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Matador of the skies to hit Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 12:27 09 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:52 01 August 2010

A SPECTACULAR aerobatics display it set to thrill spectators at next month's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival.

Organisers announced this week that reigning Red Bull Air Race world champion Paul Bonhomme would be part of the packed flying programme on both days of the show, on Thursday August 12 and Friday August 13.

A SPECTACULAR aerobatics display it set to thrill spectators at next month's Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival.

Organisers announced this week that reigning Red Bull Air Race world champion Paul Bonhomme would be part of the packed flying programme on both days of the show, on Thursday August 12 and Friday August 13.

When he is not competing in the high-octane Red Bull air races - or flying a Boeing 747 in his main job for British Airways - Paul is one half of an aerobatic duo known as the Red Bull Matadors. With his partner, Steve Jones - another Boeing 747 pilot and a former British aerobatics champion - they perform spectacular aerobatics at air-shows in many parts of the world.

Flying their Russian-built Sukhoi Su-26 aircraft, the dynamic duo have performed all over the UK and Europe and have toured China, Japan and the Middle East in the FAI World Grand Prix series, an aerobatic competition with solo and formation categories.

It will, however, be their first visit to Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival where the line-up also includes the world-famous Red Arrows - with the first female pilot to join this elite team - and the world's only flying V-bomber, the Avro Vulcan.

Other firsts for the 14th annual festival include the Aerostars, flying six aircraft in exciting formation aerobatics, and the largest single-engine biplane ever produced, the Russian-built Antonov AN-2.

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain is being marked with four aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - the Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota - and another that flew over the beaches on D-Day, the solo Grace Spitfire.

Other aircraft on the packed programme include the world's only formation wing walking display team, an Alpha Jet from the French Air Force and a Sikorsky Pave Hawk helicopter from the United States Air Force.

Admission to this popular family day out remains free but voluntary donations of £2 per person will again be invited to help meet the £300,000 cost of the event and ensure its future.

For details see the website: www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk

THE Air Festival is to dedicate the display by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to the late Billy Hansford who was a great supporter of the event, helping to boost its fund-raising. Billy, aged 80, of Claydon Drive, Lowestoft, was a familiar sight on the seafront during the festival wearing a pilot's uniform and standing next to his own model of a first world war fighter aircraft. The Air Festival company is also making a donation in his memory to the family's chosen charity, the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital.

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