The Red Arrows are set to make their first appearance in five years

Iona Byrne takes a trip back in time at East Fortune
Iona Byrne takes a trip back in time at East Fortune
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THRILLSEEKERS will be flying high at the East Fortune Air Show as the Red Arrows are set to appear for the first time in five years.

The show, which will take place next weekend, showcases the best of Britain’s aviation 
talents.

In addition to the top-flight RAF aerobatic team, which will be flying two men short, crowds will be treated to a recreation of a First World War dog fight, a host of vintage planes and the chance to meet a Concorde pilot.

The air show will be held on Saturday, July 28 and is expected to attract thousands of visitors.

Star attractions the Great War Display Team will begin making their way to the East Lothian airbase several days before the event begins. They will take off from various bases in England and slowly make their way north, stopping periodically to refuel.

Group founder Doug Gregory, a winner of the Distiguished Flying Cross for his exploits during the Second World War, said members of the team would fly to East Fortune in replica First World War aircraft, though he himself was unable to take part this year.

The 88-year-old, who still occasionally flies with the team, said: “When we are all together there’s about ten of us flying replicas of planes that were flown in the Great War.

“We put on a display of a dog fight as it would have been in 1917. There are some British and some German planes. We have an SE5 — a British aircraft — and a German Junkers plane.

“If it’s blowing or raining it’s not much cop being in an open cockpit.

“It will take them a couple of days to get there. Many are coming from Boscombe Down, near Sailisbury, and they only go about 60 or 70 mph. They’ll also have to stop to get fuel, they don’t carry enough petrol to fly all that distance.”

Norm Webster, the air show flight director, said the aerobatic display would be launched by an old-style airship.

“That will set the scene,” he said. “Because East Fortune was started as an airship base for the navy during the First World War.”

Though reluctant to give much away for fear of spoiling the day for the audience, he said they would be treated to a mixture of high-powered jet engines and more vintage

aircraft.

“We close the first half with the Red Arrows,” he said. “Their display will start at 2.15pm. I’m really pleased we got them, we had a really good response from the UK military in that everything we asked for, we got. We’ve been very lucky.

“The second half will begin with the Great War Display Team. We will have four aircraft dog fighting right in front of the crowd.”

For those who prefer to keep their heads out of the clouds, the air show is also providing plenty of entertainment on the ground.

The Squibb motocross display team will aim to delight the crowd with spectacular jumps and stunts, while Aviatrix will provide a performance of aerial displays and a circus skills

workshop.

For those who dream of being a pilot, there will be the chance to meet a UH1 ‘Huey’ helicopter pilot and the crew from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter, as well as the

opportunity to fly a Spitfire in a flight simulator and

explore a Concorde.

Grant MacKenzie, general manager at the National Museum of Flight, said: “This year’s air show has a fantastic line-up of entertainment, both in the air and on the ground.

“We’re obviously delighted that crowd favourites the Red Arrows are returning to the National Museum of Flight and we have lots of other wonderful displays and activities that we know will delight our visitors. There is something for everyone at this event, which is one of Scotland’s best family days out.”