Bray Air Display set to inspire big comeback this weekend, says festival director

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After a pandemic-enforced three-year hiatus, the Bray Air Display returns this weekend for an event that festival director Sé Pardy hopes to inspire the next generation of engineers and pilots.

Starting Saturday 23rd July, the festival will see some of the biggest and most celebrated demo teams and individual artists from around the world as they take to the skies for two days of high octane fun, including the red arrows that trace a track on the sky of Bray on Sunday July 24.

“We’re expecting around 100,000 people, there’s huge pent up demand for shows like this, it’s going to be one of the biggest events in the country this year, bigger than Electric Picnic, bigger than any GAA game,” Sé said.

Hailing the huge team of volunteers who contribute to the success of the festival each year, Sé, who works in the aviation industry himself, said he hoped the sight of so many vintage and high-end planes could inspire those present.

“It’s really a family event, you can spend a lot of money or you can go to the beach and watch the planes fly overhead. We want to encourage the next generation of engineers and pilots because everyone involved have a great passion for what they do,” he said.

And while the aim is to make the weekend as exciting and entertaining as possible, the festival director is aware of the need to make the event as environmentally sustainable as possible.

“At the event we will have a neo aircraft from Aer Lingus which is much more sustainable in terms of fuel consumption, and some of the newer models from Emerald Airlines. We encourage members of the public to leave no trace when they visit, carpool or use public transport. We know we all have a part to play in this and we still have a long way to go, but this is a journey we all have to undertake.

As well as the Arrows, the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will see the iconic and historic Lancasters, Spitfires and Hurricanes flying in formation, and the military theme will continue as the Irish Air Corps celebrates 100 years of existence with a special aero performance. The spectacular Royal Jordanian Falcons aerobatic team returns from the West Asian Kingdom and the Irish Parachute Club and the Black Knights will plummet down Bray Beach before Sweden’s Saab 37 Viggen, aka the Thunderbolt, wows the audience.

Eddie Goggins, aka The Flying Dentist, will deliver another “breathtaking performance” while there will be old world glamor courtesy of the Irish Historic Flight Foundation’s Chipmunk and Stearman aircraft. There will be other vintage aviation in the guise of the P51 Contrary Mary and the Catalina Flying Boat, while the Garda Air Support Unit will once again perform an aerial tour.

Ireland’s newest regional airline, Emerald Airlines, will showcase some of its craft and Aer Lingus’ Airbus A320 is described as ‘a showstopper’. Search and rescue teams will then present the work and role they play in saving Irish lives.

In addition to the fun in the sky, there’s plenty of action on the ground; where you can enjoy the thrills of the seaside funfair, dine al fresco at the Food and Craft Village or take a breathtaking helicopter ride over Bray Head throughout the festival weekend .

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