Slieve Donard tester for festival pilots

Slieve Donard tester for festival pilots

Newcastle will provide the perfect backdrop for this weekend's Festival of Flight with Slieve Donard giving the pilots the ideal location to showcase their talents.

Thousands are expected to attend the annual festival which will use Slieve Donard, not only as a backdrop, but as part of the display to demonstrate the skills of the pilots and the agility of the aircrafts.One of the star attractions is sure to be the Belfast-built Canberra.Pilot Mike Leckey will be flying the Shorts aircraft in from his base in the Cotswolds in England for the demonstration.He grew up in Belfast before joining the air force, he said: "It seems very fitting that an Ulsterman steps into an Ulster built aircraft and takes it back to Ulster to display in front of the people of Ulster, it's great and I am looking forward to it."Hawker Hunter pilot Chris Heames said Slieve Donard was the ideal setting for the jets.He added: "We're all very excited about it because I think it's the only location in the country that's got a mountain within the display area, so there might be one or two complications for the pilots but the scenery will be fantastic."Organiser Jeff Salter said spectators will be in for a real treat.He explained: "We are keen on the jets because they can move around the mountains, whereas with other slower aircraft - in the time they have - they would only be able to get up the mountain and back down."So we like the jets."


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