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Red Arrows to display in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 12:17 06 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:48 16 September 2010

ORGANISERS of the 14th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival breathed a huge sigh of relief on Wednesday when their top of the bill display team, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows were cleared to fly again after being grounded for several days.

ORGANISERS of the 14th Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival breathed a huge sigh of relief on Wednesday when their “top of the bill” display team, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows were cleared to fly again after being grounded for several days.

The Red Arrows are due to appear on both days of the Lowestoft airshow next week, closing the flying programme on Thursday and opening Friday's displays.

All the RAF's Hawk jet trainers, including the aircraft flown by the Red Arrows, were grounded last week after a fault was found with the plane's ejector seat.

Cracks in the ejector seats were spotted by engineers during routine inspections of the aircraft at RAF Valley at Anglesey where most of the £5 million Hawks are based.

For “safety reasons” the Ministry of Defence made the decision to ground all Hawks which could potentially be suffering the same fault.

A MoD spokesman said: “Safety of our air crews is of paramount importance.”

The Red Arrows, who are in the middle of a busy summer display season, were inspected as a matter of urgency and were finally given the all-clear on Wednesday morning.

Air Festival spokesman Barry Hartley said: “It has been an anxious few days following the disappointing news that the Red Arrows had been grounded and we are relieved and delighted that they will now be with us again and headlining next week's exciting airshow.”

Next week's programme remains subject to weather and availability but other highlights of a busy programme include the world's only airworthy Avro Vulcan bomber, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Grace Spitfire - commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain - the six-strong Aerostars, the four-aircraft Blades, the Breitling wingwalkers and the Red Bull Matadors among many others.

The international flavour of the Air Festival is once again enhanced by the involvement of a Dornier Alphajet from the French Air Force and, due to a late addition, two aircraft from the United States Air Force base at Mildenhall - a Sikorsky HH60G Pave Hawk helicopter on Thursday and a Special Operations Lockheed MC130P Combat Shadow aircraft on Friday.

The five-hour flying programme is complemented by a variety of family attractions packing the seafront, including the Vulcan Village, military exhibitions, funfair, musical entertainment, traders and caterers.

Ground attractions are open from 10am throughout the day and into the evening.

As in previous years there is no admission charge but visitors are requested to contribute to the £300,000 cost of the event by donating a minimum of £2 in the collection buckets.


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