Those magnificent men in their flying machines

Bulldogs fly past Blackpool Tower
Bulldogs fly past Blackpool Tower

It’s a well-known fact Blackpool hosted the UK’s first official air show, in 1909.

That was just six years after the Wright brothers achieved the first successful manned flight in an aeroplane.

Mr Manx Kelly, the 1971 British national aerobactic chamption, flies a Stampe biplane and make a low level turn over two Stampes, which form part of the Rothmans' aerobatic team in the air display at Blackpool Airport

Mr Manx Kelly, the 1971 British national aerobactic chamption, flies a Stampe biplane and make a low level turn over two Stampes, which form part of the Rothmans' aerobatic team in the air display at Blackpool Airport

And the air show took place in the same year Louis Bleriot made the first air crossing of the English Channel.

Doncaster apparently jumped the gun three days earlier, but Blackpool was the first to be recognised by the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain.

Last week’s air show – the resort’s 108th – has been dubbed “the busiest ever” – with early figures suggesting more than 100,000 people turned out to watch the two-day aviation extravaganza in the skies over the Promenade.

Visitors and residents enjoyed an action-packed programme of displays, featuring the RAF Typhoon, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Breitling Wingwalkers and the world-famous Red Arrows headlining both days’ events.

Vixen Two air display over Blackpool, in 1981

Vixen Two air display over Blackpool, in 1981

The first Blackpool event took place just yards from the Gazette offices, off Squires Gate, and saw plane manufacturer A V Roe flying for the crowds.

The air show was the idea of Lord Northcliffe, the proprietor of the Daily Mail newspaper.

In August 1909, he wrote to Blackpool town hall to suggest the town put on air display.

Blackpool Corporation was enthusiastic about the idea and set the date for October 18, to 23, 1909.

On show at the centenary flying display and exhibition of the Royal Aeronautical Society at BAC Warton aerodrome - the only TSR-2 built and flown before the Government axe fell, in 1966

On show at the centenary flying display and exhibition of the Royal Aeronautical Society at BAC Warton aerodrome - the only TSR-2 built and flown before the Government axe fell, in 1966

With only seven weeks to finalise the show, the Ministry of Labour took the opportunity to employ more than 200 previously unemployed men, who worked day and night on the building of hangars and grandstands to ensure a superb event.

And so, the Blackpool air show was born.

The resort continued to be involved in air pageants, displays and aviation spectaculars over the years.

1983 air display in Blackpool, Tiger Moth biplane

1983 air display in Blackpool, Tiger Moth biplane

Centenary air display, June 1976

Centenary air display, June 1976

Blackpool Air Pageant, May 1977. A schoolboy's delight - the huge model of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal with her decks displaying all the latest models of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm aircraft

Blackpool Air Pageant, May 1977. A schoolboy's delight - the huge model of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal with her decks displaying all the latest models of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm aircraft