Airshow haield as best ever

THE annual Clacton Air Show was last night hailed the most successful ever after it was estimated more than 100,000 spectators flocked to the Tendring coast to see the aerobatic extravaganza.

THE annual Clacton Air Show was last night hailed the most successful ever after it was estimated more than 100,000 spectators flocked to the Tendring coast to see the aerobatic extravaganza.

A full-time professional flying director yesterday said the event had reached a stage where it was ready to expand into the top-league of yearly highlights for plane enthusiasts across the country.

Not only did the resort itself record a maximum number of visitors for the two-day display, but neighbouring seaside towns such as St Osyth and Frinton also saw their day-tripper numbers swell.

Highlights of the programme included the Red Arrows, who opened the event, the Tornado GR4, which delighted the audience with its speed and its noisy jet engine, and the St Ivel Utterly Butterly Wingwalkers.


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Yesterday's displays included a Sea Vixen, a Jaguar and a Tucano, with drops from the both the Royal Artillery and the RAF Falcons parachute display teams.

Last night the show's organiser, Mike Bateson, said: "I think that over the two days we have cracked the 100,000 visitor mark. This is still a great, family fun day out by the seaside.

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"We have maintained the satisfaction of the crowd, which is the main thing, while slightly re-organising the event to include more flying."

He added that switching the Red Arrows from its traditional finale slot to the beginning of the show had been a successful change.

"Having the Red Arrows first thing on the Thursday pushed up the figures for the day. It seems to have gone down well."

Meanwhile former Red Arrow pilot Ray Thilthorpe, who co-ordinates and directs the technical aspects of this and other air shows across the country, said: "The show has gone very well from an operational point of view, and the pilots have enjoyed it because Clacton is a good site.

"I think the show now has the option to go much bigger, if that is what is wanted.

"It has developed from four or five items about 10 years ago to 14 items today, it has got better and better each year and more and more people appear to have come to see it."

n We have been asked to make it clear the Lancaster bomber and Hawk were unable to take part in Thursday's air show, contrary to a report in yesterday's EADT. We apologise for the error.

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