New jet makes air show a roaring success

MORE than 50,000 people were left in awe by the power of the new Eurofighter aircraft at a major air show in Essex.

Elliot Furniss

MORE than 50,000 people were left in awe by the power of the new Eurofighter aircraft at a major air show in Essex.

The annual Clacton Air Show started yesterday and one of the many highlights was a stunning display by a Eurofighter Typhoon F2, which has two EJ200 engines capable of producing an impressive 20,000lbs of thrust in full afterburner.

The jet ripped through the Clacton skies, performing a range of daring summersaults and twists and generating a deafening explosion of noise each time it passed the shore.

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Also on show were a trio of British classics - a Hurricane, a Spitfire and a Lancaster Bomber - all part of a Battle of Britain memorial flight that brought a tear to the eye of many of the elderly members of the vast crowd.

The three World War Two veteran aircraft polished off a breathtaking series of displays with a moving flypast.

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Special guest Squadron Leader William 'Bill' Drinkell, an 86-year-old former Lancaster pilot who flew 30 bombing sorties into Germany during the Second World War, said it was “an honour” to be invited to take part in such a special day.

Throw in the world famous Red Arrows display team, a string of high-speed stunts and some expert wing-walking and there really was something for everyone.

Les Double, Tendring District Council's head of regeneration, said the first part of the two-day show had been a big success and was thankful the bad weather had held off.

He said: “It's a damn good free event for the people of Tendring and Essex. It extends the bank holiday weekend and gives the local economy a boost - for many people it's the last chance to have a break this summer.”

As well as the exciting aerial entertainment, there were dozens of stalls, rides and activities on offer.

Five-year-old Will Wheeler, of Great Henny, near Sudbury, said: “I like watching all the planes - that one (the typhoon) was very loud and a big surprise.”

Organiser Mike Bateson said planning for next year's show would begin within a few days as there was always so much feedback to go through in a bid to make each year better than the last.

He said: “We aim to keep this as a family event and the size is of a scale where everybody has got space to move and see the flying and have a good look around before going into town and sampling the delights of Clacton.”

The show, along Clacton seafront, continues today with more displays from the Eurofighter, the red Arrows and the battle of Britain Memorial flight and, as yesterday, entry is free.

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