Biggest ever air display draws in thousands

PUBLISHED: 10:19 24 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 24 August 2019

Sidmouth Air Show 2019. Ref shs 35 19TI 2019 1030874. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Air Show 2019. Ref shs 35 19TI 2019 1030874. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Thousands enjoyed an evening of dazzling and daring aerobatic displays in Sidmouth to kick-start the bank holiday weekend.

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It was the biggest Sidmouth Air Display yet with performers from across the country flying in to entertain the large crowds that packed onto the beach and seafront on Friday evening (August 23).

Appearing at the air show were RAF Falcons, Twirlybatic Pitts Special, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight spitfire, Strikemaster Jet pair and the Chinook display team.

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The event's opening act, RAF Falcons, were unable to perform for safety reasons after the tide came in cutting off the parachutists drop zone.

As part of the display the 10-man team were set to land on the beach and salute war veteran Alexander Fraser.

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The crew were able to meet the veteran, who served in 36 operations over Berlin.

Flight Lieutenant Ash Grey-Smart said: "Unfortunately the sea took our drop zone."

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The display also honoured veterans Les Harlow, Fred Hill and David Stuart, all 97, for their service during World War Two.

The show began with the skilled Corrine Dennis in her Pitts Special bi-plane, which she built herself.

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Her twist filled set was followed by the spectacular Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.

Jetting in soon after, was the dynamic duo Strikemaster Jet pair.

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Pilots Mark Petrie and Ollie Suckling had been performing earlier at Clacton Air Show before soaring in over Sidmouth to show off the fast nature of the jets.

To close off the display this year was the Chinook display team.

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Piloting the helicopter was Jon 'JT' Turner, whose parents Jeff and Carole, live in Sidmouth.

Earlier in the day the crew had landed to meet air cadets from the Devon and Somerset wing and showed them around the aircraft.

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He and the crew flew up and down the seafront showing off a number of manoeuvres before the crew opened the ramp to wave to the crowd.

An army of collectors were out in force to secure donations towards future air shows.

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Councillor Ian Barlow, chairman of the town council, said: "It is just perfect. The weather has been great for us.

"It is going to be a great day for Sidmouth, for the visitors and for the residents alike.

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All the air displays these days have either been cancelled because of weather or because of health and safety reasons.

"We're very lucky with the sea that we can do it. We have a sea exclusion zone where the boats aren't even allowed so there are going to be really tight into the sea front."

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