New Cork air spectacular expected to attract 100,000 spectators

Gerry Humphreys, instructor at Atlantic flight training academy at the launch of the Cobh Air Spectacular. Picture: Clare Keogh

Plans for a massive air show over Cork Harbour, featuring jet displays and wing walkers, have been unveiled.

Organisers of next summer's inaugural Cobh Air Spectacular believe the high-flying entertainment over one of the world's great harbours could attract up to 100,000 spectators.

Several aircraft, including the Aero Superbatics Wing Walkers and the Strikemasters jet display teams, have already signed up for the display on July 12, 2020.

The Strikemaster Jet pair, two single-engine vintage military tactical jets which are now used widely as military training jets, are a regular and popular feature at airshows across the UK, and have performed aerobatics at Foynes and at Dublin's SkyFest.

Some of Ireland’s leading aerobatic pilots, including David Bruton, in his SU-26, and the 'flying dentist', Eddie Goggins, a European aerobatics champion in his CAP 232, will show off their skills, with plans for historical aircraft flypasts and displays from the Irish Coastguard and RNLI also in the pipeline.

The harbour setting will provide spectacular vantage points and the event has been timed to coincide with Cork 300, which celebrates three centuries of activity at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Event organiser, Captain Rich MacIlwraith, a former commercial airline captain on 737s and 777s, who is now a senior instructor at the Atlantic Flight Training Academy in Cork, said the Cobh Air Spectacular has been years in planning.

Having been involved with airshows around the world, I have always believed that Cork Harbour provides the best natural backdrop for an event of this kind," he said.

"We have already attracted an amazing line-up, with more announcements to come.

"This event will be unlike anything we have ever seen on the south coast, and marks a huge opportunity to establish Cobh and the lower harbour as a regular venue for a world class airshow”.

The event is being actively supported and facilitated by management at Cork Airport.

“Cork Harbour offers a great natural amphitheatre for an international air show of this nature and as Ireland’s fastest growing airport, we are delighted to play a leading role in facilitating a spectacular of this nature," airport spokesman, Kevin Cullinane, said.

Mr MacIlwraith said the organising committee will work closely with the local communities involved, as well as Pure Cork, Cobh Tourism and the Cobh and Harbour Chamber as planning intensifies in the months ahead.

And they are also looking to the corporate world with unique sponsorship packages.

'We will be working with leading companies to offer the very best experience possible of the event, including the opportunity to fly on some of the aircraft that will be travelling to Cork for the event," Mr MacIlwraith said.

"This is the first time that companies will have had this opportunity in Cork, and we expect a high demand for both our individual and corporate sponsorship packages.”

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