It’s almost ‘chocks away’ for the annual B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight organised by Down District Council. Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock into the Mournes region to enjoy a spectacular day that blends some of Europe’s most exciting aerobatical displays with ground level family fun and activities – and it’s all FREE!
U105 with Maurice Jay and Julian Simmons will keep everyone up-to-date from 12 noon from the festival stage on the Promenade …. creating an atmosphere to match the aerial excitement and making sure everyone knows what’s on, when and where, so arrive in good time and enjoy a relaxing tour of our Aviation Village and soak up the atmosphere with lots of great street entertainment throughout the morning from 10.00am.
To celebrate another aviation centenary this year the RAF will pay a special tribute to history’s pioneering aviators from the United Kingdom and Ireland as the first association between the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Ireland was truly historic, when on 1 September 1913, Captain George Dawes, who had been born in Dublin, landed his Maurice Farman Longhorn on the beach at Newcastle, Co. Down, on his way to take part in large-scale Irish Command manoeuvres near Limerick.
This was the first ever overseas deployment of the RFC and the first military aeroplane to land in Ireland. To celebrate the centenary of the remarkable flight of Captain George Dawes and of all the pioneering aviators from Great Britain and Ireland, helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) and the Irish Air Corps will take part in a fly past as part of the day’s celebrations.
The amazing mammoth Avro Vulcan XH558 will be one of the star attractions at the 2013 Festival, swooping in to delight the crowds on Saturday 10 August. Its distinctive silhouette will make it a dramatic feature of the show, all the more impactful as it may not be flying beyond 2015 so this is very much a ‘last chance to see’ for most of the audience.
For those who want to bid the Vulcan a personal farewell Belfast International Airport, one of the sponsors of the Festival, has also arranged for the Vulcan to overnight at Aldergrove with gallery viewing provided on Sunday 11th – a perfect addition to the airport’s own 50th anniversary celebrations (for specific details check out www.belfastairport.com)
The Red Arrows will once again be in Newcastle, flying with the style and precision that has earned them global reputation and respect. The dramatic moment when they first jet in over the Mournes inevitably inspires a sharp intake of breath from the tens of thousands of people gathered below … truly awe inspiring!
While the remaining jet displays will be the Sabre F86A, was made famous in the Korean War and this one, the fruit of a ten-year restoration project, flies in the markings of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing in Korea and it will be making their debut in Northern Ireland. Emblazoned with arguably the most striking colour scheme of the day: the Hunter G-PSST ‘Miss Demeanour’ will again take to the skies and no doubt deliver another amazing and memorable display as in 2012.
The crowd-pleasing Irish Air Corps will be adding to the atmosphere as they bring their Swiss-engineered Pilatus PC9s from Baldonnel just outside Dublin, up the coastline to sweep in over Dundrum Bay. Their graceful formation display is always a favourite with the crowds.
It was hoped that the Seafire XVIII SX336 would make its debut to Northern Ireland this year but unfortunately the aircraft has still not fully recovered from an incident in France two years ago, however we are delighted to announce that The Royal Navy Historic Flight at Yeovilton has provided at very short notice The Seafury T20, a very worthy replacement. Look out too for the Dakota, known as the ‘workhorse’ of the skies, the fabulous Typhoon, making just its second visit to Newcastle.
When your neck aches from admiring the airborne displays there’s plenty going on at ground level with The JP Mac Johnny Cash Tribute Show adding to the fun on the Prom, while Donard park has been transformed into a free to visit ‘Aviation Village’ packed with themed attractions and stands.
Traffic and Parking Arrangements on Friday 9 & Saturday 10 August 2013 will be in operation so please check out the local press for information or our website/facebook sites for further information. Please expect delays on Saturday 10 August on all routes into Newcastle and therefore allow extra time for your journey, and remember to keep pets indoors for the duration of the display.
Down District Council is also providing additional FREE parking at multiple locations, follow the AA signage on approach. There will also be a FREE Translink ‘Park & Ride’ facility from the ‘Northfield site’ on A50 Castlewellan Road, follow the AA signs on approach. The Free Translink ‘Park & Ride’ Bus service will operate from 9.00am to 9.00pm.
To find out more about the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight check out: www.downdc.gov.uk,
For a free festival programme contact our Festival Office on 028 4372 2222.