The 16th annual Airwaves Portrush airshow once again returns this weekend (2nd & 3rd of September) to close the 2017 airshow season throughout the island of Ireland and is packed full of fantastic displays, some of which have not been seen in the skies of Portrush before.
Opening the debut displays is the 6 Ship formation aerobatic team who have been very popular throughout Ireland, North & South since their debut season in 2014 flying a mixture of RV8 and RV4 aircraft and were formed out of the disbanding of Team Osprey & Team Viper.
The team is entirely self funded and moved from a 5 ship display to a 6 ship display in 2016, making their 6 ship debut in Bray, Ireland last summer. All the aircraft are self build aircraft, albeit only Ravens 2 and 4 have been self built by the Team, the Ravens also have self-modified their aircraft with smoke systems to add to their dynamic display.
Returning to Portrush, having become a regular over the years is the AutoGyro from Gyro Air Displays who have been granted a crowd line exemption in 2017 to come closer to the crowd than most displays.
Autogyro’s were invented by Juan de la Cierva, only 20 years after the Wright Brothers first flight, they marked a departure from conventional fixed wing aircraft in an attempt to invent an aircraft that couldn’t stall. The name autogiro was a Trade name for Cierva’s make of aircraft, nowadays, they are also known as gyrocopters, gyroplanes, and autogyro’s and just Gyro’s, they were the first rotary wing aircraft to fly successfully under full, safe control.
The pilot, Peter Davies has been flying for 33 years, and been flying Gyroplanes for 23 years. First issued a Gyroplane Display Authority (DA) in 1991. Peter became an Display Authority Evaluator (DAE) in 2012. Has displayed aircraft at several major shows including – Paris Air Show, Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Blackpool and Manchester.
The most simplistic view of the AutoGyro is that it’s a flying windmill or even a rotating parachute, think of a sycamore seed gently floating down as it spins.
Also returning to Portrush, having last been in 2015 is the RAF Grob Tutor display. The Tutor is used for training cadets througout the Armed forces and the display this year is operated by No 6 Flying School. The 2017 RAF Tutor Display Pilot is Squadron Leader Andy Tagg
The Tutor is constructed mainly from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which combines high strength with light weight. Like its predecessor, the Bulldog, the Tutor has side-by-side seating but, unlike the Bulldog, the primary flight instruments are on the right-hand side of the cockpit. This allows the student to fly the aircraft from the right-hand seat with a right-hand stick and a left-hand throttle so that future transition to fast-jet aircraft is made easier.
Returning to Portrush for the first time since 2013 is the Aerobatic Glider flown by European Champion, Ian Gallacher. The aircraft will be coming from the Ulster Gliding Club who are based in Limavady.
Gliders use the same air currents that birds use and they have been designed with aerodynamic efficiency that enables top speeds of up to 170 mph. Distances of over 200 miles have been covered from Bellarena in one day and heights in excess of 20,000 feet have been achieved.
Come back tomorrow when we will preview some more of Airwaves Portrush 2017. (All photos our own except the Aerobatic glider – that photo is from Airwaves Portrush website credited to NI Aviation)