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To add something new to this year's festival the organisers excelled themselves by getting appearances from some aircraft as well as seacraft. It started with a helicopter which took people on short pleasure flights up and down the coast and over Whitehaven.

Pleasure flight by chopper

Sea Fury FB11 VR930

Sea Fury VR930Sea Fury at Whitehaven

This plane served with 802 then 801 squadron between 1948 and 1962 with just 1280 hrs of flying. Originally held for static display and as a source of spares for other surviving planes, as they crashed, VR930 with its Bristol Centaurus engine was restored by the Royal Navy Historic Flight. Once again it took to the skies this March. The way it performed at the Whitehaven maritime festival it was hard to believe it hadn't been flying for nearly 40 years. The crowds stood spellbound on both Saturday and Sunday as it went through low level passes and manoeuvres as it crossed the harbour.

For more details of the Sea Fury visit:

Tornado GR1 (Panavia Tornado Interdictor Strike(IDS))

Tornado bankingTornado GR1 over North pier lighthouseEither the seagull or the tornado is upside down

The skies seemed to crack apart as the display team of Flt. Lt.s Davies and Wright from RAF Lossiemouth's XV squadron put the Tornado through some very impressive aerobatics. Both in the swept back delta formation for speed and wings outstretched for manoeuvrability the Tornado performed magnificently as it went through various loops and rolls.Eventually it finished with an almost 90 degree pull back into a vertical climb that produced an impressive shock wave along the whole top surface of the plane. The maritime festival came to a neck craning standstill as everyone took their eyes off the water attractions to see this thunderously unmissable spectacle.

For biographies of the pilots and calendar of further flights by the display team visit:


BBMF Spitfire over South BeachSpitfire over old lighthouse

At 3.00pm on Saturday the heavy throbbing of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire could be heard and soon it appeared out of the clouds making several low level passes across the harbour, as the enthralled mass looked on, before once more disappearing into the distance. From their website it would appear to be Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX PM631 which was delivered to the RAF after the war and thus ended up spending time with civilian flyers doing meteorology work before becoming one of the original planes for the Historic Aircraft Flight which later became the BBMF.

For more details visit the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight site:

Sunday afternoon eventually saw a display of Air-Sea search and rescue by a Sea-King and the Workington life boat which had spent most of the weekend giving the public trips around the harbour. Originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon it had to be postponed due a real emergency call out. However, on Sunday it made many sweeps back and forth taking crew on and off the lifeboat that was passing just outside the main harbour.

Naval Sea-King transfers to RNLI lifeboat

Finally a rescuer was winched down to pick up 2 crew that had been deposited in the outer harbour and later returned them to their boat.

Helicopter rescues lifeboat man from harbour

For information about the RNLI visit:

Whitehaven Maritime Festival 2001