Airshow's first day celebrations

A CENTURY of flight was celebrated during the first day of the Lowestoft Air Festival.Crowd numbers are expected to be down on last year after the loss of the Red Arrows and other crowd pleasers such as the Harrier jump jet.

A CENTURY of flight was celebrated during the first day of the Lowestoft Air Festival.

Crowd numbers are expected to be down on last year after the loss of the Red Arrows and other crowd pleasers such as the Harrier jump jet.

But it is still thought that more than 135,000 people swarmed the beaches and seafront for the afternoon event.

The only hitches during the show came when the Lowestoft lifeboat abandoned a planned sea rescue display after being called out to recover a body of a woman at sea, and the RAF Jaguar pulled out while on route to the show because of a suspected technical hitch.


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Both are due back in today's line-up.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers first powered flight.

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It was feared at first that the cancellations had created large gaps in the line-up which could make the crowd restless.At around 1pm the skies cleared as the Royal Jordanian Falcons swept across the seafront from Pakefield, making their first appearance since 1999.

But things picked up after the first hour with the arrival of the colourful Dutch Pilatus PC-7 followed by the Utterly Butterly wing walkers and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Later the skies screamed to the sounds of jets as the RAF Tornado sped past.

Stephen Richmond, 27, from Kessingland, who came with his girlfriend, Fran Calvert said despite the changes it had still been a good day out.

"I don' think you can go anywhere else and sit on the beach and watch something like this for free," he said.

"I think we are very lucky to have this, it's just a great show."

George Baker, 74, from Cromer had travelled down to the event with his wife Dorothy and two-year-old daughter Charlotte Mitchell.

"We missed last year but we have been every year before that," he said. "It's a good show and it seems to get bigger every year."

Chloe Nichols, 12, from Leiston in Suffolk, who came along to the show for the first time with her day Chris, said it had been worth the trip.

"It's been great, I've really enjoyed the planes best of all," she said.

David Holland, spokesman for Waveney District Council said the organisers were pleased with the way that the first day had gone.

"Following the disappointment about the Red Arrows, I think with the weather everybody seems to be having a really terrific day," he said. "It's just a carnival atmosphere and it's such an important event not only for tourism but the regeneration of the town."

Acting Supt John Everett of Lowestoft Police, said there the day had been trouble-free.

"There have been no major problems – the traffic has been moving relatively smoothly with no significant hold-ups although the crowds appear to be down on last year," he said.

"We've had a number of reports of missing children but all have been reunited with their families."

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