DAY three of the Bournemouth Air Festival really did turn out to be a Super Saturday.

Near perfect weather and crowds estimated around the 500,000 mark cemented Saturday as the best day of the festival so far.

Bournemouth Council director of tourism Mark Smith said: "We've had a really brilliant day, fantastic weather and a great air show with record numbers of boats in the bay and hundreds of thousands of happy festival goers."

The Red Arrows, back to their full complement of nine pilots following Red 9's illness on Friday, got things off to a blazing start - opening proceedings with their full show.

For Squadron Leader Red 10 Mike Ling, who is leaving the team later this year, it was his last Bournemouth Air Festival.

Mike, who provides running commentary from the ground during the Red's display, told the crowd: "It has been a pleasure to open the proceedings here. I started here at the very first Bournemouth Air Festival - I was lucky enough to be Red 3 in the formation.

"I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, when you arrive here at Bournemouth and you're at the top of a loop looking down to see just how many hundreds of thousands of people have come out, it really does give you a big, warm fuzzy feeling.

"It is an incredible experience."

The Red Arrows were followed by the Royal Navy's mock beach assault, which involved Hawk jets, a Merlin Helicopter - complete with sniper team - and the elite Royal Marines Commandos.

Following that show of force from Britain's modern fighting men and women, the crowds were transported back in time.

The Great War Display Team, who were forced to abort their display last year due to bad weather, took to the skies over Bournemouth Beach for the first time.

Thrilling dogfights, a recreation of what soldiers of the Great War would have seen from their trenches, enthralled young and old.

Other crowd favourites included The Tigers Army Parachute Team, sponsored by the Daily Echo this year, the Brietling Wingwalkers and acrobatic ace Gerald Cooper.

The Yakovlevs, Sally B, the Bristol Blenheim, The Blades, a Hurricane, the Strikemaster pair and Vampire Blue Pair also took to the skies.

Red 1 of the Red Arrows, speaking to the crowd from his cockpit during their final flypast, paid tribute to the fans.

He said: "Bournemouth, this is Red 1 talking direct from formation.

"Thank you for all your support, you are one of our biggest and best crowds."