Army's parachute team drops in ahead of major air show
THEY dropped in from 5,000 feet to herald the beginning of an air spectacular that will fill the skies above Bray this weekend.
Aided by black parachutes featuring the tricolour flag, the Irish Defence Forces Parachute Display Team – or the Black Knights – leapt from a helicopter over the town.
The Bray Air Spectacular , which is celebrating its seventh annual appearance in the Bray Summerfest, is expected to draw in crowds of up to 100,000, and will bring an estimated €3.5m to local businesses.
Mayor of Bray, Councillor Mick Glynn, said: "We're hoping to look after 100,000 visitors this weekend. All of the hotels in the town have been booked out for weeks in advance. We have nearly 800 beds in the area and they're all full."
Display director Se Pardy said: "What's different about this year is that the weather is stable so people have already decided and planned to go to Bray and enjoy the show. It's very safe as all the displays are over the water, and there were no public order issues last year even with 80,000 people, which shows it is very much a family day."
Some of the highlights of the show include Ireland's first ever Irish civilian aerobatic team.
The show will also include the Blades, who have performed for the queen and the Beckham family.
The Black Knights will repeat their parachute jump tomorrow – Captain James Cahill will lead the rest of his team again and will be recording the 5,000ft drop for a YouTube video.
He tested out some of the recording equipment during the rehearsal jump: "What we're trying to do this year is experiment with different angles. On this particular jump I had a sports camera on my foot. For the next one I'll be putting it on my helmet and some of the others will have cameras on their wrists."
It will not be the only manner in which those unable to attend the Bray Air Spectacular can experience the event, as live reports from the air show will be broadcast on an app called 'EventFM', hosted by East Coast and Radio Nova presenter John Power.
Bray Air Spectacular begins at 3pm on Sunday. Other events on the day will include helicopter rides for €50, a food and craft market, Victorian-style funfair, and live music with jazz band Route 66.