Bournemouth Air Festival is something we look forward to every year, having attended every year for the last 10 years.
It is the largest seaside air show of its kind in the UK, running for four full days and best of all, is completely FREE to attend.
The weather has been a bit hit and miss in recent years, with rain leading to poor flying conditions and the cancellation of whole days of flying, but the weather gods were shining on us this year and we had four days of glorious sunshine.
The great thing about being held at the seaside, is that you can choose to explore all the stalls that are lined up along the seafront, or you can just sit on the sand and let the kids play whilst watching the action in the sky.
We try to aim for midway between Boscombe and Bournemouth Piers when we visit, as it is how the pilots work out the central position for their displays, so you get the best view.
It is also where the Royal Navy’s beach assault normally happens, but sadly they were unable to do it this year. They did have HMS Diamond, a Type 45 Frigate, in attendance though.
There were also some displays on the beach from some of the army vehicles and vintage cars lined up on the cliff top for something a little more relaxed.
The highlight of the event is the aerial displays and this year we were treated to some new and old favourites.
I have been watching the Red Arrows in Bournemouth since I was a tot, as they have always visited at some point over the summer holidays and they were amazing as always.
A first for Bournemouth Air Show this year was the Gravity Industries team who were demonstrating a pair of jet suits.
Over the weekend, Dr Angelo Grubisic managed to break their Jet Suit Speed Record by flying at 74 kmph following the Guinness World Record that was set in November 2017 of 51.3 kmph.
Despite both pilots having to ditch in the sea over the weekend, the second pilot, Richard Browning of Gravity Industries, was also able to fly the longest distance of 1.4km – which is further than the team has ever flown before.
The RAF is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and in another first for the Air Festival was the Bremont Great War Display Team who recreated a swirling dog fight over the sea.
For fans of the planes from yester year, the Battle of Britain memorial returned for an emotional display and there was also a rare mixed formation of heritage jets to see.
The Brietling Wingwalkers are always a firm favourite with the crowd and did a fabulous display on their return to Bournemouth.
Despite the absence of the noisy planes this year, there was still plenty to see and one of our favourites was the Muscle Biplane Pitts S2S G-EWIZ, with a daredevil routine which combined aerial manoeuvres and high energy muscle biplane aerobatics!
The Chinook is always a highlight too – in fact it is probably the one aircraft that I would love to be in during a display.
We did find that there was more of a gap between the air displays this year, but that does give you a good opportunity to take advantage of some of the entertainment on the beach.
Also joining the Air Festival for the first time were Europe’s largest professional civilian jet display team, the Breitling Jet Team.
They flew five times over the four-day air show and their dusk display was one of the highlights of the weekend for us.
The perfect sunset, lit up the planes and turned their smoke trails into trails of gold and their finale worked even better against a darker sky.
Following a short break after the daytime flying, there were the dusk displays of Night Air on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, which are well worth staying for.
The FireFlies and Twister Pair combo joined forces to put on a sparkling performance with neon lights and a stunning pyrotechnic show as they looped and rolled their planes around the sky.
The night belonged to Otto The Helicopter who lit up the skies, with daredevil pilot Brendan O’Brien in the cockpit, which sees the helicopter fitted with the most pyrotechnics an aircraft has ever had – more than 2,000 shots during his show.
Bournemouth Air Festival will be back next year between 29th August to 1st September 2019, will you be adding it to your diary?