Bray Air Display 2022

Bray, 24 July 2022


Ireland perhaps isn’t known as a major airshow country, but the 100th anniversary of the Irish Air Corps held a lot of promise for the 2022 season as the service would certainly want to celebrate the anniversary in style up and down the country. With a date in the middle of summer, the coastal town of Bray looked set for success with their air display.


Bray is a coastal town just south of Dublin, with outstanding traffic connections to the city, most notably with the local DART trains, which anything but dart through the Irish countryside but that is beside the matter. Throughout the summer, the town is bustling with activities, of which the annual air display is just one. The promenade is lined with a big fun fair for most of the major tourist season to attract a younger audience, with a lot of the other activities being geared to a more mature audience.


With a major city like Dublin this close-by, the show’s catchment area was of course considerable and the resulting traffic problems will probably have left quite a few visitors with a bad taste.


Still, with the forecast in the run-up to the show, visitors should have been pleased to see any flying at all. Despite heavy forecasted showers, the main problem facing performers was the strong wind. Despite the better than expected conditions, weather did lead to a few unfortunate cancellations. No doubt the unluckiest of the weekend’s performers were the RAF Red Arrows, who barely made it following a temporary grounding of their Hawk T1s due to ejection seat concerns, only to be left grounded at nearby Baldonnel airfield due to heavy rain, which made operating from the short runway too risky.



The unexpected sunnier and warmer conditions did highlight another issue however, which was a clear lack of drink outlets in the catering area. Also problematic was the lack of toilets near the show site. One dreads to have been a visitor with children in tow!


The air display did feature some unique items, indeed coming from the Irish Air Corps which presented most of their active aircraft. Special mention should go to the formation display by three PC-12s, even if for most the standout item from the IAC would have been the return of the Silver Swallows display team.


International participation was mostly limited to performers from England, even if the show attracted the always outstanding Royal Jordanian Falcons leaving the crowd mesmerized.


The show may not have been without its challenges, but it still provided a free and entertaining afternoon out by the seaside. Another Irish show just a week later was not so unlucky and had to be scrubbed entirely on account of bad weather, so it was good to see this event escaping a worse fate.