The legendary P-47-D Thunderbolt was the star of the show as thousands of spectators turned out to enjoy two days of thrilling flying displays at Air Waves Portrush. The exclusive display from the P-47-D Thunderbolt – affectionately known as the Mighty ‘Jug’ – entertained spectators on Sunday with a show of power and sound as it made its first ever appearance in Portrush.
Over Saturday and Sunday, spectators, despite challenging weather conditions, were treated to a packed programme of aerial and land-based entertainment at the largest free air show on the island of Ireland.
Highlights of the stellar line-up of aerial attractions, organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council with support from Tourism NI, included the World War Two Russian veteran fighter plane – Yakovlev Yak 3-U – demonstrating its high-speed power and manoeuvrability over Portrush’s East Strand.
The OV-10 Bronco gave spectators a smoke-filled performance of agility and manoeuvrability. The Global Stars and Team Raven gave a showcase of their daredevil manoeuvres and the AeroSuperBatics Wing Walkers performed their breath-taking aerial gymnastics.
The mighty American-built flying boat, the Catalina, gave a vintage exhibition of controlled flying on both days and the Irish AirCorps CASA Maritime aircraft performed a series of dramatic flypasts. The Irish Coast Guard demonstrated its impressive search and rescue capabilities over the Atlantic Ocean.
Sunday’s show also included a vintage display by the Belfast built RAF Tucano, flying for its final year before decommissioning, and a poignant Battle of Britain commemorative Poppy Drop onto East Strand beach by Vietnam veteran helicopters Huey and Loach.
On the ground, a spectacular array of ground-based activities and events provided first class visitor entertainment for the entire family including live music, street entertainment, a fun zone, and Motor Village.
Static military displays included an impressive static Typhoon aircraft and the Ulster Aviation Society’s must-see collection of vintage aircraft. The Ulster Gliding Club also gave visitors the chance to get up close and personal with a static glider.
The STEM Village, sponsored by MATRIX, brought together over 20 word-class local STEM employers and education providers aimed at inspiring young people to consider an exciting and rewarding STEM orientated career with interactive, fun and engaging displays and tasks.
The Ulster Military Vehicle club showcased an armoury of combat cars to mark its 20th anniversary that included an eight-ton Combat Reconnaissance Light Tank (Sabre) and a selection of GI Army jeeps and an RAF Hillman staff vehicle.
There was also a stunning twilight pyrotechnic aerial display in Portstewart by The Global Stars on Saturday evening with fireworks to close the day’s family entertainment.