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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Thrills without spills at air spectacular show

An Irish Air Corps EC135 'Eurocopter' entertains crowds
An Irish Air Corps EC135 'Eurocopter' entertains crowds
An aerobatic display by the Red Bull Matadors was a highlight of the show

SOME may consider it a relic -- but it can still put on one hell of a show.

The B52 Stratofortress was America's first long-range, swept-wing heavy bomber and yesterday it swooped low over Bray to open the air spectacular at the Co Wicklow seaside resort.

Ideal weather and flying conditions helped attract a record 65,000 people to the free two-hour air show which featured civilian and military aircraft, aerial acrobatics and rescue displays by the Irish Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats.

Up to 20 aircraft were on show at the fifth airshow in Bray.

Display director Se Pardy said the show went without a hitch and added that it was now the only aviation event of any significance left in the country.

"We have been doing this show for five years and this was the best one ever and had an enormous crowd," he said.

While the US air force B52 flypast was the heavy-hitting curtain raiser, a number of Air Corps helicopters and planes also featured in the show with a parachute jump by the Black Knights Irish Army parachute team.

But the highlight of the free event was the aerobatic display by the Red Bull Matadors -- two single-engine Sukhoi Su-26's planes which were flown by top stunt pilots Paul Bonhomme of Britain and Steve Jones.

"Five years ago we started off with about 20,000 spectators but now we've hit 65,000," said Mr Pardy.

"It's a free family day and at this stage there's every reason to think we'll have another successful show next year.

"It was a challenging event because we are not that far from Dublin Airport but there were no technical difficulties and everything ran on time," he added.

Irish Independent

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