Day of high-octane expected for Shannon Air Show

John Keogh

Reporter:

John Keogh

The Ravens is just one attraction expected at the Shannon Airshow
The most spectacular air show ever staged in the Mid-West is set for lift-off with the line-up for the Shannon Air Display

The most spectacular air show ever staged in the Mid-West is set for lift-off with the line-up for the Shannon Air Display

The show marks the 70th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight at Shannon Airport.

An estimated 40,000 people are expected to throng the Shannon airfield, which will be transformed into the viewing area for the stunning overhead displays, as 20 domestic and international acts, operating 33 separate aircraft, go through their lightning fast paces.

Tickets for the event are €5, while children under 6 years get free access to the event. Ticket-holders will also be entitled to free access on the weekend to a choice of either Bunratty Castle, King John’s Castle or Craggaunowen visitor attractions.

The main event, however, happens in the skies and crowds will be served up a stunning display, with some of Europe’s leading performers on hand to deliver the captivating performances during the five-hour event.

Among the performers will be Dave Bruton, who is rated by his peers as among the best aerobatics acts in the world. His daredevil acts in a high-performance two-seater Extreme 342 aircraft will catch many an eye.

Speaking ahead of the event, Bruton predicted that the crowds will go away very happy: “Shannon Airport is such a great name in aviation and I am personally really looking forward to performing at the Air Display. It’s an important anniversary from not just a Shannon but an Irish aviation perspective/Everyone will be really looking forward to putting on a show.”

“I know most if not all of the other performers and it really is a fantastic line-up. Those attending won’t want for excitement, that’s for sure,” said Dave.

One of the high points of the day will be the performance of the renowned Swedish jet, the Viggen Saab in what will be the first ever performance at an Irish air show by this stunning aircraft.

Hugely advanced in digital technology for its era, the Viggen Saab was a revolutionary and stunning looking aircraft when it first appeared in the 1970s and remains one of the most dynamic aircrafts in appearance, despite having been retired from official duties 10 years ago.

Shannon Airport operations director Niall Maloney said that the Viggen Saab is an exciting addition to the line-up. “We will have a fantastic collection of aircraft and performances on the day and the Viggen Saab will be one of them.

Despite having been designed over 40 years ago, it is still an incredible looking aircraft and will enthral young and old alike.”

The Shannon line-up will also include the Blacknights, the most successful parachute team to ever come out of Ireland and involving members made up from army, air corps and navy.

Legendary Limerick pilot Gerry Humphreys, who with his son Harry will become the first father and son duo to perform at an Irish air-show, said that the Shannon Air Display will be eagerly awaited by the performers and attendance alike.

“There’s a great buzz about the Shannon Air Display. Shannon is such a historic name in Irish aviation that we are all really looking forward to performing at the air show and putting on a really exciting display so the crowds attending will have plenty to see.”

The Shannon Airport line-up is world class and includes, for example, the current Red Bull Air Race World Champion Nigel Lamb, who is a friend of mine and is one of the top display pilots in the world. “

There is also over 20 separate children’s attractions including, a bungee run and an obstacle course, some 25 food operators, as well as music entertainment, ensuring that there is plenty to enjoy during the break in action.

A static aircraft and tank display in the spectator zone is also set to be a major attraction.

Shannonwatch will be at Shannon on Saturday for a peaceful protest during the event. The group will be joined by members of Afri, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the Irish Anti War Movement and Galway Alliance Against War who together call for an end to the US military use of Shannon.