Build up to Sunderland Airshow

Air display at Sunderland Airshow Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

It's nearly that time of year when hundreds of thousands head down to the beach on Wearside to watch the world's top pilots in action.

The Sunderland Airshow has been drawing huge numbers, and the biggest names in aviation, for more than a quarter of a century.

And this year the organisers say it will be bigger and better than ever.

Among the updated role call of military and civilian pilots and aircraft at the event this July are the Hawk T2 Role Demo team.

The RAF use the Hawk to train new recruits how to fly military jets like the Typhoon and Tornado, but their display over the beaches at Roker and Seaburn will go beyond a typical training session.

The RAF say they consider the Sunderland Airshow to be one of their platinum events and they always have a strong presence in the air.

In fact Sunderland will be the second location for the Hawk pilots who will be performing at another show just over the border in Scotland before making their way south at high speed.

After all the trip will only take them a few minutes.

A Russian Mig is another new addition to the airshow.

A one time the sight of a Soviet fighter jet on British radar screens would lead to the scrambling of our own fighter squadrons.

But, in the skies above Sunderland at least, they are friends not foes.

Sunderland Airshow 2014 Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

It is estimated that the Sunderland Airshow brings in up to £12 million to the local economy each year.

It is the largest free event of its kind in Europe and is putting Wearside on the map.