Meet the Sunderland International Airshow pilots

The pilots responsible for performing Sunderland International Airshow's stunning displays chatted with the Echo as they prepared for this year's finale.

Sunday, 24th July 2016, 10:47 am
Updated Sunday, 24th July 2016, 11:54 am
Pilots Dan Griffith and Peter Teichman of the Hangar 11 Collection.

Having stayed at Sunderland's brand new Hilton Garden Inn during this year's event, the pilots were due to attend a briefing about the final day's flying programme.

Taking time out of their busy day, the Echo caught up with three of them in the hotel foyer.

RAF Typhoon display pilot Mark Long.

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Pilots Peter Teichman and Dan Griffith fly for the Hangar 11 Collection.

The pair have a collective flying experience of around 60 years and ex-RAF test pilot Dan works as an airline pilot.

Peter, an entrepreneur by day, said: "I'm flying a P51 Mustang and my colleague Dan is flying a P40 Kittyhawk.

"These were the two prominent fighter aircraft of the US Air Force during the Second World War.

RAF Typhoon display pilot Mark Long.

"They served in Europe, the Pacific and Indo-China, and they are both over 70 years old now.

"We are doing a classic pairs display, showing the best of these aircraft, with a number of pairs manoeuvres, building into what we call a tail chase, with one in front of the other, then I do a half-Cuban - or figure of eight - manoeuvre.

"Then he does the same, before we break into two solo displays and aerobatic manoeuvres.

"These aren't stunt aircraft - they are 5-tonne war machines. the Mustang was the greatest fighter plane of the Second World War."

Fellow pilot Mark Long, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, has been flying for 14 years, including six years' experience as a Typhoon display pilot.

It's his first year at Sunderland airshow, but the 35-year-old, originally from Essex, was in the city to see Beyonce at the Stadium of Light, last month.

He has already flown twice this weekend.

He said: "I will be doing an eight-minute show, showing off the power and agility of the Typhoon, with 9G turns at up to 750mph."