Sunderland International Airshow

Sunderland International Airshow: 2018 preview and 2016 review

Sunderland International Airshow

27th - 29th July 2018
Red Arrows

The Red Arrows are regulars at the Sunderland International Airshow

This free seafront airshow starts on Friday evening and continues all day Saturday and Sunday, with flying displays and arena events.

Expect a very good military presence in the air and on the ground with RAF, Army and Navy military villages as well as the usual craft and trade stands.

Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
Additionally the following are due to be on static display, but are not flying during the show
All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints


More information including a flying list will be here when details are announced.

Sunderland International Airshow

21st - 23rd July 2017
Red Arrows

The Red Arrows are regulars at the Sunderland International Airshow

Free seafront airshow starts on Friday evening and continues all day Saturday and Sunday, with flying displays and arena events.

There will be a very good military presence in the air and on the ground with RAF, Army and Navy military villages as well as the usual craft and trade stands.

Returning this year to display on all three days the RAF Typhoon Team will join a wide range of aircraft and display teams including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows. These will be joined on both the Saturday and Sunday by the RAF Falcons and RAF Tutor display team.

RAF Typhoon Display Pilot 2017, Flight Lieutenant Ryan Lawton said,

"The RAF Typhoon Display Team is once again thrilled to be participating at the Sunderland International Airshow. Each year we are delighted to display over the spectacular coastline at Sunderland. "As for me, this will be my first display at Sunderland and I’m really looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere and welcome that the city is known for."
Due to fly (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
Red Arrows All days
Typhoon All days
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight All days
Sally BSat (cancelled: weather), Sun
FirefliesAll days
Gerald CooperAll days
BladesSat, Sun
BlenheimSat, Sun
P-51 MustangSat, Sun
Tigers Parachute Display TeamSat (cancelled: weather), Sun
RAF Falcons Sat (cancelled: weather), Sun
Tutor Sat, Sun
Autogyro Sat, Sun
BroncoAll days
Cancelled or withdrawn
Swordfish W5865 Unserviceable All days
All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints

The weather couldn't spoil Sunderland Airshow


The Bronco brightened even the dullest skies

This free seafront airshow got off to an excellent start with a truly welcome return to airshows of the BBMF's Lancaster, accompanied by her fighter friends. The joy of seeing the Lancaster back in the air after such a long absence from public shows set her display above even the impeccable Red Arrows. The Eurofighter Typhoon was also in thrilling action with its first dusk display of the season. These RAF displays launched the 28th Sunderland Airshow, supported by music from the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth and the Rat Pack Boys.

Then, as the sun began to set, both the Twisters and AeroSPARX lit up the skies with their LED lights and fireworks off the wings. If that wasn't enough fireworks, there was a land-based firework display to close the evening.

Twister music

The music that accompanied the display by the Twisters has proved popular. It is a remix of Miko's Leave the Lights by GuyMac, a DJ and producer, who happens to be the son of commentator Peter McNamara.

On Saturday the weather was fair but the forecast for Sunday suggested less clement weather, getting worse as the day progressed. In order to give the displays the best chance of flyable conditions, the programme for Sunday was brought forward by one hour. This flexibility worked out very well and, as a result, over the weekend all displays went ahead, with the exception of the Lancaster, whose displays on Saturday and Sunday had to be cancelled.

The RAF Falcons parachute display team have not missed a Sunderland airshow in all its history and they maintained that record to open the weekend's events at this, the 28th show. But it was the other parachute team, the Tigers, who were involved in one of the most talked-about incidents, when one of their number, Team Leader Cpl Frank Millerick, appeared to crash into the sea. In fact he had to release his parachute and flag because of a 'line over', and deployed his secondary parachute, landing safely on the beach. The parachute and flag that fell to the sea were later recovered by the Sunderland RNLI.

Most of the flying events were held on both of the weekend days, with the exception of the Dutch B-25 Mitchell 'Sarinah', which displayed on the Sunday only, and the MiG-15, which joined the Vampires for a flypast on Sunday only. The Chinook had been listed to fly on Saturday and Sunday, but this very popular display was cancelled by the Chinook Team. The full schedule of flying displays will not be repeated here, but is detailed in the table.

