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Sun, Jun 27, 2004

Isle of Man Air Festival Seeks Sponsors

Manx Festival of Aviation will feature two air races, exhibitions

The Isle of Man Online News Service is reporting that sponsors are being sought for this year's Manx Festival of Aviation, which will be held over the first weekend in August.

It will be the third air show since the event was revived after a gap of a decade and organiser Winston Oliver is predicting this year's will be bigger and better. The public part of festival will take place over two days – Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8 – with racing on both, the Manx Air Derby on the Saturday and the Tynwald Trophy air race the following day.

The Thursday and Friday before will see aircraft arrive – both those taking part in the show and race competitors – with a navigational time trial with cash prizes being held on the Friday. The festival is funded by sponsorship and advertising, with Winston digging into his own pocket and there is some limited government assistance.

A crowd of 9,000 attended the show in 2002, while last year's drew 12,000 and Winston is hoping the crowds over the two days this year are even bigger. Last year there were 22 aircraft competing in the races and it's hoped more will be attracted this year. These are in addition to 100 or so aircraft, including display planes, which are lined up for the air show.

Winston said the festival has many important sponsors, but more are needed. One particular project Winston is working on is to bring aviation legend Burt Rutan and his brother, world-famous pilot Dick, to the Island. Winston said he's looking for sponsors to bring Burt and Dick to the Island for the festival.

He explained: 'The outline plan is to bring them over with Virgin to London and then have a presentation at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on August 5 and then travel to the Isle of Man on August 6. We would have a presentation here that night and then they would be at the air show over the weekend. If we get them here it would be a real feather in the cap for the Isle of Man.'



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