Published on July 25th, 2016 | by FII Reader


Bray Airshow 2016

This year the Bray Airshow was expanded to a two day event for the first time. After 10 successful years, the team behind the airshow decided to expand the show allowing for more acts to take part in Ireland’s premier aviation event. The aircraft for the event were based at both Weston and Baldonnel having arrived over the previous few days. The Saturday show was a slightly smaller show but still managed to attract over 50,000 spectators. Highlights on the Saturday were Team Raven, Breitling Team, the Irish Historical Flight Foundation, The Spitfire and the Frecce Tricolori display team from Italy. There was some negative comments posted on social media regarding the distance which the aircraft flew from the crowd line but overall most people enjoyed the day and waited in anticipation for Sunday.

The Red Arrows arrived into Baldonnel on Saturday evening following a flypast over the south side of the city with a smoke-on break at Baldonnel before landing.

The weather on Sunday morning was grey and dull with drizzle but expecting to clear by lunchtime. The forecast didn’t disappoint although the low cloud had not fully cleared by the start of the flying display resulting in the Red Arrows having to do their flat display. The day started off with pleasure flights from the base of Bray Head in AS355 EI-LOW and banner towing by National Flight Centre and Atlantic Flight Training.

The following is a photographic recounting of the aircraft taking part in the Bray Air Show.

The show started with the wrong kind of pyrotechnics a fire of Bray Head https://flic.kr/p/JvUQ4p this caused difficulty for those on Bray Head trying to see the arrival of the opening act the Red Arrows




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Opposition pass by the ‘Reds’. Gabriel Desmond

Although the low cloud base restricted them to their Flat display but they put up a great show.

Next to display was Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 EI-ICG as you can see it was a bit far away but gives you an idea of the 100,000 crowd reported to have attended.

Trig’s were next to display with their Pitts Specials and these being the same 2 pilots who would fly the Spitfires later, a good display but just too small to record photographically for those up on Bray Head.

Patrouille Tranchant flying 4 Fouga Magisters were next up and by all accounts performed much better than on Saturday when they were too far out to sea.

They flew past the photographgers on bray Head at a perfect height & distance https://flic.kr/p/K2p3Aq

Next up were the Irish Air Corp PC-9’s https://flic.kr/p/KkHSuP they flew a nice display and for the first time that I can remember used smoke which enhanced the display. As always, The Irish Air Corps put on an impressive display.

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‘Hawkeye’ section performing a flypast n the poorest weather of the afternoon. Gabriel Desmond

‘Hawkeye’ section consisting of 3 Irish Air Corp Cessna 172’s were next but unfortunately they arrived during the only rain shower of the day here’s one I took earlier in the week https://flic.kr/p/KeGGkZ when they were practicing near Baldonnel. They performed well keeping a tight formation during difficult conditions. Next to perform was the advertised “New” Airbus A321 of Aer Lingus EI-CPH which first flew in 1999!! The display was sedate https://flic.kr/p/K2yH3N with the A321 performing two flypasts.

Up next at shwo centre was one of the best displays of the day the Breitling Wingwalkers aboard the two Boeing Stearmans. Those girls have guts to climb out and in while flying along and they gave a superb display of noise and vision https://flic.kr/p/KihHaE ‘Cityjet 1’ in the form of recently delivered Sukhoi SSJ-100 EI-FWB arrived it was so quite it could hardly be heard but did a nice couple of  flypast https://flic.kr/p/Jwensa

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The Breitling Wing Walkers. Paul Kolbe

Next arrived the Irish Historic Flight with the Aer Lingus ‘Iolar’ and the three Chipmunks in Irish Air Corps markings. This weekend was the first time the IHFF used smoke which is a good addition but the strong winds at the time appeared to give them some difficulty https://flic.kr/p/Jwf88g

Up next the Spitfire and Seafire which looked and sounded magnificent. Richard Grace professed himself much happier with the organisation for the Sunday and was asked to perform an extra 6 minutes which they really sounded like they enjoyed.



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The SAAB Draken of the Swedish Historical Flight with a high speed pass. Gabriel Desmond

Following the delights and sounds of the World War II veterans, the next aircraft was the biggest disappointment of the day, the Swedish Viggen. Many had been looking forward to seeing and hearing this aircraft but the display was performed so far out to sea that you could just about hear it and hardly see at all. Only manged this shot https://flic.kr/p/K2EsLQ

His compatriot in the Draken however must have read a different briefing as he performed some spirited flying with some nice reheat https://flic.kr/p/KkSBqc producing lots of noise.https://flic.kr/p/KkSBti  His display was cut short by ATC and then there was a gap  while we waited for the return of the Red Arrows.

Having refuelled back at Baldonnel following their display, The Red Arrows made a smoke-on pass from north to south as they made their way out over the Irish Sea before heading back to the UK. https://flic.kr/p/KsKP7z The controller asked was that it???? Eh! Yes it was.

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The Frecce Tricolori arrive over Bray to start their display. Paul Kolbe

Finally, the show closed with the Italian Air Force Frecce Tricolori team and due to the fabulous late afternoon sunshine, they were able to perform their full display which was superb. They performed one break with aircraft flying over my head is all directions, fantastic. Thought they planned their display very well with the singleton performing while the main group formed back up after each manoeuvre thus keeping the crowd entertained at all times. 






A great show and one that has grown to be a major event on the international aviation calendar, not sure how they can beat that next year. This crowd will certainly be looking forward to it. A truly entertaining afternoon. A word of  thanks to the Bray Airshow Team and Bray Town council for putting in so much work to make such a huge event work without any major problemsAlso, the Gardai who guided us down a different path in order to miss the fire and who organised a bus to bring us back to the seafront thank you. One last word of praise for Irish Rail who were very organised at Bray station controlling the crowd very well.

Looking forward to next year already…….

Words by Ken Meegan. Photos by Ken Meegan, Gabriel Desmond, Paul Kolbe and Alan Dwyer.

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