Some of the world’s most famous aviation attractions dazzled huge crowds over the Causeway Coast at the weekend, as Air Waves Portrush confirmed its place as the largest air show on the island of Ireland.
The two-day festival attracted up to 200,000 spectators for a packed programme of aerial and land-based entertainment and a showcase of the province’s aerospace industry.
Saturday’s clear skies and sunshine brought the crowds in their droves for a full day of spectacular flying which climaxed with a full display by the ever-popular RAF Red Arrows. The skies above Portstewart lit up on Saturday evening with a pyrotechnics flight and fireworks display. Sunday’s early rain and low cloud meant a curtailed programme and the cancellation of the Red Arrows, which were due to open the show, but this did not deter thousands of die-hard fans who flocked in to see the afternoon’s spectacles.
Highlights on both days included the immense and noisy Eurofighter Typhoon jet performing with incredible agility; the spectacular routines of the Muscle Bi-plane and the breath-taking aerial gymnastics of the Wildcat Aerobatics.
The Cold War Soviet fighter jet, the MiG-15 UTI, and the mighty American-built flying boat, the Catalina, Vietnam veterans Huey and Loach and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire also wowed crowds with their distinctive flypasts.
Sunday’s air show drew to a poignant close with a Royal British Legion Poppy Drop by the Huey helicopter, which showered spectators with a cloud of fluttering poppies.
Air Waves Portrush is now in its 15th year and is the fourth biggest show in the UK. Director of Leisure & Development for Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Richard Baker said, “Air Waves Portrush is not only a spectacular family day out, but also an important showcase for Northern Ireland’s outstanding aerospace industry. In a new departure, we hosted a Business Engagement event to a capacity audience on Sunday with Mr Peter Ruddock CB CBE FRAeS, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin UK delivering the keynote address. Also, our STEM Village is an excellent interactive showcase for career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and the airshow is a great way of connecting the spectacle in the sky with future careers inspiration.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, Cllr Joan Baird OBE, said, “This event is a tremendous success and it is getting better every year. Thanks to every visitor who comes to this part of the world to see it and experience it for themselves – it is truly spectacular, and the final word must go to our sponsors who have supported the event and made it all possible.”
For more information on Air Waves Portrush visit www.airwavesportrush.co.uk or for the weekend’s images search for Air Waves Portrush on social media.