Wildcat debut for Newcastle

**** Wildcat debut for Newcastle ****

This week the aerobatic team Wildcat Aerobatics released their 2017 schedule which included a debut display in Newcastle on the 5th August.

Wildcat Aerobatics fly two Pitts S2B aircraft in a pairs display which are flown just feet apart as they wow the crowd with close formation aerobatics.

The Wildcat Aerobatics team got great reviews from their Northern Ireland debut last September up in Portrush, and now its Newcastle’s turn to see just what they can do!

An exciting addition to the Newcastle Festival of Flight with plenty more to come 😉

Image not our own, from Wildcat Aerobatics website.

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*** Red Arrows return to Newcastle ***

*** Red Arrows return to Newcastle ***

The RAF Red Arrows have today released their schedule and they will once again be returning to Newcastle for the Festival of Flight on August 5th.

The Red Arrows were the first ever jet display at the Festival of Flight back at the first show in 2010.

They fly 9 Hawk T1 aircraft with Red, White & Blue smoke and are based out of RAF Scampton. The Red Arrows are recognised as one of, if not the best aerobatic display team in the world.

The Festival of Flight on August 5th will once again have the sound of jet engines around the Mourne Mountains!!


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** First Newcastle display confirmed **

The first confirmed display for the Newcastle Festival of Flight is the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight who will be sending their newly painted Lancaster Bomber alongside a Spitfire and Hurricane to Newcastle on the 5th August.

The BBMF have become a regular fixture in Newcastle since their debut in 2013 and the Lancaster has been to Newcastle twice before, most recently last year when it displayed alongside two Spitfires!

The Hurricane will be making its Newcastle debut and it will be the first time Newcastle has seen the iconic trio together in the skies.

The Hurricane was originally scheduled to display with the Lancaster and Spitfire last year however due to operational reasons the BBMF sent a 2nd Spitfire (Not that this admin was complaining at the sight and sound of two Spitfires in Newcastle’s skies!!)

The Lancaster will however no longer be in the paint scheme known as ‘Thumper’ and will have a new paint scheme, a duel sided paint scheme for 2017 onwards.

On the right hand side we will see the markings of 50 Squadron code letters ‘VN-T’ representing Lancaster LL922. The Lancaster flown by the grandfather of the current BBMF OC Andy ‘Milli’ Millikin. The ‘City of Lincoln’ markings will be retained.

And on the left side we will see the markings of Lancaster BIII W5005 ‘AR-L’ “Leader” of 460 (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron. There will also be a special nose art kangaroo in wellington boots playing bagpipes reflecting the mixed nationalities of the crew: Scottish, Welsh and Australian.

The BBMF confirmed the Newcastle display last night with the release of their schedule to the public, and on August 5th 2017 Newcastle will once again hear the sounds of 6 mighty Rolls-Royce Merlin engines!!


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***** Newcastle Date Confirmed *****

(Repost of earlier post)

***** Newcastle Date Confirmed *****

This is the news you have been asking for! Festival of Flight Airshow returns to Newcastle, Co Down on Saturday the 5th of August.

The festival itself will run over 2 days, Friday 4th & Saturday 5th August and the airshow itself will be on the Saturday.

I know many of you have been asking for the dates, we have known the date for quite a while, and it has been mentioned on a few event websites in the last few weeks, however we were unable to post until we got official confirmation.

The confirmation came yesterday via Discover Northern Ireland, and the news is the Festival of Flight will once again take off on Saturday 5th August.

As of right now no aircraft have been confirmed to the public. As soon as we hear anything, and are able to do so, we will let you know!!

Full Press Release

The Festival of Flight 2017 will once again launch a full programme of thrilling events in Newcastle, County Down 4th & 5th August with the airshow taking place on Saturday 5th August 2017.

The airshow is the centre piece of the Festival where the crowds watch in awe as the sky over Dundrum Bay is filled with the roar of engines. There will also be a programme of amazing displays throughout the afternoon with the Aviation Village so come early and book your space!

The Festival of Flight is one of the major highlights in Northern Ireland’s event calendar, attracting many thousands of visitors.

Keep an eye on the website for full programme of events.

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Update on Newcastle 2017

Hi folks, we hope you had a great Christmas and New Years.

We have been getting a lot of questions lately as to when the 2017 B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight will take place.

Right now there IS a date in place and some sites are reporting this date, however we understand this is still a provisional date and therefore we are reluctant to post this date until officially confirmed by Down Festivals themselves, or when aircraft start to confirm the dates.

The reason we won’t post the date until we start to get confirmations is due to people looking to book hotels etc. We don’t want to say a date, only for it to change before being officially confirmed.

But yes, from what we have been told there is a date in place that I personally believe is 99.999% accurate. We will publish the date as soon as Down Festivals/Visit Mourne or the Aircraft schedules confirm the date.

As we are not officially connected to the council, we have to take extra measures to ensure the information we give out is 100% accurate.

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Newcastle aircraft profile day 10 – Eurofighter Typhoon

The final day of our aircraft profile for the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight in Newcastle is the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon. A regular in Newcastle making its 5th appearance. And with being one of the most impressive and most talked about displays in 2015, The Typhoon Display is sure to be the star of the 2016 show!

When you see the Typhoon performing on this year’s display circuit it will be the culmination of months of hard work, detailed preparation and concerted effort by the team behind the display. Whilst it is the pilot who displays the aircraft, he cannot even begin to do his job without the unfaltering commitment and backing of the dedicated group of professionals that make up the Typhoon Display Team.

