CLOUDS couldn’t hinder the spectacle as all the big hitters of the Bournemouth Air Festival flew into view and dazzled thousands of residents and visitors across the region.

After a two-year absence, day one of the 13th air festival was a welcomed sight for those who descended across Bournemouth beach to witness iconic air show superstars like the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the deafening RAF Typhoon and, for the first time since 2018, the Red Arrows.

The event took off at approximately 1.30pm, 25 minutes ahead of schedule, as the Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers wowed the crowds who were still filling into the area around Bournemouth Pier.

There were undeniable crowd favourites as the afternoon went on. A breath-taking display from the returning Red Arrows drew the largest crowds in a 20-minute performance that caused gasps and applause throughout.

The team of RAF pilots added several new tricks to their routine, including two of the Hawk T1’s flying towards one another at “a few hundred” miles an hour before turning at the last minute.

Their routine also featured tributes to the NHS as well as Red Arrow pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging, who died during an air festival display in 2011.

Paul Farmer from Essex was joined by his family and dog Rusty, who was transfixed by the Chinook stunt helicopter. Paul said: “The Red Arrows are the best display team in the world, it’s always worthwhile coming to see them fly. They just seem to get closer and closer. This is our first time at the Bournemouth Air Festival, but we’ve seen the arrows fly all over the country before. They’re amazing.”

The final fly of the afternoon was a true crescendo. “This is a warning to young children and dogs,” said the radio announcer just prior to the ear blistering flight of the RAF Typhoon FGR4. Travelling at more than 1,380 miles an hour, the turbofan engine plane forced many passers by to cover their ears as it flew across the beach.

As well as the incredible air displays, there was plenty of offerings on the ground as various food and information stalls were available for the whole family to enjoy. Multiple exhibits from the Armed Forces saw children able to climb tanks and sit in the pilot seat of an attack helicopter.

Tom Middleton, a father of two from Poole, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. The kids are having a great time and we’re loving every minute. It’s not often that they’ll get a chance to see and do all of this so we’re glad we could come out with this on our doorstep.”

The festival continues on Friday afternoon and through to Saturday and Sunday with the Red Arrows and Typhoon displays being held on each day.