A COLD War icon is returning to the skies as part of this year’s Sunderland International Airshow.
The world’s last flying Avro Vulcan bomber is set to wow the crowds at the 2011 event, which takes place on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, over the city’s coastline at Seaburn and Roker.
The giant of the skies, designed to carry nuclear weapons during the Cold War, last spread its wings at the airshow two years ago, and will be putting in an appearance on both days.
More than eight hours of flying displays are promised for visitors to the 23rd annual airshow, which is organised by Sunderland Council.
The event takes place between 10am and 6pm on both days, with a full programme of activity in the air and on the ground across the weekend.
A launch party and live music in Cliffe Park, Roker, with fireworks and a sunset flying display, is lined up for July 29, between 7pm and 10pm.
Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for Safer City and Culture, celebrated the news with a visit to the Vulcan bomber exhibit at the North East Aircraft Museum, Washington, where it has been on show since January 1983.
He said: “This is the 23rd year of the Sunderland International Airshow and it has become one of the best and biggest events of its kind.
“I’m very pleased to say that there is, once again, something for everyone.
“There are several favourites returning to see us and also new additions to the flying programme.”
He added: “The Vulcan is such a massive aircraft and it does not look like it could be in the skies.
“By the very size of the thing, you will see it coming from miles away.”
Coun Kelly added he did not think the absence of the popular Red Arrows would take anything away from the spectacle.
“The Red Arrows are not available due to commitments.
“Unfortunately, this time, it happens to coincide with the airshow.
“But we have not always had the Red Arrows – the first couple of years we had the airshow they did not perform.
“The programme is still very, very full.”