BOURNEMOUTH Air Festival is ‘one of the most enjoyable events on the flying calendar’, says one of its display pilots.

The Daily Echo sat down with Mark Sugden on day four of the festival to hear about his time in the skies.

Mark flies in the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) – a majestic display commemorating those who have fallen in the service of this country.

It stars the Lancaster, Hurricane, and Spitfire, with Mark taking control of the Hurricane for Sunday's display.

He said: “On Friday I was in the Spitfire, but I’m quite lucky in that I can go back and forth between the aeroplanes.

“My favourite is the Hurricane because she’s the unsung hero, and I’ve got a lot of attachment to that aeroplane.”

On why the BBMF display always draws festival crowds, Mark said: “The aeroplanes are probably the most recognisable and well-known aircraft globally.

Bournemouth Echo: Mark enjoying a read of the Daily EchoMark enjoying a read of the Daily Echo (Image: NQ)

“I think if you asked any pilot if they could fly an aeroplane, and one aeroplane only, and it would be their last flight, I think a lot of them would say a Spitfire or Hurricane. They are national icons.

“What they represent is the most important bit. It represents a time where people did incredible things to protect what we enjoy today.

“There isn’t a more beautiful aeroplane, with a beautiful sound. It’s a beautiful recipe of superb engineering. Everyone’s just naturally drawn towards them.”

Mark has been in the air force for 22 years and has been flying since the day he joined.

His team does approximately 900 events per flying season, but Mark says Bournemouth Air Festival is one they particularly enjoy.

He told the Daily Echo: “We’ll do all of the main airshows in the summer and Bournemouth is one of the biggest and one of the most enjoyable.

“It’s a long weekend, and in terms of the crowd it’s one of the busiest ones we go to.

“The set up is just idyllic for display flying. The scenery is stunning, and it’s a very pleasant and uncomplicated flight over the sea. It’s just really nice.

“Of course, its towards the end of the season which is the time of the year we dread because we all know it’s coming to an end, and we have to stop soon. But, it’s a lovely way to end the season.”