Bournemouth Air Festival 2018 in Review

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.

Sebby Bucket

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.

Red Arrows

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.

HMS Diamond

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.

Vintage Cars

The highlight of the event is the aerial displays and this year we were treated to some new and old favourites.

Red Arrows Bournemouth

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.

Red Arrows Clouds

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.

Gravity Industries

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.

Jet suit

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.

Battle of Britain

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.

Bournemouth Air Festival

The Brietling Wingwalkers are always a firm favourite with the crowd and did a fabulous display on their return to Bournemouth.

Breitling Wingwalker

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!

Muscle Plane

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.

Boats Bournemouth Beach

Also joining the Air Festival for the first time were Europe’s largest professional civilian jet display team, the Breitling Jet Team.

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.

Breitling Jet Team Dusk

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.

Brietling Jet Team Finale

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.

Night Air

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.

Fireworks Planes

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.

Otto the helicopter

Bournemouth Air Festival will be back next year between 29th August to 1st September 2019, will you be adding it to your diary?





17 thoughts on “Bournemouth Air Festival 2018 in Review

  1. How cool is this? My son would absolutely love something like this! Wish they did something similar in the area that I live in.

  2. This looks like a perfect get away for me and my family. Just enough mix of relaxation for me and hubby and then a little thrill and excitement for the kiddos. Thanks for sharing this one– putting on my list of places to go.

  3. I was there on the beach! It was amazing especially ths red arrows! and we had such beautiful weather too, loved reading your blog, thanks for sharing x

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