Gallery: Eyes on the skies at Bentwaters air show

PERFECT flying weather brought thousands to the former USAF base at Bentwaters for the first air show at the site since the Americans left in the early 1990s.

The light winds and a high cloud cover gave pilots the opportunity to show off their skills in front of the large numbers who had brought picnics or were happy to queue at the food stalls while they watched the drama in the skies.

The all-day event featured three hours of flying displays at what was once one of the USAF’s most important Cold War bases.

Displays included a stunning show from a pair of Pitts Special bi-planes that showed just how manoeuvrable small planes could be, to noisy shows from 1950s’ jets the Sabre and the Hawker Hunter.

The Hunter certainly took the prize for the loudest flying.

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But despite the skilful flying, in terms of the machines on show it was probably still the Spitfire and its American counterpart the Mustang that stole the show.

The sound of the piston-engined stars roared across the skies as parents and grandparents told youngsters about how these planes had once been common in the Suffolk skies.

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Coming bang up to date the RAF’s search and rescue team from Wattisham showed the crowd how they operated – and the East Anglian Air Ambulance, one of the charities that the event was raising funds for, was also on show when it wasn’t being called out to an emergency somewhere in the region.

As well as the flying displays, there were also static shows on the ground with planes on show – you could have your picture taken beside a Hawker Hurricane like that flown by Douglas Bader – or see historic military vehicles including old Jeeps and amphibious landing craft.

The event was deemed a huge success by visitors who will be hoping for it to be repeated in future years.

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