Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 17:40 UK

Vintage Red Arrow to star at show

Red Arrows
The Red Arrows will form a major part of the show in Bournemouth

A vintage Red Arrow aircraft is to take to the skies as part of the Royal Air Force's 90th anniversary celebrations.

The newly-restored Folland Gnat, once of the world famous display team, will take part in the inaugural Bournemouth Air Festival between 28-31 August.

It will perform a flypast to celebrate the anniversary and support the John Thornton Young Achievers' Foundation.

The foundation was set up in memory of Royal Marine Thornton from Ferndown who was killed in Afghanistan in March.

All money raised through the foundation is handed out in grants to local teenagers and community projects.

'Unique spectacle'

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected in Bournemouth for the four-day festival which will see the Red Arrows' nine scarlet Hawks fly three times.

A Eurofighter Typhoon will also be demonstrating combat manoeuvres.

But it is the Folland Gnat, also known as Gnaty, which is set to star at the show.

It took De Havilland Aviation (DHA), based at Bournemouth Airport, three years to restore the craft and gain a full permit to fly.

Geoff Beck, managing director of DHA, said: "This will be a unique spectacle and is the pinnacle of the three years of effort that it has taken to restore this famous aircraft.

"We are very honoured to be working with the Red Arrows to arrange what will be a nostalgic flypast in celebration of the RAF's 90th birthday."

Wing Commander Jas Hawker, the Red Arrows' Team Leader, said: "We are delighted to be able to fly with this Gnat aircraft.

"She played such an important part in the history of the Red Arrows - it will be privilege to fly in formation with her with the BAE Hawks that we use today."


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