This year’s team, from 29(R) Squadron, comprises a specialist from every aircraft trade along with support and management teams to assist both the pilot and the trades, all of whom work closely together to bring you the dazzling spectacle that is the Typhoon Display.

Every member of the team has been hand picked from what is already an elite cadre of skilled personnel at RAF Coningsby. They have proven themselves in their day jobs and are now privileged and proud to represent the very best in excellence and dedication that the Royal Air Force can offer.

The teams look forward to the unique challenges that a display season brings and the opportunity to showcase the Royal Air Force Typhoon 2016 display to the general public.


The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft providing simultaneously deployable Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface capabilities.

It is in service with 6 customers across 20 operational units and has been ordered by a seventh. The aircraft has demonstrated, and continues to demonstrate, high reliability across the globe in all climates. It has been combat proven during operations in Libya.

Development of the aircraft effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaborative effort between the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Because of disagreements over design authority and operational requirements, France left the consortium to develop the Dassault Rafale independently instead.

A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP, first took flight on 6 August 1986; the first prototype of the finalised Eurofighter made its first flight on 27 March 1994. The name of the aircraft, Typhoon, was formally adopted in September 1998; the first production contracts were signed that same year.


Flight Lieutenant Mark Long

The 2016 Typhoon Display Pilot is Flt Lt Mark Long, known as ‘Schlongy’, whowas born in Bury St Edmunds and grew up in Essex.

Mark was introduced to flying with frequent visits to both Duxford and Mildenhall Airshows, and always aspired to join the RAF. Without his parents knowledge, on his 17th Birthday Mark walked into Cambridge Armed Forces Careers Office and professed his ambition to fly fast jets in the Royal Air Force…. 4 months later he was awarded a RAF Bursary to study Economics.

Whilst studying at the University of Warwick, Mark learnt to fly the Bulldog and Grob Tutor on the University of Birmingham Air Squadron.

Mark graduated from Initial Officer Training in 2003 and was subsequently sent to RAF Linton On Ouse to fly the Tucano. He was awarded his ‘wings’ in 2004 and began his Advanced Flying Training (AFT) on the Hawk in 2005. Mark was selected to remain on 208(R) Sqn to take on the role of a ‘creamie’ instructor.

On completion of his instructional tour, Mark was role disposed to the Harrier GR7/9 and was posted to 1(F) Sqn, RAF Cottesmore. During his time on the Harrier, Mark achieved Combat Ready status and participated in a number of major exercises. He was also the last RAF Harrier pilot qualified to conduct operations off an aircraft carrier.

In 2012 Mark joined the Typhoon Force, and was assigned to 11 Sqn at RAF Coningsby, where he revalidated his Combat Ready qualifications. Mark has deployed on Air Policing duties in the Baltic States, in addition to holding QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties in the UK and South Atlantic.

It was back to instructional duties in 2014, with a posting to 29(R) Sqn. His primary role is to teach the student pilots how to operate the Typhoon, ensuring they are trained and ready to join a Typhoon frontline squadron. Additional to his instructional duties, Mark contributes to RAF Coningsby’s primary task of defending UK sovereign airspace.

Mark lives in Lincolnshire, with his wife Beth and his two daughters. In his spare time Mark enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, playing all racket sports, golf and getting out on his motorbikes. He regularly rides at Cadwell Park, striving to achieve respectable lap times on his Track Bikes.

Last years Typhoon display was called the best ever seen at Newcastle, so there are high expectations on Mark Long this year, and from what we have seen already of him in the Typhoon in 2016 he is really making a case for best Typhoon display yet!

Info from RAF Website. Photo from Fighter Control.

We hope you have enjoyed our Aircraft profiles each day in the run up to the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight in Newcastle. We believe this Saturday will see some amazing displays. So to you all, have a great weekend, and enjoy the main event, kicking off at the new time of 2:15pm on Saturday 6th August!


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Newcastle Aircraft profile day 9 – Red Arrows

Day 9 of our Newcastle aircraft profile are the World Famous RAF Red Arrows who fly 9 T1 Hawk aircraft.

The Red Arrows are returning to Newcastle, having missed last years show during a weekend that was plagued by technical problems for the whole team.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams. Representing the speed, agility and precision of the RAF, the team is the public face of the service.

They assist in recruiting to the Armed Forces, act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom and promote the best of British. Flying distinctive Hawk jets, the team is made up of pilots, engineers and essential support staff with front-line, operational experience.

Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team.

This aircraft was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters. In their first season, they flew at 65 shows across Europe. In 1966, the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their Diamond Nine formation.

In late 1979, they switched to the BAE Hawk trainer. The Red Arrows have performed over 4,600 displays in 56 countries worldwide

The engineering team that supports the Red Arrows is known as “The Blues” and consists of 85 members who cover all of the various trades in the RAF.

Each season nine members of the Blues are selected to be members of the ‘Circus’. Each member of the Circus works with the same pilot for the duration of the season and is responsible for servicing their aircraft and preparing their flying kit prior to each display. The Circus also fly in the back seat of the jets during transit flights.


The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.

The Hawks used by the Red Arrows are modified with an uprated engine and a modification to enable smoke to be generated, diesel is mixed with a coloured dye and ejected into the jet exhaust to produce either red, white or blue smoke.

We look forward to seeing the Red Arrows back in the skies of Newcastle this Saturday after their two week break. On a side note the Red Arrows final display before the break was over Irish skies in Bray a fortnight ago.

Info from Wiki and Red Arrows website. Photograph our own.

Check back tomorrow for our final Newcastle Aircraft profile, which is none other than the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon which amazed Newcastle last summer with many saying it was the best Typhoon display they have ever seen.

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