NEW to the Air Festival this year is a pair of small aerobatic planes formed in 2021. 

The Starlings Aerobatic Display Team, piloted by Tom Cassells and Michael Pickin, who are both National Aerobatic champions, have been taking to the skies of Bournemouth for the first time this year. 

Tom is a current display authorisation evaluator while Michael is the youngest person ever to be the British Aerobatic Champion. 

However, former was keen to look out for Poole from the skies – a place firmly in his heart thanks to what he accomplished more than 50 years ago. 

Bournemouth Echo: Tom Cassells (L) and Michael PickinTom Cassells (L) and Michael Pickin (Image: Daily Echo)

“I passed my driving test in Poole in 1972,” Tom told the Daily Echo, “so we were hoping to come in from the west to see it. 

I was in the army in 1970 based in Bovington and we used to come to Bournemouth as young lads – it has changed a lot since then. 

“I remember the big baggy trousers – 70s looks.” 

With a combined piloting expereince of more than 50 years, the duo has been wowing the crowds with their breathtakingly close and elegant displays. 

Bournemouth Echo: Starlings display teamStarlings display team (Image: Richard Crease)

But despite the high-adreneline and high-speed manouveres, the pilot has been able to catch a brief glimpse of the town from above. 

Tom, from North Yorkshire, said: “The views are lovely and Bournemouth has the best show in the country, I think; it has a very good display area which is quite long. 

“We are quite used to working in much more restricted areas so it’s quite nice to do this because it’s different and the water is smooth.” 

Both aircraft are capable of unlimited aerobatics; roll rates in excess of 420 degrees per second and plus/minus 10G.