The world’s only aerobatic airline will thrill tens of thousands of people in Swansea this year.
Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “The Blades are a real rarity – fully sanctioned by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly fare-paying passengers in close formation.
“They fly dynamic displays across Europe and I’m sure their display over Swansea Bay will be an unforgettable experience.”
Based in Northamptonshire, the Blades have pilot Mike Ling at the controls. “Lingy”, the longest serving RAF Red Arrows pilot has been at Wales Airshow for many years with the Red Arrows but this will be his first year here performing as part of the Blades.
Mike Ling said: “I am very excited to be heading back to Swansea for the Wales Airshow in July.
“Ben Murphy, head of The Blades, and I were in the Red Arrows at the inaugural event in 2009; I very much enjoyed heading back to meet the huge crowds in Swansea Bay as the Red Arrows’ commentator in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“It was then great to display with the Red Arrows last year but now I get to display with The Blades this year. I’ll swap a Hawk aircraft for an Extra 300 and will perform some dazzling aerobatics as a member of the world’s only aerobatic airline.
“The natural amphitheatre of the Bay and the beach packed with spectators makes Swansea one of the best display locations we could ask for.”
The Blades are in their 14th display season, and perform their globally recognised display to around four million spectators every year.
Flying precision, close-formation aerobatics, the Blades celebrate an aviation milestone this year – 1,000 displays flown.
They showcase the performance and capabilities of the single-propeller Extra 300 as an aerobatic stunt plane.
Undertaking aerobatic manoeuvres less than four metres apart and with crossing speeds of around 350mph, they execute high-speed synchronised passes and extreme gyroscopic aerobatics.
Cllr Francis-Davies said: “In the year that Swansea marks its 50th anniversary as a city we want to ensure that the Airshow continues to live up to its reputation as being one of our flagship events.
“The event gets more popular every year. As well as aerial displays, ground-based entertainment and activities form part of the event.
“The Wales Airshow is one of the UK’s biggest free events and it’s all about the spectacular. Keep an eye on the Facebook page and website as more displays are confirmed over the coming weeks.”
A dynamic timetable of display times for the Airshow will be fed into an Airshow app a few days before the event.