VIDEO + PICTURES: Cloud scuppers Red Arrows display at RNAS Culdrose Air Day 2013
THERE was a sense of frustration on the ground and in the air, when the Red Arrows were forced to call off their display at RNAS Culdrose Air Day today.
The world famous jets circled the base for around 15 minutes, waiting for a break in the cloud, which at times closed to just 400 feet off the ground.
For the thousands of spectators on the edge of the runway, the planes were seen twice as they dipped below the blanket of grey cloud.
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Commentators then announced that the lead pilot, Red One, thought it was not safe to perform their breath-taking aerobatics, and the planes flew home.
Despite the set back, there was still plenty to see and excellent displays from a wide variety of aircraft.
After two weeks of beautiful sunshine and clear skies, the low cloud and brisk wind was something of a disappointment and caused many challenges for the air crews.
The Blades stunt team were forced to adopt a ‘flat’ routine - although they still amazed the crowd with their flips and turns.
The real stars of the day were the older aircraft.
Following hot the heels of the news that the Red Arrows had been withdrawn, a 1950’s Sea Vixen, brought back a touch of wonder.
With its unusual triangular shape, the aircraft screamed above the runway to the delight of the crowd.
Earlier, a Second World War American Mustang had performed gut-wrenching turns and dives across the field.
A highlight of the day was a display by the stately Fairy Swordfish biplane - the same kind that played a crucial role in the Second World War. Equally impressive was a massive Catalina flying boat.
The world-famous Breitling Wing Walkers - the biplanes where women ride the top wings - also managed to stay below the cloud and charm the spectators.
Not to be outdone at Culdrose, which is a major helicopter base after all, there were excellent displays from an American style Huey, Apache, Sea Kings and the huge Merlins.
Elsewhere on the base, there was plenty to keep people amused, with displays, aircraft on the ground, stalls and fun fair.
The whole day was run with typical Navy precision and there was no shortage of personnel on hand to explain about the aircraft and their roles.