Lowestoft airshow latest

SOME of the world's most famous aircraft are set to soar through the skies above the east coast as part of the 12th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival. .

SOME of the world's most famous aircraft are set to soar through the skies above the east coast as part of the 12th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival.

The popular two-day event gets under way today at 1pm with a parachute display before nearly 40 classic and modern aircraft provide more than four hours of entertain-ment.

Today's flying, which includes a search-and-rescue demonstration by the Lowestoft lifeboat and the RAF Sea King helicopter, and aerobatic displays from the Team Guinot wing walkers, will end with fireworks from the end of the South Pier at 9.30pm.

One of the festival's most hotly anticipated appearances will be from the cold war Avro Vulcan bomber. After a 15-year £6m restoration project the Vulcan XH558, which saw action in the Falklands and is the only airworthy model in the world, will fly into Lowestoft today and tomorrow.

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Festival managing director Paul Bayfield said that visitors had plenty to look forward to, with this year's extravaganza celebrating 90 years of the RAF.

“Hopefully we will have two days of good weather. Along with all the display aircraft we have lined up this year, we're in for the best festival yet,” said Mr Bayfield.

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The world's most advanced attack helicopter, the Apache AH-64, which has been providing ground support for British troops in Afghanistan since 2006, will make its only airshow appearance this year when it comes to Lowestoft today and tomorrow.

And the ever-popular Red Arrows will once again delight the crowds - completing the flying programme today and then kicking off the event in style at noon tomorrow.

The air festival took place for the first time in July 1997, when it lasted just one day and was organised by Waveney District Council.

The festival expanded to two days in 1998 and drew crowds of about 80,000 people into the town. Crowds have continued to soar and in 2006 more than 400,000 flocked to the seafront, although this dropped last year because of poor weather.

The event has been organised by the Lowestoft Seafront Air Show charitable trust for the last four years with the help of corporate sponsors and donations from visitors to the seafront. This year's main sponsor is the Lowestoft Together community group.

The festival is free, but organisers have again stressed the importance of visitors donating at least £1 in the collecting buckets along the seafront to give something back towards the £300,000 cost of putting on the two-day event.

The two days of airborne entertainment will be followed on Saturday and Sunday by the Honda Formula 4-Stroke offshore powerboat grand prix, which is also free.

The powerboat racing starts at 11am on both days, off the South Beach, and features the Lowestoft-based Lings Honda team and the Red Devils 225hp boat, which is berthed in the Haven Marina in Lowestoft.

Visitors heading to the seafront to watch Sunday's powerboat finals will also be able to see the Eastern Lights motorcycle cavalcade, where about 1,000 motorcycles and scooters will head from Norwich to Lowestoft.

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