Trio of wartime-era planes join RAF Red Arrows as airshow returns after Covid hiatus

The roar of modern jet engines and the whirr of wartime propellers will be heard along the north coast this summer, as the Red Arrows are joined by trio of antique aircraft as the annual airshow returns.

By Adam Kula
Monday, 11th April 2022, 2:33 pm
Updated Monday, 11th April 2022, 3:12 pm
Pictured launching The NI International Air Show 2022 are Leo McIntyre and Evie Cowan from Mill Strand Integrated Primary School in Portrush, with a model Lancaster Bomber
Pictured launching The NI International Air Show 2022 are Leo McIntyre and Evie Cowan from Mill Strand Integrated Primary School in Portrush, with a model Lancaster Bomber

It has just been announced that the RAF aerobatics squad will make an appearance at the NI International Airshow, joined by a Spitfire, a Hurricane, and a gigantic Lancaster Bomber.

The show runs from September 11 to 12 (a Saturday and Sunday), and today some details were unveiled about which aeroplanes will be taking part.

The Red Arrows will headline the opening day, flying their Hawk T1 jets along the coast.

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There will appearances by a Typhoon jet on both days.

Exact timings have yet to be publicised.

The show was formerly known as Airwaves Portrush.

But now the aeroplanes will be flying above and between both Portrush and Portstewart.

The event forms part of the borough’s Platinum Jubillee calendar, celebrating 70 years of the Queen’s reign.

Ray Burrows MBE, the chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society (which assists in staging the show), said that there are quite a number of Spitfires still active in the UK.

Hurricanes are rarer, with perhaps a half-dozen or so still flying.

And Lancasters are virtually an extinct species nowadays, with only two craft still flying in the entire world – one in Canada, and one in the UK (though a third one may become airworthy in Yorkshire in the near future).

With no airshow on the north coast for two years due to the pandemic (the last was 2019), and the cancellation of the Newcastle airshow in Co Down this June, Mr Burrows said people are “looking forward tremendously” to the September event.

“Apart from anything else it’s a big chance for us to meet the public; we pick up a lot of new members,” he said.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, UUP councillor Richard Holmes, said: “We have already secured a show-stopping line-up of world-famous aviation attractions with further displays of renowned aerobatic teams and fast jets to be announced over the coming months.

“Our new three-mile coastal location between Portrush and Portstewart will provide a spectacular backdrop with lots of live music, local produce, static aircraft displays and family fun, and the not-to-be-missed STEM Village, ensuring there is something for everyone.”

The STEM Village (standing for science, technology and maths) is a series of exhibits from employers and education providers, aimed at inspiring young people to consider a career in these fields.

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