The Red Arrows return to Sunderland Airshow

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THE Red Arrows will be jetting in to this year’s Sunderland International Airshow.

The RAF’s premier display team, which suffered the tragic loss of two pilots in accidents last year, is scheduled to appear on both Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22, in the airshow’s 24th year.

The famous aerobatic team appears in dozens of events around the world every year and has made frequent appearances since debuting at the airshow in 1992 – although did not take part last year.

Widely recognised as one of the largest free events of its kind, the airshow is set to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators to the city’s coastline to watch the showcase in the sky.

A programme of supporting events across the city is also being planned, including a launch party at Cliffe Park on the evening of Friday, July 20.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson is excited about seeing the Arrows weaving their patterns over the skies of Roker and Seaburn.

Coun Watson said: “The Red Arrows are the RAF’s premier display team and have a track record of wooing the Sunderland International Airshow crowds.

“It’s great to hear that they’re joining us again in Sunderland for our airshow.

“Once again they will be showcasing the excellence and professionalism of our armed forces personnel.

“I know everyone will be looking forward to seeing the Red Arrows alongside the rest of this year’s line-up.”

The Red Arrows’ Hawk Jets can reach speeds of up 550mph during their routines.

The RAF was stunned to have to deal with the death of two its pilots last year, firstly during a routine at a festival in Bournemouth, Dorset, before losing another when an ejector seat went off while on the tarmac at a Lincolnshire airbase.

The event is usually held over the last weekend of July each year but has had to be brought forward this year due to the beginning of the 2012 London Olympics.

The airshow takes place between 10am and 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday with a full programme of activity in the air and on the ground across the weekend.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho