Posted in Life, Travel

Bournemouth Air Festival

The Bournemouth Air Festival is quite a big thing it seems.  Since it started in 2008 my family and friends in Bournemouth have done nothing but rave about it.

As I said before, this was the first time since 2000 I’d been in Bournemouth at this time of year, and I timed my visit to coincide with the Air Festival to see what all the fuss was about.

The Festival is arranged over four days – Thursday to Sunday.  On the first morning I went with mum and my two nephews to see the model Chinook parked at the Pier Approach.  The younger nephew kept asking “are we going to take off?” – he was rather worried!  The ‘look inside’ of the Chinook was essentially a recruitment exercise for the Royal Navy, and rather disappointing overall. However, the boys enjoyed it.

That evening we went to the ‘night flying’ part of the show.  This was much better than the Chinook.  Have you ever seen a plane flying with fireworks coming out of its wings?  No? Me neither.  It was awesome.


Dad also made a video.

The next day my husband landed at Heathrow. While not strictly (at all) part of the Air Festival, Dad and I found an excellent spot to watch the planes landing.  It’s quite incredible to stand just meters from the end of the runway, yet be in a residential street.  We also heard an interesting sound phenomenon between two planes landing which we later determined to be ‘wake vortex turbulence’ [pdf].  Here’s my video of one of the landings:

With my husband safely transported to Bournemouth, within hours we were standing on the clifftop eagerly awaiting the Red Arrows’ appearance. He had never seen them before and I assured him he was in for a treat.  Sure enough, right on time, they came screaming low over the town from behind us. I imagine most people’s reaction at that time was “I want to be a pilot!”

Because the cloud cover was low the Red Arrows performed their ‘flat display’.  They went round and round in circles, seamlessly making different formations, and performing many aerobatic maneuvers.

Red Arrows.
Red Arrows.

We were lucky enough to see them again on Saturday too. The cloud cover had lifted and we were treated to their vertical display. There were hundreds of boats around the pier, all in prime position for the show.

Red Arrows over Bournemouth Pier.
Red Arrows over Bournemouth Pier.

Here’s the video we made:

Of course, the Air Festival was much more than the Red Arrows.  There were WW2 planes, helicopter displays and a Eurofighter demonstration too.  Amazingly the weather was absolutely perfect for the four days – not too hot, very sunny and little wind.  I will now be raving about the Air Festival like everyone else!



Travel, photography, blogging, being an expat. And that's just in my spare time.

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