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Norfolk Pilot joins the Great War aerial dogfights

Pete Bond’s Fokker

The bravery and flying skills of First World War pilots will be re-lived over Great Yarmouth seashore in one of the highlights of the upcoming new air show.

And a Norfolk pilot is among the “magnificent men in their flying machines” ducking and diving in dogfights like those seen over the trenches 100 years ago.

The Bremont Great War Display Team is a collection of nine replica aircraft – from both sides of the conflict – including legendary Sopwith and Fokker fighters.

One of the Fokker pilots is Peter Bond, a retired KLM airline pilot from Southburgh near Dereham.

He used to steer 100-seater city hopper planes around Europe but now flies just for fun including in a self-built replica Fokker triplane – like the one flown by German fighter ace Manfred “The Red Baron” von Richtofen.

He said: “It is real flying – just like I dreamed off when I was a child - but a bit like driving on ice in the sky.

“The triplanes were the best at fast turns, but it is hard work keeping them in balance – totally different to flying straight and level so passengers don’t spill their cups of tea.”

Mr Bond added: ”I’m really looking forward to the Great Yarmouth show – and for once it will be a ‘local’ event on my doorstep that doesn’t involve a long trek to get there.”

Team leader Gordon Brander, whose Sopwith is often doing mock battle with Mr Bond, said: “The dogfights might look like chaos, but they are all carefully rehearsed for safety.”

The Haven Great Yarmouth Air Show is on June 16-17, and is organised by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area in its drive to bring more visitors and spending power to the area.

Show director Asa Morrison said: “We can’t wait to see this amazing group of aircraft recreating flying history at our show as we reach poignant centenary milestones for the end of the war and the creation of the RAF.”

Show organisers are encouraging people to plan their journeys, leave the car at home if they can or to book now for parking and park and ride tickets

Pete Bond’s Fokker triplane in dogfight action
Pete Bond with his Fokker on the ground
Pete Bond in the cockpit