Bournemouth Air Show 2021

The Bournemouth Air Show takes place at the end of August/ early September each year featuring air displays over four days against a backdrop of the beautiful sweeping bay.

Bournemouth Air Show Crowds
Crowds gathered on the beach for the air show

There is no admittance charge to the festival and thousands of plane lovers flock to the Dorset resort on the south coast of England to watch this extravaganza.  Following the cancellation of the 2020 show it was exciting for us to be back in Bournemouth to enjoy its 13th edition.

The Red Arrows Diamond Nine Formation
The Red Arrows Diamond Nine Formation

Headlining the show were the amazing Red Arrows who performed at 3.00 p.m. on all four days.  The Red Arrows Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Team has been in existence since 1964 and are known as the ‘Red’s’ because of their bright red flying suits.

Bournemouth Air Show, Red Arrows
The Red Arrows painting the sky red, white and blue

The aerobatic team reach speeds of up to 600 miles an hour in their BAE Systems Hawk T1 jets and even if you aren’t a fan of aircraft it’s always a thrill to watch their breathtaking synchronised formations and precision timing.  We gazed in awe as they performed loops, rolls and painted the sky red, white and blue with their colourful trails and trademark Diamond 9 shape.

Chinook Helicopter at the Bournemouth Air Show
A Chinook Helicopter at the Air Show

Helicopters on display included the RAF Chinook, a twin rotor that can carry up to 55 troops or 10 tonnes of cargo.  Because of its size it’s almost unthinkable that it can perform the aerobatic stunts demonstrated.  The Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter also entertained the crowds over Bournemouth bay.  It’s designed to serve battlefield and warfare roles and can reach speeds of 300 km/hr.

Super Pitts Muscle Plane on display at Bournemouth Air Show
Super Pitts Muscle Plane on display at the Air Show

Enthralling the crowds of spectators down on the beach and watching from the cliff tops were The Blades, a British civilian aerobatic team and the only full-time civilian aerobatic team in the United Kingdom.  All the pilots are former members of the Royal Air Force, having all previously flown with the Red Arrows.  The team fly Extra EA300 two seat aerobatic monoplanes and were exciting to watch.

Formation air display at the Bournemouth Air Show
Formation air display at the Bournemouth Air Show
The Battle of Britain Display at the Bournemouth Air Show
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at the Bournemouth Air Show

Crowds remained on the beach as dusk fell for the evening flying entertainment with an Rolls Royce Spitfire, RAF Typhoon and The Fireflies on display.

RAF Typhoon
The Typhoon displaying at the Bournemouth Air Show

The noise from the Typhoon could be heard from miles away as it roared past, rattling windows in its wake.  As a complete contrast to the Typhoon, the graceful Fireflies lit up the skies with a beautiful pyrotechnic display creating a fitting end to the first two days.

Tigers Parachute Display Team, Bournemouth Air Show
Tigers Parachute Display Team

Performing each day, the Tigers Free Fall Parachute Team showed off their impressive skills with seven parachute jumpers falling from the sky thousands of feet in the air to a marker on the ground.  As one of the British army’s premier display teams they certainly captivated the crowds with their flag flying routines.

Sunseeker Motor Yacht Parade at the Bournemouth Air Show
The Sunseeker Motor Yacht Parade

From sky to sea, a first for the air show this year was a parade of new and classic Sunseeker motor yachts who are based just along the coast in Poole.

AeroSuperBatics WingWalkers performing at the Bournemouth Air Show
The AeroSuperBatics WingWalkers

The AeroSuperBatics WingWalkers are the world’s only formation wing walking team and perform regularly at the air show.  The wing walkers are strapped to the top of Boeing Stearman biplanes while they perform dazzling aerobatics, handstands and close formation flypasts.  We had been thrilled with their display on the second day of the show and were excited to be watching them again the following afternoon.

AeroSuperBatic Wingwalkers at the Bournemouth Air Show
One of the AeroSuperBatic WingWalkers

However, shortly after the commencement of their display, one of the planes developed engine trouble and decided to return to Bournemouth Airport.  Unfortunately it was unable to make it so far and had to ditch into the sea just along the coast at Sandbanks.  Thankfully, both the pilot and Wing Walker were rescued immediately suffering only minor injuries as the plane came down next to the chain ferry and there were many boats to lend a hand nearby.  Following this incident it was understandable that flying was suspended for the remainder of the day.

