The 2014 Sunderland International Airshow was launched at a special event at Newcastle International Airport with the help of the Royal Air Force Tucano Display Team.
This year the display Tucano has received a special livery to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. The scheme features a 'cloud' of poppies around the nose and the words 'Lest we Forget'. The words and a single large poppy are also emblazoned on the underside with the 2014 display sequence designed to maximise opportunities for spectators to see the special livery.
Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council's Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture welcomed the Tucano and crew earlier today saying, "It is great to see the Tucano once again displaying at the Sunderland International Airshow.
"The new livery is a fitting way to remind everyone of the sacrifices that have been made by members of all the armed services to defend our freedoms. The fact that this message is carried by an aircraft that most of the current RAF fast jet pilots have trained in goes to show the ongoing dedication to making the world a safer place."
The Tucano T1 is a two-seat turboprop basic trainer built by Short Brothers in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With its handling akin to a jet aircraft it is fully aerobatic and an excellent workhorse for training fast-jet pilots in all aspects of military flying. This year the team comprises Pilot, Flight Lieutenant Dave Kirby and Display Manager, Flight Lieutenant Jon Trueman.
Flight Lieutenant Dave Kirby said, "We have worked hard at developing a new routine for this year that will give the crowds the best opportunity to see the new livery. I was part of the display team at Sunderland last year and I'm really looking forward to getting back to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere and huge crowds along the seafront."
The team is supporting three main charities in 2014: The Royal British Legion, the Royal Air Forces Association, who provide both comradeship and support to the RAF family during and after their military service, and the Jon Egging Trust, who have developed a unique programme to help disadvantaged young people to achieve their full potential.
Northern area manager of the Royal British Legion, Marcus Hawthorn said, "We are delighted that the Tucano Display Team has chosen the Royal British Legion as a beneficiary charity as we commemorate the centenary of the beginning of The First World War. It seems fitting that the world's oldest military flying training school can bring such a poignant message home to thousands of spectators in this unique way."
Sue Stanhope, Airshow Director added, "This year's Airshow, as always, promises to be a great event with something for everyone both on the ground and in the air. The Tucano will be displaying on the Friday night which is a first for the Airshow and a welcome addition to our fantastic flying programme.
"Pilots and aircrew come here to entertain the huge crowds that come along. Each year I have the privilege of meeting many of the crews and they always speak of the welcome they get from the crowds and how much they look forward to coming along to Sunderland."