MORE than 20,000 hours of military flying experience will be on show at this weekend’s Sunderland Airshow.
The UK’s only full-time civilian display team The Blades are to take to the skies above Wearside for a spectacular display.
All formerly of the Red Arrows, members of The Blades team have flown Harriers, Jaguar and Hawks planes in the past.
Since the Blades were founded in 2006, they have been watched by more than 18 million people at more than 150 events, including the Queen’s 80th Birthday Celebrations at Balmoral, the Cannes International Advertising Festival and the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix.
The team, which flies the Extra 300 LP craft, will perform on Saturday and Sunday as part of the Airshow celebrations.
Myles Garland, founder member of The Blades, said the team are itching to fly at the prestigious event.
He said: “We all know that the Sunderland International Airshow is a very big event and it draws in hundreds of thousands of people.
“Knowing that there’s so many people watching as we perform our aerobatics over Sunderland’s coastline is something that The Blades are really looking forward to.”
Coun John Kelly, portfolio holder for culture, 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.
“Once again, we’ve got a varied line-up, with something for everyone as several old favourites are returning to us and we’re seeing new additions to the programme.
“We have a flying programme that will see more than eight hours of displays that includes classic fighters, a gigantic bomber, aerobatic trainers and super-sonic jets, all flying over Sunderland’s seafront.
“I’m very pleased to hear that we are by being joined by The Blades – the country’s only full-time civilian aerobatic team.
“They have a wealth of flying experience and I am sure The Blades are going to put on a real barnstorming performance for the airshow crowds.”
To find out more about events taking place at the Airshow call 553 2000/2001, visit www.sunderlandevents.com or follow the latest updates on Twitter: #sunderlandairshow or search Facebook for Official Sunderland International Airshow 2011.