FASTEN your seatbelts – this year’s Sunderland International Airshow is really taking off.
Earlier this month, the Echo revealed how the world-famous Red Arrows were returning to the show.
Now, they are to be joined by front-line jets from the Royal Air Force, with fly-bys from the Typhoon and Tornado aircraft.
Organised by Sunderland City Council, the airshow is now in its 24th year and widely recognised as one of the largest free events of its kind, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators to the coastline along Roker and Seaburn.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “This year’s airshow line-up is really shaping up with some premier attractions, the Red Arrows are already scheduled for appearances on both days and now we are set to see and hear the Tornado and Typhoon.
“The RAF is taking a lead role in this year’s event and it will be showcasing the training, excellence and professionalism of its personnel with all these displays.”
The RAF Typhoon was first used by the RAF in 2003 and the fighters are on constant alert ready to intercept, identify and intervene if an unidentified aircraft approaches the shores of the UK.
They carry out a number of roles, from ground attack to air defence, and most recently saw active service in Libya. They also took part in the airshow two years ago.
RAF spokesman Wing Commander Andrew Pemberton said: “The Typhoon display team is eagerly looking forward to appearing in Sunderland this year. The jet is currently busy preparing for its vital role at the Olympic games and is a real crowd pleaser.”
The Tornado is the RAF’s primary attack aircraft, and is renowned for its “swing wings” which, when swept back, allow the jet to reach supersonic speeds.
They have been deployed in Iraq and Kosovo and most recently saw active service in Libya, where they flew on one of the longest strategic bombings missions ever conducted by the RAF.
Wing Commander Pemberton added: “Tornado celebrates its 30th year and has a keen following among aviation enthusiasts. We know it will be hugely popular and delighted it will be able to attend.”
The airshow takes place between 10am and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22. It was brought forward a week this year to avoid clashing with the Olympic Games opening ceremony.