BOURNEMOUTH Air Festival organisers have their ‘fingers crossed’ that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) will still be able to display this year.

Historic BBMF aircraft have been taken out of action over engine-related safety fears.

The planes, reportedly a Lancaster bomber, two Hurricanes and three Spitfires have been grounded after the discovery of a technical defect.

Yesterday, Bournemouth Air Festival director Jon Weaver told the Daily Echo: “As they further investigate it will become clearer, into next week, whether it is a simple problem or not - then we’ll have a better idea.

“After speaking to the BBMF it is simply unknown if they’ll be able to fly- it is a case of wait and see.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed, but we still have a range other heritage aircraft set to appear and other options.

“By the beginning of next week, we will have a better idea of what the situation is.”

Operated by the Royal Air Force, some of the famous aircraft were due to take part in a public display on Wednesday that was cancelled as a result.

The Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricanes were due to fly at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival, which begins on Thursday, August 31.

Based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, the BBMF keeps six Spitfires, two Hurricane Mk 2Cs, a Lancaster and a C47 Dakota preserved in airworthy condition.

They are some of the last Second World War planes to still fly today.

The BBMF’s three remaining Spitfires use different engines but are reportedly also out of action due to other reasons.

A spokesman for the BBMF told the BBC the problem is “related to the Merlin engine”, which powers aircraft including the Spitfire, Lancaster and Hurricane, but “affects all current and serviceable display aircraft”.

Some of the planes were due to perform a display at the Weymouth Carnival on Wednesday.

In post on Facebook organisers said: “The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight have informed us that they have identified a technical defect with one of the aircraft which has lead them to ground all three aircraft ... The safety of the teams and public during displays is of paramount importance, hence why this call has been made by the display teams.”