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Tourist Leisure Attraction: Eastbourne Airshow

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Eastbourne Airbourne Airshow in Sussex - August 2002

We enjoyed a great day out in gorgeous weather at Eastbourne in East Sussex to visit the free Eastbourne Airbourne airshow event on the seafront, viewing the many dramatic flying displays by military aircraft along with plucky parachutists and wacky wing walkers.  There were more planes, demonstrations and ground displays on the adjacent Wish Tower lawns.
 

Pedestrianised Terminus Road in Eastbourne, East Sussex
On the way to the seafront for the free airshow we headed down the pedestrianised bit of Terminus Road in downtown Eastbourne.  There's a large covered shopping area, the Arndale Centre to the left of this view, but Belinda managed to resist the temptation.

Sunny Eastbourne before the airshow
After our rather wet holidays in Cornwall and the Lake District earlier in the summer, it was good to have some hot, sunny weather and have a reason to slap on the sunscreen on Eastbourne's splendid seafront near the pier.  Hey, you've missed a bit!

Eastbourne beach, Sussex
Looking across Eastbourne beach and suddenly the peace was shattered by the thundering roar of a large military plane zooming low above our heads, taking us by surprise; odd considering we knew we were at an airshow - airbourne was underway!

Nimrod MR2 flying in low over the beach at the Eastbourne Airbourne airshow
The first aircraft we saw at the Eastbourne airshow was the Nimrod MR2 which flew in, making several low passes over the beach.  A version of the Nimrod was supposed to be the UK's airborne early warning system before Awax, but let's not get political.

Along Eastbourne beach towards the pier
Here's a shot along Eastbourne seafront from the bandstand looking east along the beach towards the pier.  Eastbourne beach is clean and well maintained and has a kiddie play area, seen on the left here, with bouncy things.  Back to the airshow then and...

The Harrier GR7 jump-jet hovering over the sea at Eastbourne Airshow
...here's the Harrier GR7 hovering over the sea, you can see the disturbance the downdraught from the jet engine makes.  Bet those swimmers were glad they didn't venture out further!  Among other aircraft flying at Airbourne were a Jaguar GR3 and Hawk T1.

The Chinnock helicopter lands on Eastbourne beach
At the Eastbourne Airbourne airshow the chunky Chinnock helicopter landed on the beach, throwing up sand and spray (which they warned you about over the PA).  They staged a beach battle, picking up a Land Rover, then a person precariously dangling on a rope.

A WWII Lancaster flying at Eastbourne as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Next the famous Lancaster bomber came flying overhead, accompanied by a Spitfire and Hurricane, all iconic aircraft from WWII, and made various passes at the Eastbourne airshow singularly and in formation with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Looking out for more aircraft at the Eastbourne Airbourne airshow
Here's Mike looking out at the Tornado F3 as it flew past spectacularly showing its afterburners.  It was all rather dramatic, with plane after plane flying along in quick succession and was pretty noisy too, but nonetheless enormously enjoyable.

Aircraft on the Wish Tower lawns at Eastbourne Airshow
On the lawns at Eastbourne's Wish Tower there was the airbourne ground display; here you could sit in the cockpit of a military aircraft as this woman was just about to.  The sheer number of people visiting made taking pictures rather difficult at the airshow.

Dressed in heavy combat gear on the Wish Tower lawns
This woman's trying on some combat gear on the Wish Tower lawns, looked on by those rather hunky looking army guys, it almost made Belinda want to sign up for the army!  The military man in the foreground is saying 'now try bending over like this'.

Jet engine and engineer
This guy's explaining his job as an aircraft engineer, making the innards of a jet engine sound pretty simple really!  Now, that powerful aircraft engine is sure to make Mike's car go faster, do you think they'd miss it?  Hmmm, anyone looking?

Red Arrow on the ground at Eastbourne Airbourne
Unfortunately there wasn't a flying display by the Red Arrows at Eastbourne Airbourne this year and we had to make do with this Red Arrow on the ground.  As with that other plane, people could climb into the cockpit and have a twiddle with the controls.

Eastbourne Airshow - formation flying display
Another formation display flew past over the delighted crowds' heads.  Eastbourne airshow was very well organised with hardly any wait between displays; noisy though - and that was just Mike enthusing that he wanted to be a pilot/aircraft engineer/army guy/etc!

Utterly Butterly wing walkers display
Here's the two Utterly Butterly female wing walkers doing hairy handstands and walking to the end of the wing.  These biplanes flew upside down, at each other, trailing smoke and so on, all at 60 mph - gulp, hope they had a change of knickers back at base!

Parachutists display trailing coloured smoke
These plucky parachutists descending in formation were quite enthralling; this is the only shot we got of them as we ran out of memory having taken so many digital pictures at the Eastbourne Airbourne airshow!  After they landed, we went to get a cool drink.

Admiring the aircraft flower display at Eastbourne in Sussex
Eastbourne seafront is well-known for its amazing flower displays, just check-out this airshow themed one.  The floral displays stretch along the seafront, Eastbourne's a well-kept town with tasteful street furniture and flower displays everywhere.  Moving...

Eastbourne pier pick 'n' mix
...on to Eastbourne pier we visited the pick 'n' mix.  There were airshow fireworks later at 10pm, but we didn't stay on for that or it would've been a very late night after a long day.  Eastbourne Airborne airshow related websites are in our UK tourist resources.

We've visited various military aircraft establishments at RAF Hendon, IWM Duxford and Fleet Air Arm Museum.

We also visited Airbourne in 2003 when the Red Arrows DID fly!   Bookmark and Share