2016 marked the first full season for the FireFlies Aerobatic Display Team, and we've had some amazing experiences at events both at home in the UK and abroad.
The beginning of the year saw the custom pyrotechnic rigs specifically designed for the teams two VANS RV4 aircraft gain approval for use by the Authorities, allowing full twilight pyrotechnic displays to be flown. Deceptively simple in appearance, these rigs need to hold the seven individual pyro units, and the electrical connections that allow them to be activated from the cockpit by Jon & Andy. Making sure everything is wired to fire in the correct order is an essential part of the pre-display checks!
The season kicked off with a special photo shoot with photographer Roy Gore and reporter Adam Landau from This is Flight for a 'behind the scenes' article with the team. You can read it over at This is Flight.net. Roy captured some fantastic shots of the team in flight, with Will Greenwood kindly providing the camera ship.
June saw the team make their first trip of the year over to Poland for the Leszno Air Picnic. Taking part in the Night Air section of the event, the team performed their very first public pyrotechnic displays over the two days of the show. Much to everyone's relief, the pyro rigs worked perfectly first time!
There are some stunning images captured from the Leszno show on our Facebook page, including some beautiful air-to-air shots taken during a specially arranged photo-shoot, so be sure to give our page a like and check them out!
August was a busy month for the team, with displays at Eastbourne, Bournemouth, Clacton and a second trip to Poland all taking place across 3 weekends.
Eastbourne saw the team debut their daytime aerobatic display, which features both formation and synchronised manoeuvres shown to their full effect with the aid of the smoke system fitted to both aircraft. The UK public debut of the twilight pyrotechnic display routine also took place at Eastbourne during their Firework Finale on the Sunday.
Returning to the Bournemouth Air Festival was a special occasion for the team. Their very first public display took place here back in 2015, and they were delighted to return to put on full daytime and twilight pyrotechnic displays over three days of the event. After a glorious evening for the Night Air show on the Thursday evening, sadly the weather had other ideas for Friday, with torrential rain bringing a halt to the flying, but things improved enough for Saturday's display to go ahead and both daytime and evening pyro displays took place in front of huge crowds.
The team's second flight over to Poland saw them head for Torun and the Bella Skyway Festival. This cultural event encompasses many different elements, including the 'Night Air' event which at which the team performed their pyrotechnic display over the river in the city centre.
The final public display of 2016 for the team was the 25th annual Southport show in September. Sadly the weather prevented the planned evening pyrotechnic display from taking place, but the daytime displays went ahead as scheduled. Seaside displays are well attended and the team always appreciate a wave from the crowds!
The team have had a great 2016 and we are very much looking forward to the 2017 season, with several events already in the diary. We'd like to thank all of those who have shared your photos with us and left feedback via Social Media, and we hope to see you at a show near you next year.
Our website and social media accounts will be updated with news of where you can see the FireFlies display, so follow us on Twitter, Like our Facebook page, and bookmark the website to stay up to date with the team.