An extra flight has been announced for the first day of the Clacton 150 anniversary flights.
Two US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing, operating out of RAF Lakenheath, will grace the skies above Clacton on Thursday (26 August) – subject to operational commitments.
Swooping over the seafront at around 2.30pm, the fast jets will kick-start the day’s flying programme, which continues with displays from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at 2.45pm and the Red Arrows from 3.15-3.45pm.
On Friday (27 August) the displays are reversed with the Red Arrows at 12.45pm and the BBMF between 1.30-1.45pm.
The Anniversary Flights are part of the celebrations marking Clacton’s 150th birthday this year.
Alex Porter, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism at Tendring District Council (TDC) – which is running the event – said the presence of the F15s was a real coup.
“We want to say a huge thank you to the US Air Force as it is relatively rare for USAF F-15s to fly at events such as this, so this is a real opportunity for flight fans, residents and visitors to see some truly superb jets in action,” Cllr Porter said.
“The Strike Eagles are amazing feats of aeronautic engineering and I can’t wait to watch them in action as part of what is a spectacular line-up the Clacton 150 Anniversary Flights.
“With only a few days to go I am really excited to be able to watch these spectacular flights above the skies of Clacton, and hope everyone else is too.”
The F-15E is designed for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, with low altitude capability, and has a two-man crew of pilot and weapons officer. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney engines, the plane can accelerate from idle power to maximum speed in less than four seconds, with a total thrust of up to 58,000 pounds depending on the model.
Its top speed is 1,875mph (Mach 2.5) and the jet can climb to 60,000 feet.
BBC Essex is the only way to hear live coverage of the Clacton 150 Anniversary Flights. Tune in from 2pm on Thursday and 12noon on Friday for exclusive commentary from the seafront, using your smartphone or radio.
People planning to watch the Clacton 150 Anniversary Flights are advised to plan their trip and download the free Love Tendring app which shows how busy beaches are, so they can spread out across the seafront.
As well as plenty of parking in the area there will be a Rotary Club car park next to Clacton Airfield (£5 cash for all day parking), cyclists can use the national cycle network 150, and there will also be a Park and Ride services from Hedingham Buses at Clacton Shopping Village.