Those magnificent men in their flying machines

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

Thursday, 17th August 2017, 7:00 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:31 pm
Bulldogs fly past Blackpool Tower

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

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.

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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

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.

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.

Vixen Two air display over Blackpool, in 1981

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.

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.

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

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

1983 air display in Blackpool, Tiger Moth biplane
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
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
Vixen Two air display over Blackpool, in 1981
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
1983 air display in Blackpool, Tiger Moth biplane
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