Ready for (almost) anything! - Pilots reveal what could ground Sunderland Airshow displays this weekend

With a yellow weather warning in place for rain, we speak to the man in charge of coordinating the weekend’s flying programme about what could possible ground some of the shows.

By Poppy Kennedy
Friday, 26 July, 2019, 16:30
The Swiss Airforce PC-7 Team.

The weather forecast for the weekend doesn’t reflect the scorching, sunny week we’ve enjoyed in Sunderland.

And regular visitors to the airshow will know flying displays may be cancelled due to bad weather.

But what is it exactly that will ground an airshow display?

Coun John Kelly, MD of Sunderland AFC Tony Davison, and assistant director of culture and events Victoria French, with the flying teams at the Airshow launch

Flying Display Director Dave Walton says it’s all about one thing – visibility.

“We will be alright for some of the days, we will do our best to get some flying on for everybody,” he said.

“The biggest problem for us is low cloud and visibility so even if it’s raining we can still fly as long as the cloud base is high enough.

“We’ll keep a good eye on what’s coming up from the south and make a view on whether we can get any flying done.

Members of the Royal Navy Wildcat Helicopter team

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“The Swiss PC-7 team are here, it’s the first time they’ve been to this event, we’re really pleased to have them here this year.

“The Swedish Draken, which is an ex-military Swedish jet, that’s the first time this has been here as well – so we have two air crafts that we are really excited to have here.”

Airshow activities will begin at 2pm today and run throughout the entire weekend.

A performance to look out for his the Swiss Air Force PC-7 team who are set to display at 7.20pm on Friday, July 26, and will fit into the programme between 3pm and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Cedric Spoerri, known as Cedi, is the speaker of the PC-7 team and will command the whole show.

He said: “We will perform a 25-minute show with nine PC-7 air crafts, we will see some looping and distance between the air crafts is just three to four metres.

“We will show you spectacular crossings as well as a solo programme. We are looking forward to our show this evening.

“It’s our first time here and we’re really looking forward to it. We hope the weather will stay more or less like this or even better and we can fly our show as it’s planned.”