RAF Red Arrows Plane to view at the Bournemouth Air Show
RAF Red Arrows Plane to view at the Air Show

There was much to see on the ground as well as the festival site stretches all the way between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers with military villages, a funfair, trade stands together with many food and drink options.  Along the East Cliff queues of people were waiting for a chance to sit in a Red Arrows plane in the RAF Village and others eager to climb on board an army tank on the beach.

An army tank at the Bournemouth Air Show
An army tank on display at the air show

The HM RM Band Collingwood performed the Beat Retreat Sunset Ceremony in the Lower Gardens at 6.30 p,m. on three of the evenings and although I’ve watched it before, it’s still a wonderful sight.  Beat Retreat is a military ceremony and has its origins in the early years of armed warfare when the beating of drums and the parading of guards heralded the return to camp and the lowering of flags at the end of the day.  Nowadays it’s all about marching to the band playing iconic tunes.

Beating the Retreat, Bournemouth Air Show
Beating the Retreat at the Bournemouth Air Show

The town’s Lower Gardens were also home to the vintage garden HMS Bathtub Bar which was proving popular with its live music from noon until late evening.

HMS Bathtub Bar at the Bournemouth Air Show
HMS Bathtub Bar

Nearby in the bandstand we enjoyed watching the Prince of Wales Army Band performing on one of the afternoons to rapturous applause.

Watching the Prince of Wales Band perform at the Bournemouth Air Show
Watching the Prince of Wales Band play in the Lower Gardens

If all this wasn’t enough, to round off both the Friday and Saturday displays, a magnificent firework display took place at 10.00 p.m. from Bournemouth Pier with crowds staying in the town to watch the spectacle from both the beach and cliff tops.

Firework Display at the Bournemouth Air Show
Spectacular firework displays at the air show

Throughout the festival the weather stayed fine and although it did turn cloudy at times, conditions remained perfect for flying and for wandering around the festival site.  It was sad that an accident had occurred but on the following day when flying resumed, it was announced the pair on board had been shaken but otherwise unharmed.


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A walk from Bournemouth to Sandbanks

A walk between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers


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Bournemouth Air Festival



48 thoughts on “Bournemouth Air Show 2021

  1. Thank you Marion. Makes me nostalgic for our own air show here in Bray. Missing for the last two years, but perhaps next year it will be lighting up our skies again. The Red Arrows were a particular treat when they featured here some years back.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What a thrilling event. I love air shows (and you did great with your photos). I can imagine what a pleasure it would be to watch from a beachside setting. That wing walker strapped to a sinking plane must have had a terrible shock, so glad to hear it all ended well.
    By the way, I have tandem skydived and can thoroughly recommend it 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’ve never been to an air show, but it must be fascinating to see pilots make daring maneuvers for entertainment purposes. They do result in some cool formations and it must’ve been a fun day for all of you!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. What an incredible event to get to watch! I always love air shows like these. My dad was a parachuter for the navy and I remember watching them parachute into the stadium and the thrill of watching them glide effortlessly through the sky trying to guess which one was my dad.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. He just retired a few years ago but he has some amazing stories from jumping out of planes to being in the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between. I couldn’t jump out of a plane for anything! I much prefer to see the sky from my airplane seat 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. What a thrilling day Marion. So much to see and do. I love a good airshow with flying and static displays and have not been to one in years. Too bad about the ditching aircraft. Glad everyone was alright. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Although I love Bournemouth and have visited many times, I have never been there for the air show which looks wonderful. I have seen the Red Arrows and there is something about them that always makes me feel very emotional. I’ll have to see if I can arrange a stay with my friend who lives in Westbourne when the air show takes place next year!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. What a fun event, Marion as the Air Shows lets aviation enthusiasts get up close to a variety of flying machines while watching stunt teams and pilots show off their skills high in the sky. I love watching planes take flight and would love to visit the Air Show at least once in my lifetime. Thanks for sharing, and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Now this was a surprise article because a) I didn’t know Bournemouth had an air show and b) you’re on holiday in Helsinki. Well done for keeping everything going while you’re away. Some expert scheduling I guess. Some great shots of the planes Marion, love the Tigers Free Fall Parachute Team with the Union Jack.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I’m fortunate to live near Bournemouth and the air show is something we enjoy, especially the Red Arrows and Typhoon. I live about 6 miles away and can easily hear the boom of the Typhoon. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 4 people

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