Slieve Donard tester for festival pilots

Published Wednesday, 06 August 2014
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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."

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Belfast in belfast wrote (112 days ago):
David - SF noted an objection to it in a council meeting - specifically the Red Arrows as they are part of the 'British military' and only allowed it to proceed without complaint as long as no British army or airforce recruitment took place on the ground. They also protested this last year too calling for them to be banned.
David in Belfast wrote (114 days ago):
I am surprised SF are allowing the airshow to go ahead, after all they aren't keen on the or perhaps Martin isn't aware of this one?
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