THE RUMBLE of aircraft gliding through the sky echoed over Eastbourne yesterday as Airbourne returned to the town.
The four-day free international air show promises breathtaking displays by aerobatic teams including the Blades and the Red Arrows.
Scores of spectators laced the seafront and spilled out from cafés and hotels on the first day of the event, also taking part in traditional fairground attractions and a flight simulator in between the displays.
Councillor Carolyn Heaps, Eastbourne Borough Council’s portfolio holder for tourism and leisure, said: “What a fantastic start to the show.
“We were thrilled to see the amazing Lancaster formation – a momentous occasion for Eastbourne, along with the many thousands of visitors attending along the seafront, and the Airbourne live stage was the perfect way to continue the fun into the evening.
“We’re looking forward to a great day today.”
Duncan Fisher, his wife Anne-Marie and her parents Harry and Anne Holt travelled from Hailsham and arrived in Eastbourne at 7am yesterday to watch the events unfold.
Mrs Fisher said: “My parents haven’t been for years so we thought it would be nice to bring them along.
“We got here early to make sure we got a good spot and have enjoyed sitting watching the displays.
“So far our favourite has been the Lynx helicopters but I can't wait to see the Red Arrows.”
The group picked a spot at Helen Gardens, away from the crowds of thousands on the seafront.
Mrs Fisher said: “We've got a great view and get to see the first glimpse of the aeroplanes as they fly in for their displays.”
But she added that returning to watch the show unfold over the pier's empty shell was heartbreaking.
She said: “We were in a cafe here and saw the pier go up in flames. It was absolutely devastating.
“And it's so sad to see it like this today, we grew up knowing he pier and loved visiting it. But I hope it will be repaired soon.”
AIRBOURNE is open from 10am to 4.30pm every day until Sunday, when it concludes at 7.30pm.
The line-up also includes live music, military fast jets, helicopters and parachutists.
The Mynarski Memorial Lancaster bomber, known as Vera, will appear as part of a Britain Memorial Flight.
The Red Arrows will celebrate their 50th anniversary year at the event and a Canberra Bomber, the world’s only 1950s aircraft with nuclear capabilities will also be in attendance.
Displays are due to start at midday each day and continue until 4.30pm
The Red Arrows displays will take place today at 4pm, at 1.45pm on Saturday and Sunday at midday. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take place today at 3pm, at 3.05pm on Saturday and at 1pm on Sunday.
The Blades will appear today at 2.40pm, on Saturday at 3.44pm and on Sunday at 12.30pm.
X-Factor finalist Luke Friend, Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing and The Mend, from Britain’s Got Talent, are performing live at the event.
A themed firework display, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Red Arrows, will take place on Wish Tower beach at 10pm on Sunday.
Forecasters say the weather is unlikely to affect the event. Visit www.east bourneairshow.com