ORGANISERS of the Lake District's 11th annual air extravaganza, taking place on July 23 and 24, have revealed their display line-up.
The Windermere Air Festival kicks off on the Saturday with the breathtaking acrobatics of the Breitling Wing Walkers, performing a sequence of manoeuvres and handstands whilst strapped to the top wings of the team's Boeing Stearman biplanes.
First day visitors will also be treated to the RedHawks' air show act with a slow, gentle and graceful four-minute, three-dimensional aerial ballet performed to soothing music by a pair of 42 year-old, wooden, high-efficiency aeroplanes, designed by French musician, artist, ceramicist and sculptor Réné Fournier.
Another Saturday highlight will be the RAF Falcons parachute display team, now in their 50th year.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will grace the skies above Windermere on both days with special flights from the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster Bomber.
The RV8tors will be flying their remarkably fast Vans RV-8's with powerful smoke systems, performing an exciting and memorable display.
Combining close formation aerobatics with speeds up to 230 mph, the display makes large manoeuvres that fill the sky and leave big smoke trails.
Also appearing at the festival will be the RAF Tucano and the RAF Hawk.
Both spectacular in their own right the Hawk display team will demonstrate the professional excellence of the RAF while the Tucano display consists of 21 manoeuvres including an offset barrel roll, stall turn, oblique loop and reverse wingover.
On Sunday, the Twister Duo will create a display of formation barrel loops, rolls and gravity defying zoom climbs.
The highlight of the weekend is set to be the renowned ambassadors of the RAF and everyone’s favourite – The Red Arrows.
Having missed last year's Lakeland air show, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, have been confirmed to headline 2011's festival.
Appearing at the air festival is a welcome return for Squadron Leader Graeme Bagnall.
Graeme, who is Red 10, is the team’s commentator and on the ground safety supervisor.
He was educated at nearby St Bee’s School, in Cumbria.
Mr Bagnall said: “We are really looking forward to displaying at Windermere.
"It’s a stunning location and will definitely be a highlight of the display season for me.
"I can’t wait to meet the crowd when I’m on the ground at the show doing the commentary for the Team.
"You get a real buzz from seeing how the audience reacts to the displays.”
The RAF Red Arrows have been wowing audiences since their first season in 1965, they have flown over 4,000 displays in 52 countries.
Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world,acting as ambassadors for Great Britain when displaying overseas.
They also support UK industry by demonstrating the capabilities of British equipment and expertise.
Lucy Bennett, a director of the air festival, said: "It’s such a coup for us to host the Red Arrows this year.
"They put on such a fantastic display and really add some excitement to the programme.
"The highly acclaimed displays are filled full of twists, turns, drama and excitement - they are definitely not one to be missed."
Attractions on the ground at the Air Base include the military village, battle re-enactments and flying simulator, new kids have-a-go activities plus face painting, circus skills, music and great local food stalls.
The Windermere Air Festival 2011 takes place on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24. The Air Base is located on the Glebe in Bowness-on-Windermere. For further information, click on the website below.
TWO thirds of the red kites released in Grizedale Forest last summer have survived the harsh winter.
Wildlife rangers believe that around 20 of the 30 birds released in the Forestry Commission’s three-year re-introduction programme made it through the winter and are still in Cumbria, or nearby counties. Between five and eight of the birds are believed to be living around Grizedale and the Rusland Valley, with another three to five inhabiting the Kirkby Moor area near Ulverston.
Four more Grizedale red kites have been spotted by RSPB experts at feeding stations in Dumfries and Galloway – the furthest known movement is by the bird tagged as number four, which has flown 120km north west into Scotland.
“The birds are doing pretty much exactly as we expected, which is very encouraging,” said Iain Yoxall, Forestry Commission wildlife ranger. “We are more confident that these birds will make it to adults now they have made it through a harsh winter. Sadly we lost a few birds but that is natural and why we have to release the numbers that we did.”
The 30 red kites released from a secret location in Grizedale Forest in August last year had coloured tags on each wing. An orange tag on their left wing shows they are from Grizedale, and blue tags on their right wings indicate that they were released in 2010. Some birds were also fitted with radio transmitters to help with monitoring.
Mr Yoxall, who has been following the birds’ movements around Cumbria, said the help he has received from the public had been invaluable. “I have been radio tracking the birds but sightings from members of the public have been a fantastic help and greatly appreciated. This has been very important because it helps us find the birds and backs up our radio tracking results to give us a more robust picture of their movements. We hope that the public will continue letting us know when and where they make sightings of the red kites.”
This year’s birds will hatch in May and are likely to be released into Grizedale Forest in August. The red kites being introduced into Grizedale are the product of a reintroduction programme that took place in Northamptonshire in the 1980s.
Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and human persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries. But they managed to cling on in Wales, and their numbers recovered slowly thanks to the actions of local conservationists
A PAIR of ospreys have returned to their nesting site in the Lake District. The birds are back at Bassenthwaite Lake - 10 years after the first male osprey chose the area for a nesting site.The bird, known as No Ring, was the first to nest in the Lakes for 150 years. Experts say he has returned with the female he paired up with for the first time in 2007.
It is hoped the birds will rear an 11th generation of young after two male chicks were produced last year.
Graeme Prest of the Lake District Osprey Project said: "It is wonderful news that the ospreys have returned for another season and have already mated. With a bit of luck, the female will be laying her eggs soon.”
Almost 100 people are part of a volunteer project to provide 24-hour observation on the nest. They also engage with the public about ospreys at the Dodd Wood viewpoint and Whinlatter Visitor Centre.
The public Osprey Viewpoint at Dodd Wood, near Keswick, has been opened and telescopes are being provided to see the birds.
Live images from the nest are also being beamed to a big screen at the nearby Whinlatter visitor centre. The osprey project is managed by a partnership of the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park Authority and the RSPB.