Monday, August 20, 2007

Up up and away!

As resorts go, Eastbourne is fairly small. But every year it plays host to several high profile events, and they don't come much bigger than Airbourne.
As in the 12 previous years, the local population grew tenfold as visitors from all corners of the UK and Europe converged on our town to enjoy the world's biggest seafront air show. And its completely free!

The promenade was closed to traffic and turned into a fun fare, and the Western Lawns became a display area for the RAF, the Police and other essential services, keen to impress and recruit. Everywhere you looked there were burger bars, fish and chips and smoothie stalls.
There was not a space to be had on the 5 mile beach and every level was packed with spectators. The slopes which rise 600 feet from the end of the seafront up to Beachy Head cliff gave one of the best vantage points where one could actually look down on the planes as they entertained the hoards.

For four days, thousands of folk craned their necks and shielded their eyes from the August sun to witness hour upon hour of stunning flying displays. Acrobatic biplanes followed WW11 Spitfires. Teams of stunt planes weaved and dodged each other in death defying routines that kept the crowds gasping. The RAF Falcons parachute team never failed to amaze as the descended into the tiny arena from a Dakota hundreds of feet in the sky.
The RAF produced their latest weapon., the Eurofighter Typhoon which started it's performance with a 600 mph flypast just feet above the sea. A minute later it appeared motionless above our heads before swooping, twisting and roaring through a series of deafening and mind-blowing feats.
Each day the highlight was the annual appearance of the greatest air display team in the world - the Red Arrows who performed their colourful and breathtaking routine before our eyes.

Late on we Sunday saw the grand finale - a lavish firework display from the end of the pier. Again, a capacity crowd packed the beach and the upper levels dancing to music pumped out by Radio Airbourne. At 10 pm the lights on the pier went out, the spectators roared a count down, and with a deafening bang, the first of hundreds of fireworks leapt upwards, turning the sky and the sea below a shade of deepest red.
40 minutes later, Airbourne was over for another year.



  1. great pics... I love the RAF Falcon team. It would have been nice to see this in person when I was near there. Ah well, great story as usual Keith.

  2. I love your commentary of the event as well as your pictures. Our airshows are never free but this looks awesome.

  3. Gimme -glad you liked them!

    Erich - Unfortunatly, on the final day, one of the team landed badly and is currently in Eastbourne General Hospital with two broken legs. Occupational hazard I guess!

    Jadey - I suppose that as a local tax payer, I am in fact paying towards it!

  4. Excellent Keith the pictures are amazing and you really captured the spirit of the day.

  5. Shari- nothing could compare with actually being there.
    Missy -Grazie!

  6. Every time I visit, I feel like I'm on vacation.




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