The iconic RAF Typhoon officially closed the four-day Bournemouth Air Festival on Sunday which attracted hundreds of thousands of people despite rain affecting the opening day.
However, unlike previous years, there has been no confirmation of dates for next year’s festival.
Portfolio holder for Connected Communities and Tourism at BCP Council, Cllr Millie Earl said: “No decisions have been made on the future of the air festival yet.
“In view of the financial pressures facing the council and the services we provide, we are pressing on with work to explore how we might be able to sustainably finance the free event in future.
“We will continue to have meetings with business leads as part of our working group, established in July.
“As part of forthcoming discussions, we’ll be analysing the data from this years’ festival and looking at some of the ideas we’ve received from business owners and festival goers over the last few days.”
This year’s festival saw the first appearances of the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco plane and Starlings Aerobatic team which were cheered by crowds on the cliff tops and beaches below.
Established favourites such as the Yakovlev 50 and de Havilland Vampire FB.52 enthralled viewers once again as they passed overhead.
The Lancaster flew majestically over Bournemouth Bay on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, accompanied by the Hurricane and ever popular Spitfire, as part of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
And, of course, the legendary Red Arrows brought their breathtaking displays to the sunny skies across three separate days of the festival.
Cllr Millie Earl said: “Bournemouth Air Festival once again did not fail to disappoint the crowds that came in their thousands to the town. From iconic favourites to new debuts, it’s been a fantastic few days of entertainment for everyone.”
On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Firebirds Display Team and Otto the Schweizer 300C helicopter lit up the night skies with their vibrant pyrotechnics.
Nigel Reid, one half of the Firebirds team which also includes John Dodd, was one of the civilian pilots taking part in this year’s event.
The Poole-based father of five, whose two sons are also in aviation, has a rich family history of flying.
He said: “I’d wanted to be a pilot since I was nine years old and my father had a Gipsy Moth plane, which was identical to the one English pilot Amy Johnson flew in 1930 when she was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia.
“I love displaying at Bournemouth Air Festival. It’s a beautiful bay to perform at and feels even more amazing to have grown up here and now be entertaining the thousands watching.”
Visitors taking in the vast site enjoyed a host of land-based activities that took place in the RAF, Navy and Army villages on the ground.
Family entertainment, fairground rides, pier-to-pier trading, free outdoor films, live music and fireworks also added to a cracking atmosphere for 2023. Hundreds of budding engineers experienced this year’s Ultra Energy STEM Village (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), which featured demonstrations from local companies.
Inspiring the next generation
As part of a bid to inspire the next generation of engineers in the area, six primary school children from BCP met the Red Arrows at this year’s festival after winning a competition to design a paper aeroplane.
Red Arrows Wing Commander Adam Collins spoke about how innovative the planes were and how some of them related to the coastline on which the festival is based.
At the end of the meeting, the pilots flew the paper aeroplanes and answered questions from the children about what it took to be a Red Arrows’ pilot.
Jon Weaver, Air Festival Director, BCP Council said: “Once again, we’ve had a fantastic Bournemouth Air Festival and I’m always incredibly proud of the team who have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to ensure its success.
“Although the weather on Thursday caused a slight setback, summer arrived in spectacular style which meant the number of people enjoying the festival over the last few days may well have got close to breaking our record attendance figures.
“The quality of displays and great weather since has made sure it’s been an event to remember. There has been a wide variety of activities and entertainment throughout the four days that has appealed to everyone and that’s what a festival is all about.
“Putting together an event of this magnitude means a huge amount of partnership working and my immense thanks go to everyone involved in this year’s festival; from the emergency services to the armed forces and RNLI, as well as colleagues, our sponsors, hospitality partners and traders.”
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