THE return of the RAF Typhoon to the Bournemouth Air Festival was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Friday’s flying.

Spectators came out in their tens of thousands to sample Friday's programme, which included a mixture of old and returning favourites alongside festival newcomers.

Reflecting on day two of this year’s show, BCP Tourism head of operations Chris Saunders said: “Yet again, we’ve been really lucky with the weather and day two has been a great start to the weekend for thousands of festival-goers.

“The action kicked off with crowd pleasers, the Tigers Army Parachute Display Team dropping onto the beach and saluting the mayors of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

“The excitement on the prom and clifftops was palpable as people waited for the much anticipated RAF Typhoon and Saab Draken to grace our skies.

“Families have enjoyed everything the RAF village has to offer - especially the fun of the dive tank demos - and it was another great day on the water, with tours of HMS Lyme Bay and Argyle in the sunshine.

“Today has been a great celebration of everything this spectacular stretch of coastline has to offer.

“With Air Festival action on land, at sea and, of course, in the skies, we’re proving that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole really is the coast with the most.”

RAF Typhoon pilot Flight Lieutenant Jim Peterson will take to the controls for two displays today– the first was part of the afternoon schedule with the second part of Night Air. 

“Flying the aircraft at its limits is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” said Flt Lt Peterson.

Speaking to the Daily Echo just hours before climbing into the cockpit, he added: “I love the arrival, turning up at more than 500mph at 100 feet and then ‘bang’ with the reheat and the noise, that is quite a spectacular arrival.” Flt Lt Peterson experienced 9G through to -3G during his displays.

Only training and his anti-G protection suit, which squeezes his legs really hard, kept him from passing out.

He said: “My heart has to work hard to keep my blood pressure up, and I also get pressure breathing from my oxygen mask which really increases the blood pressure.

“With that combined, and lots of training flights and work inside the centrifuge a lot, I am well used to being at 9G.”

Asked what the whole experience of displaying the Typhoon feels like, he answered: “The whole experience is a bit like being on the most extreme fairground ride you have ever been on.

“You cannot actually lift your arm. Above 6G I physically cannot lift my arm – my arm weighs so much that I don’t have the muscle strength to lift it.”

He controls the Typhoon because it has hands-on throttle and stick.

Everything Flt Lt Peterson needs to control the aircraft is at his fingertips.

“It is a bit like playing a Playstation or piano,” he told the Echo.