2017 Event Review

Bray International Air Show, 22nd & 23rd July 2017
Location: Bray Promenade, Bray, Co Wicklow, Republic of Ireland
Admission: Free seaside show with hospitality chalets available (various prices)
Parking: €5 by Registration
Value: Outstanding
Rating out of 10: 10
MCAS Yuma base commander
The happy crowds at the FREE Bray airshow
The Premier and Award winning Airshow at Bray, Co. Wicklow returned in 2017 for the twelfth year of the ever popular event which attracted a record-breaking 140,000 people last July. For the second year in a row, the event retuned for two days with over 50,000 in attendance on Saturday and over 90,000 on Sunday making it the largest non-stadium outdoor event on the Irish calendar. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), as the main sponsor helps to attract aircraft from around the world with participation from Sweden, Norway, France, South Africa, Jordan, Spain, UK and of course the Republic of Ireland.
2017 saw one of the most diverse air displays to have been witnessed in Ireland for many years with an array of classic jets, classic vintage aircraft, aerobatic solos and display teams, right up to modern military fighter jets. The weather truly came into its own with Sunday seeing scorching blue skies and for the photographer, the sun is behind you throughout the display giving way for good lighting.
One of the major stars of the show was a Douglas DC-3 resplendent in an Aer Lingus livery it carried in 1956. The project to bring the DC-3 to Ireland was initiated by the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF) board member Hugh Flynn and was made possible by the support of Aer Lingus which originally operated the type between 1940 and April 1964.

The aircraft flew from Zweibrucken, Germany to Shannon Airport on 13th June 2017 and was given the 1950s colours of EI-ACD with the name of "St Gall". The aircraft carries its ZS-NTE South African registration and had previously spent most of its flying career with the Royal Air Force and South African Air Force before its retirement in 1995. It was then sold and spent time in storage before renovations to airworthiness with the DC-3 returning to flight in 2009 and operated by Springbok Classic Air. The sound of the DC-3s, two Wright Cyclone engines and coupled with its classic livery and spirited display, brought nostalgia and a trip down Irish aviation history. A massive thank you most go to all involved in undertaking such a project to bring this wonderful aircraft to the shores of the Republic of Ireland.
Further highlights throughout the weekend included:-
• The Royal Jordanian Falcons, having flown in from the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford the previous weekend and putting on an extremely tight display of formation and solo aerobatics.
• EF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team from the Spanish Air Force bringing a highly energetic performance of noise and power and stopping the Bray audience in their tracks
• Richard Grace and David Puleston flying a graceful and nostalgic display in the Supermarine Spitfire and Seafire showing off the classic lines and the unique sound of the Griffon and Merlin engines
• Patrouille Tranchant flying four Fouga Magisters - the team from Brittany, France fly the distinctive V-shaped tailed trainer and the display included coloured smoke representing the Irish Flag gaining spontaneous applause from the appreciative crowd• Patrouille Tranchant flying four Fouga Magisters - the team from Brittany, France fly the distinctive V-shaped tailed trainer and the display included coloured smoke representing the Irish Flag gaining spontaneous applause from the appreciative crowd
• An array of Classic jets was the order of the day (including the above Magisters) a Mig 15, SAAB Viggen, Strikemaster Pair and Vampire pair
• Solo aerobatics from Eddie Goggins in the CAP 232 and Richard Goodwin in the Pitts S2S demonstrated world class aerobatics with commentary direct from the pilots cockpit
• Irish Historic Flight Foundation displaying a trio of Chipmunks and Boeing Stearman (Spirit of Tipperary)
• Proceeding the show on the Thursday the Irish Air Corps flew 5 of their PC-9Ms with smoke down the River Liffey in central Dublin to promote the show
Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive of the Irish Aviation Authority said, "The Bray Display has been a phenomenal success over the last couple of years. Aviation is a hugely important economic driver for our country and this year under the IAA's "Aviation Ireland" campaign we are supporting not just one but two spectacular air shows over the same weekend at Foynes and at Bray, making this year an extra special one for fans of aviation across Ireland. We see this as a great avenue to raise the profile of aviation and to generate an interest in our industry."
"A big thank you to everyone who came out to support the event – it's wonderful to see so many enjoying the spectacle. And we were blessed with glorious sunshine and the backdrop of a most beautiful blue sky," said Sé Pardy, Director, Bray Air Display.
Congratulations to all who contributed in providing a world-class show that has grown in stature over the years and has become a "must" on the calendar over the summer holidays for any enthusiast or those looking for an entertaining day out.
Thank you to Louise Cassidy & Paul Carney from the Bray Media team and to Rebecca McKenna and Se Pardy for their help before and during the show.
Aircraft Participation included:

Team Raven - RV4/RV8 x6
Irish Historic Flight Foundation - 3x Chipmunks & Stearman
Patrouille Tranchant - Fouga Magister x4
Spanish Air Force - EF18 Hornet                
Swedish Air Force Historic Flight - SAAB Viggen 
Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron - Mig 15                             
Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron - DH Vampire T.55 & FB.52        
Richard Goodwin - Pitts S2S
Plane Sailing - PBY Catalina
Supermarine Spitfire & Seafire 
Douglas DC3       ZS-NTE                 
Strikemaster Pair
Eddie Goggins - CAP 232
Irish Defence Forces – The Black Knights Parachute Team dropped from an Irish Air Corps Eurocopter EC135 P2
Royal Jordanian Falcons - Extra EA 300L
Irish Air Crops - PC9Ms/CASA CN235
Irish Parachute Club
Coastguard Search and Rescue - Sikorsky S-92   
Aer Lingus - A321            
FlyRyte Drone Academy - DJI Inspire

Report and photography by Jason Phelan for

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