Air Festival returns to the Midlands this summer

From May 31 to June 2, Midlands Air Festival will return to Ragley Hall estate in Warwickshire – with a pyrotechnic finale planned

This year’s event promises classic jet fighters, vintage aircraft, nearly 200 hot air balloons, helicopters, and aerobatics. For those wanting to make a weekend it, the event’s campsite and facilities will be expanded for 2024 offering the chance to stay on site for the duration.

For the display, an F-86 Sabre will be visiting from France along with aircraft from the famous Flying Bulls collection based in Salzburg, Austria. Among these will be the team’s North American B-25 Mitchell and Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Also attending will be the Flying Bull’s Douglas DC-6, apparently the largest aircraft ever to appear at Midlands Air Festival.

The Flying Bulls' B-25 Mitchell
The Flying Bulls' B-25 Mitchell Flying Bulls

Back by popular demand will be a Saab Draken with another classic jet joining the event from Coventry in the distinctive form of a de Havilland Vampire. Warbirds from the Rolls-Royce Heritage Flight, Spitfire and Mustang, are also on the bill. Also included are the AeroSuperBatics Wingwalkers and the Turbulent Team delivering their acclaimed barnstorming-type displays.

The Draken will make a welcome return to Ragley
The Draken will make a welcome return to Ragley Chris Bolton

Mass balloon ascents are planned for Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening, and Sunday morning and evening. Midlands Air Festival is in fact now regarded as the largest annual balloon festival in Europe. As darkness falls a pyrotechnic air display with illuminated aircraft trailing roman candles and firing fireworks from their wingtips is planned, the festival’s signature Nightfire display. The event will come to a close with a ‘Fireglow’ in which balloons fire their burners in time to music and shoot flames into the sky, topped off by a fireworks festival finale.

Midlands Air Festival has been shortlisted in the ‘Festival of the Year’ category at the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024. For more information see the website.

Douglas DC-6
Douglas DC-6 Flying Bulls
P-38 Lightning
P-38 Lightning Flying Bulls