WHATEVER excitement is brewing at ground level there is no doubt that all eyes will be on the skies over Newcastle as the Red Arrows display team soars over the natural amphi-theatre of Dundrum Bay on Saturday 6th August from 1.30pm. This will be the highlight of Down District Council’s ‘Festival of Flight In One Cool Weekend’, sponsored by B/E Aerospace, and certainly the biggest event in their calendar.
The world-famous display team is already familiar with the spot where the ‘Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’ as this will be their second visit to perform here. Last year they drew crowds in excess of 100,000 to the Festival and Down District Council Chairman, Cllr Dermot Curran, believes that numbers could be even higher this year, “Our superb natural location means that the sky’s the limit for this great event.
“While thousands of people will certainly flock into the town centre for the ground-level attractions and festival ambience, others may choose to watch the dramatic display from one of the many glorious vantage points at Dundrum village or along the coastline.
“Whatever the location, they will see the Red Arrows deliver a never-to-be-forgotten aerial display, showcasing the power and versatility of their jet aircraft and the professionalism and courage of the pilots.
“The crowd-pulling power of the Red Arrows is hugely significant for a region such as ours. Many of our local businesses depend on tourism and consequently a boost in visitor numbers brings an important boost to the local economy.”
Neil Cairns, Vice President and Managing Director of B/E Aerospace in nearby Kilkeel, headline sponsor of the Festival, is looking forward to seeing the Red Arrows in fantastic flight over County Down. However, he is equally aware of the benefits which increased visitor numbers will deliver at ground level. He said, “We are delighted to be supporting a fantastic, free day out for all the family and equally pleased to know that the event will give an important lift to tourism businesses in the region. I’m sure that many of those who come along to enjoy the excitement and spectacle of the Red Arrows and other aerial displays will be inspired to make return trips to enjoy the area at more relaxed pace. The economic benefits will therefore continue long after the coloured vapour trails have disappeared.”
Colouring the skies and drawing roars of approval from the crowds below will be the nine-strong Red Arrows Display aircraft. Reds 1 to 5 form the front section of the display, known as ‘Enid’, and Reds 6 to 9 make up the rear section of the formation. The Synchro Pair, Reds 6 and 7, perform the highly popular opposition manoeuvres during the second half of the display sequence. If that sounds a little complex, spectators will get moment by moment explanations of what’s happening in the skies from our flight director Jeff Salter and Red Arrows controllers, Red 10.
While the aerial manoeuvrings of the Red Arrows form an undoubted highlight of the Festival of Flight In One Cool Weekend, there are lots of other magnificent men (and women!) and their flying machines to gasp at and admire.
The appearance of the acclaimed Patrouille Reva display team from Colmar Hossan, close of Strasbourg, will give the event a decidedly international flavour. Their Acro-eze aircraft is a variant of the Vari-eze created by ex-NASA wonder designer, Burt Ratan. There will also be a welcome return by the Irish Air Corps, while an appearance of the Mustang P51D ‘Jumpin’ Jacques’ will delight spotters. It is an attractive example of the famous escort US fighter plane and now forms part of the impressive Hanger 11 collection based in North Weald. This majestic aircraft is in almost pristine original condition and has never had a major rebuild since it first took to the air in 1944.
Visiting Northern Ireland for the first time will be the magnificant Seafire, built by Westlands at Yeovil and completed in 1946. The plane is currently enjoying a second lease of life having been restored to fabulous flying order in 2006.
The local heroes of the Air & Sea Rescue Service will be staging a rescue display in front of Newcastle Promenade and will have a static display at nearby Donard Park Playing Field.
On Saturday 6th August ample free parking will be provided at various locations close to Newcastle. FREE park and ride facilities will operate from Northfield on the Castlewellan Road, so why not take advantage of a stress free day and ‘Follow the Arrows’ to Newcastle.
The Festival of Flight In One Cool Weekend hosts over 40 events and lots of them are free for all the family to enjoy. Visit www.downdc.gov.uk or www.facebook/DownFestivals.com for further festival information.
To obtain your FREE copy of the programme call the Festival Office or telephone 028 4372 2222. One Cool Weekend concert tickets and full line-up of artists are available at www.ticketmaster.ie and www.coolfm.co.uk .