Flying schedule   (tap / hover over icon for more detail)
Red Arrows (RAF) (22nd & 23rd)
Eurofighter Typhoon (RAF) (all 3 days)
RAF Chinook CANCELLED before the show
RAF Falcons (23rd & 24th)
BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane (due all 3 days but the Lancaster only flew on Friday)
Black Cats (23rd & 24th)
Autogyro (23rd & 24th)
The Blades (23rd & 24th)
Twisters (all 3 days - with lights and fireworks on 22nd)
AeroSPARX with lights and fireworks (22nd)
Fairey Swordfish (23rd & 24th)
Matadors (23rd & 24th)
Strikemaster (23rd & 24th)
Tigers Parachute Display Team (23rd & 24th)
B-25 Mitchell (24th only)
MiG 15 (Flypast on 24th with Vampires)
Bronco (23rd & 24th)
Vampires (Norwegian AFHS) (23rd) (Flypast with MiG15 on 24th)
Kittyhawk 'Lulu Belle'
Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle'

HMS Bulwark was anchored off Sunderland, providing a spectacular backdrop to the show and participating in the landing of craft in a demonstration by the Royal Marines of 4ASRM, the Queen's Own Yeomanry and 4th Regiment Royal Artillery of amphibious action against 'enemy' beach positions.

Unfortunately, some unexploded pyrotechnics were left on the beach, which caused the beach to be closed for much of Sunday whilst they were dealt with and gave a few people cause for concern, especially as the beach had been open the previous evening. These incidents will no doubt be reviewed and measures taken to secure against them in 2017.

Overall, an excellent and varied show in sometimes difficult conditions.


Local area

Getting to the Show

By car

The nearest main road to the flying line is the A183, Whitburn Road. Use sat nav SR6 8AB until you get close, but ignore the sat nav in favour of local directions signs as soon as you see them. There are links to route planners in the Travel Advice column if you prefer to plan ahead or don't have sat nav.

By coach

Sunderland is about ½ hour from Newcastle by National Express, 45 minutes from Middlesbrough and 2 hours from York. There are services to many other parts of England and Wales. You can book seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.

Local bus services are provided by Stagecoach and GoNorthEast who usually have special routes from nearby towns direct to the airshow

By Train

Sunderland is about 20 minutes from Newcastle and to there about another hour from York, 1½hours from Edinburgh, 2½ hours from Manchester or 3 hours from London.

Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.

The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose, but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.

Local buses run from the station to the airshow or you can take the metro to Seaburn, which is about 15 minutes walk from the centre of the flying line.

Travel Advice

Road traffic updates
Highways Agency
National Express
Incidents and enquiries
National Railway Map
DIY pocket timetable
Journey planning by public transport
Route planners (Road)
Bing (Microsoft)

Accommodation near the show

It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.

There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.

Between them, Expedia and LateRooms list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. Expedia also give, and take, Nectar points.

Click either blue agency name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into both links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.

Trivago will list competitive prices for a range of hotels, but they might not necessarily find them all, because some chains do not subscribe to their service. You may also get a better rate if you book direct with an hotel, especially if you are a member of a loyalty or rewards scheme.

The International Hotels Group do not have any Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express hotels in Sunderland itself, but there is a Holiday Inn in Washington, about 9 miles away, and a Holiday Inn Express in Newcastle, about 12 miles away. There are three Premier Inn hotels in Sunderland.

Weather for the show area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day Sunderland weather forecast from the UK Met Office

The Met office seven-day forecast includes maximum, minimum and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind direction, gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.

The BBC's five-day forecast has overall conditions including temperatures, UV range and a description that may help to determine how pleasant the day will be for the visitor.

Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.

2018 Show Basics

27th July - 29th July

Airshow links

Show's web site


Not required. This is a free seaside show


Sat Nav SR6 8AB
For links to travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting there' tab