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Thirtieth Sunderland Airshow gets ready to fly

Crowds are starting to build at Roker and Seaburn ahead of this afternoon's Sunderland International Airshow.

The sun may be struggling to make its mind up, but that's not putting off the spectators and entertainment is under way on the ground.

Andy Evans, leader of the Blades

Andy Evans, leader of the Blades

The flying displays are due to kick off at 12.43pm, with an appearance by the Schweizer 300C helicopter.

The RAF Red Arrows will close the show at 4.30pm but entertainment on the ground will carry on until 7pm.

The weather, has, however, taken its toll, with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the RAF Falcons forced to cancel their appearances.

The Memorial Flight will not appear tomorrow, either, but the Falcons are hopeful they will be able to make it.

Mette and Kenneth Aarkvisla, of the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron

Mette and Kenneth Aarkvisla, of the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron

Among those who will be on show today are the Blades aerobatic display team: "It's all systems go," said team leader Andy Evans.

"There's some weather about but hopefully by the time the show comes round, everything should be good.

"The atmosphere at Sunderland is always great and the crowds are amazing.

"There is a real sense of excitement."

Husband and wife Kenneth and Mette Aarkvisla are at the show with the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron, which will be restaging a Cold War dog fight, with a couple of British-built de Havilland Vampires and a Russian Mig 15.

"The Mig is the bad guy - it has to be shot down," explained Kenneth.

"We have been several times before and we like Sunderland very much."

Mette has been impressed with the organisation behind the scenes.

"The Sunderland Airshow works very well," she said.

"It has been very well organised by the council and TSA, who organise the display."