TENS of thousands of flight fans descended upon Clacton for the town’s 28th annual airshow.

The crowds turned out in force despite the flight programme not including the RAF Red Arrows, who are currently on a nine-week tour of North America.

A record crowd of more than 250,000 people were expected to turnout for the event over the two days.

Headlining the first day of the airshow yesterday was The Blades aerobatic team.

The team, made up from former Red Arrows pilots, pulled off a showstopping display of precision flying and close-formation


Other flights included Team Raven, the Ultimate Warbirds, as well as the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron, the Tucano and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Budding photographer Billy Fenton, from Clacton, said: “With the absence of the Red Arrows, there was an opportunity to refresh the aircraft line-up.

“It did not disappoint, it had a good variety and it was a privilege to see the historic planes of the Ultimate Warbirds and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.”

On the ground at West Greensward, Titan the Robot returned to keep children and adults entertained.

Oscar Hockley, 13, who dreams of being an RAF pilot, said: “I just love planes and my favourite was the Typhoon because it is really beautiful.

“It is a little disappointing that the Red Arrows aren’t here, but there was still so much to see.”

The night flights, which took place for the fourth year running, included a daring twilight drop by the Tigers Army Parachute Display team as well as pyrotechnics from Otto the helicopter.

Alex Porter, cabinet member for tourism at Tendring Council, which runs the airshow, said: “It was bigger and better than ever.

There has been loads of people here and the weather has been fantastic.

“We always love to have the Red Arrows, but we have had The Blades here and I don’t think it has distracted from the show.

“The airshow generates a huge amount for the town and around a quarter of million tourists come to see it - it’s just fantastic.’’

The flight programme gets underway again today at 12.45pm.