking we were transported right to the over cliff by air conditioned coach with no wait and were picked up just as efficiently and returned to the car park. This seemed to work really well and I heard no complaints from anyone we spoke to.
I returned on the Saturday this time we decided to get the bus from Poole (where we live about miles away) the bus dropped us in Bournemouth square with a 5 minute walk to the sea front. The bus to Bournemouth was fine we left with plenty of time and it was a reasonably empty bus. This wasn't the story on the way home but give wilts and Dorset and more buses their due they had every bus and driver on hand waiting to get people out of Bournemouth and at one point we counted 20 buses in a line picking people up. Obviously the buses were packed solid but the queues were moving quite fast.
*+* MY OPINIONS *+*
I loved the first Bournemouth Air Festival and I am glad to say I was there. Saturday was by far the best day for weather and the beach was so busy none of the yellow sand could be seen. We got there early so had a fantastic spot up on the over cliff with the most incredible views as the planes flew straight towards us. The park and ride although a little more expensive was a lot easier to use but all in all it was a great weekend. Even though Sunday wasn't as nice on the weather front with a shower to polish off the day family members who went said they had had just as much fun and enjoyment. The red arrows were as incredible as always and I was blown away by the blades. The Pilot of the Eurofighter deserved an award for spirit turning up for a fly past on Saturday morning even though he wasn't scheduled to, and was on his way to another display and then gracing the crowds on the sun soaked beaches yet again in the afternoon. Unfortunately the appearance of a Vulcan bomber had to be removed from the programme due it not having the right flying certificates but even with the news no one seemed to care as pilots went out of their way to show every one in Dorset the best show of the summer.
It has been reported that over 750,000 people attended over the 4 days 380,000 on Saturday alone and I am so proud to say I was one of them.
The dates for 2009 have been provisionally set as 20th - 23rd August and everyone is promising a bigger and better show.
I can't encourage you enough to make the trip what more can you ask for the beautiful beaches of the south coast with all the thrills of an air show and all for the cost of car parking or a bus fair.
Summary: If your in the area dont miss it
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