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Haven Great Yarmouth Air Show aims for family friendly displays

An expert with his hands on the controls of the new Haven Great Yarmouth Air Show is planning family-friendly displays for the debut event.

Ian Sheeley, the flying display director for the two-day show on June 16th-17th, has helped organise scores of air events across the world, combining his passion for aircraft with a former career as an RAF air traffic controller.

Seafront air shows are different to airfield ones because of the layout of the display safety zones and the type of visitors they attract, he explained.

"You tend to find seafront crowds are more family-orientated as the enthusiast will generally want to see the aircraft on the ground, close-up, as well as watching them fly," he said.

The Wildcats aerobatics team and the Army's Tigers freefall parachutists have already been confirmed, and details of a wide range of other exciting displays will be announced in the coming weeks.

Event planning is well under way, with safety always the top priority. Flight lines take into account the tide, areas where the public may be standing, offshore structures such as the Scroby Sands wind farm - and a need to keep spectator boats clear of danger.

Mr Sheeley said: "We did take into account the wind farm when we designed the display area - it is an obstruction to low flying so we needed to ensure that aircraft would be able to fly clear of it when low and only potentially overfly it when at height.

A Maritime Exclusion Zone (MEZ) will be set up on the sea, beneath the display area, to keep leisure boaters seeking to view the show from the surf at a safe distance, but Mr Sheeley said the best place to view was from the shore.

The Haven Great Yarmouth Air Show is being organised by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area to boost visitor numbers and the local economy. It is expected to attract 170,000 people and generate an extra £10m for local traders.