Belfast Telegraph

Stunt planes and kites hit the skies over Northern Ireland

Stunt planes and kites wow crowds at weekend events

By Staff Reporter

Thousands of eyes turned to the skies on Saturday as the Red Arrows dazzled the crowds at this year's annual Newcastle Festival of Flight.

And on the Co Londonderry coast yesterday, an aerial acrobatic display of a different kind took place for the 7th National Trust Kite Festival.

The Co Down event saw the return of the world famous RAF aerobatic team as well as a host of vintage and modern planes.

But it wasn't just magnificent men in their flying machines wowing the crowds, as one of the UK's leading aerobatic display pilots Lauren Richardson performed death-defying stunts.

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The Red Arrows perform their world-famous breathtaking aerobatic stunts

There were also thrilling performances by display teams Global Stars, Team Raven, Muscle Pitts, Wildcat Aerobatics, and pilot, Lisburn man Simon Wilson.

The Avro Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was accompanied by a Spitfire and a Hurricane, as well as a fly-past by an RAF Chinook helicopter.

But there were also plenty of ground-based activities to bring punters back down to earth. The Ulster Aviation Society had its replica of the 1911 Ferguson Flyer on display. The aircraft built by Co Down inventor Harry Ferguson made the first powered flight in Ireland.

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Sophia McClintock

There was also a mock-up of an RAF Eurofighter Typhoon for festival-goers to see what it would be like to sit in the cockpit of the fighter jet.

In a moving tribute to the crew killed when Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 crashed, a search and rescue aircraft performed a slow fly-past above the Co Down seaside town.

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Oliver Shannon

Meanwhile, on the north coast a kaleidoscope of kites took to the skies at Downhill, featuring not only acrobatic stunt kites, but also a herd of inflatable animals - some as big as a house.

Kite fan Maggi Gray wrote on Facebook: "A brilliant day out."

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The crowd gets in position for the Festival of Flight

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