Is Red Arrows Portrush display in jeopardy?

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ORGANISERS of next week’s NI International Airshow in Portrush will have to wait until tomorrow (Wednesday) to hear whether the Red Arrows will appear.

The Red Arrows have suspended all flying displays following the death of one of their pilots at an air show in Bournemouth at the weekend.

Flight lieutenant Jon Egging was killed when his T1 aircraft plunged to the ground near Bournemouth airport in Dorset on Saturday, partly ending up in the River Stour after completing a display over the town’s seafront.

Gp Capt Simon Blake, the commandant of the RAF Central Flying School, said the Ministry of Defence had begun an investigation into the cause of the crash and all Red Arrows Hawk T1 aircraft had been grounded as a standard safety measure.

He said: “At this juncture it is too early to speculate as to the cause of the accident.

“In accordance with normal policy the Ministry of Defence has appointed a service inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and... have grounded the Hawk T1 temporarily until its safety can be assured.

“As for the rest of the season it is too early to speculate as to when the Red Arrows will be back on the public circuit but suffice to say for the short term they will not be able to perform in public.”

A spokesperson for Coleraine Borough Council would only say that they were awaiting further details about the Red Arrows tomorrow (Wednesday).

Despite the sad news, the tenth year of the amazing NI International Airshow in Portrush, Coleraine Borough Council is set to welcome a number of crowd favourites.

The free show, sponsored by SPAR and Northern Ireland Tourist Board, takes place at the seaside town on the first weekend of September.

The ever-popular Wingwalkers are back with a stunning new paint job and a new name, Team Breitling, named after the famous Swiss watches. The thrilling stunt show which features girls standing on the wing while the aircraft performs loops and spins has always been popular with spectators and was much missed from last year’s programme.

To celebrate the tenth show the team has made a special effort to make it to the north coast and will use the occasion to give a thrill of a lifetime to our VIP guest during the show.

Welcoming the stunning helicopter displays, Coleraine Borough Council has secured the first appearance in Ireland of the famous Vietnam Pair, (a Huey and Hughes Loach), two American military helicopters from the 1960s.

A Royal Navy Sea King will also display on Saturday and perform a rescue demonstration in partnership with RNLI Portrush lifeboat. All three helicopters will be on static display at the tennis courts at Ramore Head for the public to get a closer look. For those who want to take to the air themselves, there will be helicopter pleasure flights operating all weekend.

One of the reasons for the spectacular popularity of the event is that it is much more than just an airshow. There will be something to appeal to all tastes. The shoreline is packed with arena shows such as England’s Crazy Bear Roadshow, Yorkshire’s Rapide Brothers, World War 2 re-enactors, model aircraft, quiz shows and giveaways, 80 trade stands, Royal Navy rugby, RAF Typhoon cockpit, simulators, Candy Devine’s Downtown Radio show, Royal Marine Unarmed Combat demo and of course the parade and poppy drop to mark the 90th year of the Royal British Legion.Best of all, because the show is right in the heart of Portrush, visitors can pop off to some of the best entertainment and eateries in the area as sponsors Barry’s, Wine Bar and the Adelphi will be welcoming guests and visitors to the area.

The Airshow which enjoys support from Causeway SPAR Retail Group takes place on 3rd and 4th September, starting at 11am on both days.