Commercial Aviation Photography – Twister Aerobatics Team Tour to Gibraltar

Earlier this month I accompanied the Twister Aerobatics Team on their journey to Gibraltar where they would perform a series of displays on 10th September to commemorate Gibraltar National Day 2015. 

Gibraltar International Airport shares the site with RAF Gibraltar.  Indeed, the UK’s Ministry of Defence owns the runway, and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is contracted to provide air traffic control services.

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It is by no means a busy airport, with just a handful of scheduled commercial arrivals most days.  Unsurprisingly, these almost exclusively originate from the UK, with Monarch, easyJet and British Airways all operating services.  Additionally, there are occasional business jet movements and UK military visitors, albeit these are rather fewer and farther between than in the past.

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Gibraltar remains a rather contentious subject in Anglo-Spanish relations, with Spain claiming ownership of the territory, despite the residents having previously overwhelming rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in referendums in 1967 and 2002.

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As such, Gibraltarians are hugely proud of their British ties, and Gibraltar National Day is where they really go all out to make that fact known.  Indeed, at a time where other parts of the Union have been seeking greater independence, it was rather refreshing to see such a desire to remain part of something “Great”.

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Led by Peter Wells, with Chris Burkett flying as #2, the Twister Aerobatic Team – complete with Gibraltar flag logos on upper and lower wing surfaces – were approved to perform a flypast over the city after the main political rally and shortly before some 30,000 balloons were released into the ether – one for every person living in Gibraltar.

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Later in the afternoon they would perform daytime displays at two of the beach resorts, and, later still, a pyro display just after the sun had set, all of which were very well received indeed.

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It had been my first visit to Gibraltar and it proved to be a very interesting trip.

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