Air spectacular draws in crowds

THOUSANDS of keen visitors enjoyed a mixture of sun and spectacle on the coast yesterday as the Clacton Air Show took to the skies above the resort.Crowds packed the seafront as a range of aircraft wowed spectators with a series of stunts and fly-pasts marking the first of the two-day event.

THOUSANDS of keen visitors enjoyed a mixture of sun and spectacle on the coast yesterday as the Clacton Air Show took to the skies above the resort.

Crowds packed the seafront as a range of aircraft wowed spectators with a series of stunts and fly-pasts marking the first of the two-day event.

The show opened with an arrival by the fully operational Essex Air Ambulance – a reminder of the importance of helicopter-borne paramedics in emergencies.

But it also featured a poignant and emotional look to the past as the Battle of Britain Memorial flight brought back memories of the young men who gave their lives for their country in the Second World War.


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Five spitfires and two hurricanes accompanied a Dakota and Lancaster bomber alongside the last two operational Chipmunks in the RAF.

It was back up to date when the RAF Falcons parachute display dropped from the sky to touch down on a specially cleared stretch of beach.

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The nine airmen demonstrated impressive control in hitting their ground target and then chatted with some of the younger people in the crowd about their display and the RAF.

Jaws dropped as onlookers watched the always-impressive Utterly Butterly wingwalkers as they bravely showed their mettle hundreds of feet over the sea.

And the crowds were also amazed as the Harrier Jump Jet blasted down its lifting power on the water, spraying a huge fountain in its wake.

Finally, to end the day's proceedings, the spectacular Red Arrows shot along the coast performing a number of dazzling aerobatic manoeuvres.

Terry Holmes, 10, from the south Essex town of Basildon, visited the show with his father, John.

"I liked the Red Arrows," he said. "Especially when they painted a heart in the sky with the smoke. It was brilliant."

Lorraine Duncan, from Henry Close in Clacton, said her son Ben, aged seven, had been too scared to come to previous air shows because of the noise made by the jets.

"It's his first time," she explained. "He's really enjoyed it, so we'll probably come again", she said.

Tendring District Council spokesman Mike Page said: "It has been glorious. There have been no hitches and it looks like it's going to be a fantastic day tomorrow.

"The airshow is free and anyone who turns up has a wonderful opportunity to see these marvellous displays."

The Clacton Airshow - complete with another appearance by the red Arrows - continues today.

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