Aerial thrills in Foynes this Sunday

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

The Breitling Wingwalkers are among a world class lineup for the aerial spectacular to Foynes this Sunday. Picture: Sean Curtin/Fusionshooters
Over 15,000 people are expected to flock to Foynes this Sunday for the second annual air show in the West Limerick village.

Over 15,000 people are expected to flock to Foynes this Sunday for the second annual air show in the West Limerick village.

Among the acts lined up for this year’s event are authentic World War II planes, world class aerobatics teams and Aer Lingus’ first aeroplane.

Spectators will also have a chance to view one of the largest search and rescue training exercises ever undertaken in Ireland when the Irish Air Corps, Naval Service (LÉ Samuel Beckett), Irish Coastguard, and search and rescue teams from all over the country carry out a massive sea, land and air exercise.

The director of this year’s air show is Gerry Humphreys, who said: “We are very excited to bring this free air show to Foynes again this year. The Foynes Air Show is going to be one of the largest ever seen in Ireland and it’s going to be a great show.”

Among the aircraft taking to the skies over the Shannon Estuary will be a Russian Mini MiG, authentic World War II aeroplanes, a Hawker Hunter fighter, a P51 Mustang and James Bond’s BD-5 Micro-Jet. Meanwhile, Aer Lingus’ first plane, the Iolar, will be flying in formation for one of the first times ever at a public display with three de Havilland Chipmunks in Air Corps colours.

The show will also feature the world’s only formation wingwalking display team, The Breitling Wingwalkers who will perform a sequence of formation loops and rolls while wingwalkers perform acrobatics on the wings. The world’s only formation wingwalking display team is renowned for dazzling spectators at events throughout Europe and beyond. Recent trips have seen the team displaying in front of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at Aero India in Bangalore and in Japan for the Iwakuni Friendship Day.

Painted in their striking orange livery, the 1940s Stearman biplanes will roar through the skies at speeds of up to 140mph above Foynes, each with a wingwalker climbing around the aircraft and performing handstands while waving to the crowd below.

According to Margaret O’Shaughnessy, director of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, it is set to be a “wonderful day out”.

“Foynes has a strong association with international aviation and has the world’s only Flying Boat Museum featuring the world’s only replica of B314 flying boat,” she said.

The action gets underway in Foynes at 1pm this Sunday with the search and rescue training operation which is scheduled to take about two hours..

The air show will follow and continue until 6pm with food stalls and children’s entertainment all day. Music will be provided by Keith McDonald and his band.

Entry to the airshow is free and Dublin Coach will operate a park and ride service to take visitors from the carpark to the air show site. Parking for the day costs €5.

The main Street in Foynes will be closed to traffic from 12pm to 7pm on the day of the show.

For anyone travelling towards Kerry and seeking to avoid Foynes, a diversion via Shanagolden, Mount David, Five Crosses to Loghill will be in place. Similarly, a diversion will be in place from Boland’s Meadow via the Five Crosses to Barracks Cross for traffic going to Limerick from the Kerry side.

Meanwhile, there was another boost for the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum this week when it was confirmed that it is to get €10,000 funding under the 2015 Local and Regional Museums Scheme. This will be used to upgrade its simulator cockpit and two flight stations.

“Foynes Flying Boat Museum is an important attraction for both locals and tourists. This funding for a simulator cock pit with two flight stations will help improve what the Museum can offer and enhance the experience it can provide to visitors,” said local Fine Gael TD Dan Neville.