Chocks away for annual Airbourne extravaganza

Mark Hatfield at the Airbourne launch event
Mark Hatfield at the Airbourne launch event

THE COUNTDOWN to Airbourne 2011 began last week with the news the iconic Red Arrows will lead a packed programme of Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, British Army and civilian aircraft at the world- renowned show.

At an exclusive launch event on the Wish Tower slope on Friday, organisers of the free-flying spectacular announced the bumper line up of displays ready to entertain hundreds of thousands of visitors from August 11-14, including crowd favourites the Red Arrows as well as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, The Blades, Breitling Wingwalkers and many more.

Local businesses and airshow partners along with members of the public watched a mini preview of Airbourne, including a solo wingwalk, Spitfire and RV8tors displays, before finding out the full flying programme that sees new for 2011, displays from the Royal Navy Black Cats and Royal Navy Raiders Parachute Display Team.

Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet member for Tourism and Leisure Neil Stanley said, “What a fantastic year we have coming up at Airbourne with a real variety of flying displays sure to be a hit with the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the event every year.

“We are delighted to welcome to the show displays from the Royal Navy which have been missed for the past couple of years, as well as celebrate the best of the RAF with displays by the Tucano, Tutor, Hawk, Tornado and of course, the magnificent Red Arrows who will zoom through the skies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. With a few more displays still being finalised, Airbourne fans are certainly in for a treat this summer.”

Eastbourne Hospitality Association members will again be carrying out the retiring collection, with donations going towards the chosen charity, the Eastbourne RNLI, as well as the future of Airbourne.

Councillor Stanley said, “Now in its 19th year, the success of Airbourne does depend heavily on being able to secure sponsors and I hope that by releasing such a fantastic flying programme, we may attract some last minute interest from businesses keen to be associated with this high profile event and use it to reach a huge footfall of potential customers in August.”

Also included on the bill for Airbourne 2011 are the impressive Blades who will return with fast paced displays in their high-performance piston aircraft, dazzling displays from the Breitling Wingwalkers, the impressive Belgian F16, Hangar 11 Warbirds, RV8tors, and the British Army Princess of Wales Royal Regiment Tigers Parachute Display Team.

With Airbourne also promising plenty of action on the ground, including the Marines Unarmed Combat team in the arena, Come Fly With Me on Friday evening with night time flying to a band performance, evening concerts at the Bandstand and a firework finale, visitors have lots to look forward to at the free event later this summer.

Another first for 2011 will see four big screens in town for the show and the launch of Airbourne TV, provided by Big Bear Events and Fonix to give visitors the opportunity to see displays on screen up close, and to interact with the show through live streaming and text to screen.

Airbourne TV will also provide great opportunities for businesses to promote themselves to event visitors and coupled with the always popular Radio Airbourne, this year’s show will become truly multi-media.

For more information on the flying displays, or to find out about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, go to the Airbourne website or call 0871 663 0031. Airbourne enthusiasts can pre-order the official 2011 souvenir programme and book for exclusive seating tickets at Eastbourne Bandstand now at the VisitEastbourne website.