Archive for September, 2013

Record-breaking Bournemouth Air Festival draws to a close

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Bringing the biggest ever number of people Bournemouth has ever seen in one day, the sixth Bournemouth Air Festival scaled new heights, with an incredible 1.3 million festival-goers visiting the UK’s leading seaside resort.

The Festival got off to a great start on Thursday with more than 200,000 visitors enjoying glorious sunshine and seeing displays from the Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Royal Navy Black Cat helicopter.

Friday saw the return of the RAF Typhoon display to the Bournemouth Air Festival; its first appearance in four years. Crowds of up to 235,000 watched with mouths open and ears covered as the ear splitting jet roared over the shore in an astonishing display. More than 55,000 people attended the Night Air programme on Friday, with fantastic live music at the two pier stages and a sparkling dusk air display featuring the Red Devils, complete with glow sticks and incredible pyrotechnics.

The glorious weather continued on Saturday, and with the Red Arrows opening the flying with their third display in Bournemouth, huge numbers of people packed the beaches and cliff tops before noon.

By the time the Typhoon had closed the flying displays, a record-setting 400,000 people had visited the Festival site. The people just kept on coming, with a further 42,000 witnessing the final evening of Night Air, making it the busiest day in the history of the town. And it wasn’t just the beaches and cliff tops that saw record crowd levels; out to sea almost 1,000 boats were anchored amongst the Royal Navy vessels.

The Festival drew to a close on Sunday with another impressive crowd. Joining the 275,000 people ashore were more than 500 boats taking in the fantastic displays and unbroken sunshine. Whilst the Vulcan didn’t display due to technical issues, the crowds enjoyed a fantastic variety of entertainment including powerhouse helicopter performances from the Royal Navy Black Cat, the hulking Royal Navy Merlin and a stunning Chinook display.

Also impressing were Festival newcomers Patrouille Reva, with their tight display packed with Gallic flair, British heritage jets the Vampire and Meteor, aerobatic aces The Blades and, drawing the flying to a close, an absolutely screaming performance by Bournemouth favourite Jonathon Whaley in the elegant Miss Demeanour.

This was followed by the Royal Navy delivering a booming eight-gun salute from HMS Northumberland, before all six of their vessels departed in a coordinated formation. Accompanied by a Merlin helicopter hovering overhead, the ships moved west in unison, sounding their horns while HMS Northumberland fired off more shots from her gun before an enchanted crowd.

Hundreds of thousands lined the East Overcliff and seafront across the four days, keen to score pole position for views and images. Aviation action came from the Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon, Chinook, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Royal Navy Black Cats, The Blades and European Freestyle Champion Gerald Cooper to name but a few.

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines joined forces with the Army to create a must-see interactive military village area, with a 20-foot climbing wall, weapons display dome and Challenger tank among the highlights.

Out to sea was the Royal Navy’s largest ever presence at the event, with six vessels appearing including the Type-23 frigate HMS Northumberland, which was open to visits for members of the public.

The stunning Dusk and Night Air displays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights saw combined crowds of 136,000 treated to fantastic aviation action by the SWIP Team Twister Duo, fearless Red Devils, O’Brien’s Flying Circus and the Rolls Royce Spitfire.

Some of the UK’s favourite tribute acts wowed crowds at the Corona stage at Bournemouth Pier, including the Beach Buoys and Elvis Presley act Ben Portsmouth. At Boscombe, Wave105FM presented headline acts including Blue, Stooshe, The Feeling, Lisa Stansfield, Kodaline and Newton Faulkner who performed to crowds of more than 12,000 people.

Two magnificent firework displays on Friday and Saturday brought Night Air to a close with style.

Jon Weaver, Air Festival Director, said: “It has been an amazing event this year, the sun shined, the entertainment was superb and more than a million people came to enjoy some of the world’s best aviation teams perform spectacular displays.

“It was fantastic to see the Reds flying in their classic nine ship formation across Bournemouth’s skyline, the magnificent Typhoon roaring through the skies and seeing the Royal Navy’s eight-gun salute ending the Festival on a high. Like many Festival-goers we were disappointed that the Vulcan was unable to fly due to technical difficulties but people didn’t let it dampen their spirits – there is always next year!

“It’s been brilliant to have had such appreciative crowds, helping to make it one of our biggest and best ever Festivals so far.”

The Royal Navy and Army Village gave prime vantage points for an incredible amphibious demonstration by the Royal Marines.

Commodore Jamie Miller CBE of the Royal Navy said; “The best show yet with so many people seeing their Royal Navy and Royal Marines, our ships and aircraft, meeting the men and women who serve and being enthused.

Thank you Bournemouth. More of the same next year – that is an order not a request! See you next year if you invite us!

The RAF Village was buzzing with Festival-goers delighted to meet members of the display teams including the Red Arrows pilots and members of the iconic Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).

Flight Lieutenant Leon Creese, pilot of the BBMF Lancaster said; “It is always an honour to fly the wonderful aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Our aims are to remember the past and inspire future generations and I take great pride in playing my part in achieving both of these aims at the spectacular Bournemouth Air Festival.”

The dates for the 2014 Air Festival have been confirmed Thursday 28th August – Sunday 31st August.

Museum Makes Appeal to Black RAF Personnel

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

RAF Museum appeal

In two World Wars black people from the Caribbean, Africa and from Britain volunteered to serve in the Royal Air Force. These volunteers fought, and died, for the ‘mother country’ and for freedom, and thereby helped to preserve the values and the heritage they shared with their white comrades. The tradition of service to the Crown continues today, and the RAF is proud to welcome new generations of black volunteers into its ranks.

In the exhibition ‘Pilots of the Caribbean: Volunteers of African Heritage in the Royal Air Force’, the Royal Air Force Museum will tell the inspirational story of these volunteers, commemorating and celebrating their vital contribution to the defence of Britain, her Empire and the Commonwealth.

The exhibition will also highlight the Royal Air Force’s success in embracing diversity and also demonstrate how the rich, cosmopolitan nature of modern Britain owes much to the black men and women who wore air force blue.

Peter Dye, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum states:

‘From First World War pilot William Robinson Clarke, to the young volunteers of today, Afro-Caribbean men and women have played an integral part in the development of the Royal Air Force and the defence of our freedoms and liberties. In this exhibition, the Royal Air Force Museum aims to celebrate their contribution to the development of modern Britain, while providing all young people with a series of role models to inspire and guide them in realising their own ambitions and dreams.

Although, we have a wealth of archive materials to draw from we would welcome stories and photographs from former, and serving, black Royal Air Force personnel and their families. If you are able to assist in the Museum with this appeal, and would like your story to be told, please email the Museum’s Research Department at, in the first instance, or call us on 020 8358 4873.

‘Pilots of the Caribbean : Volunteers of African Heritage in the Royal Air Force’ will open at the Royal Air Force Museum London on 1st of November 2013 before transferring to the Museum’s sister site at Cosford during Summer 2014. Both sites are open daily from 10am. Admission to both sites are free of charge.