IN PICTURES: Aerial acrobatic display for birthday celebrations in Portsmouth

A SPECIAL occasion was marked with an aerial acrobatic display over Old Portsmouth and the Solent on Saturday – one which was captured by stunned onlookers and photographers. 

To see our picture gallery of the display click on the link at the top of the article. 

An aerial display over Old Portsmouth. Picture: Louis Goldman

An aerial display over Old Portsmouth. Picture: Louis Goldman

A couple celebrating a birthday at the Spinnaker Tower on Saturday arranged the display – carried out by company Mark Jefferies Solo Air Shows and the Global Stars Team – for them and their guests to enjoy.

Gareth Hodgson organised the aerial display on September 1 as part of a surprise for his wife Nadine Hodgson’s birthday.

He said: ‘I organised a surprise 40th party for my wife Nadine at the Spinnaker Tower at the beginning of September.

‘It was a complete surprise for Nadine, so she was absolutely speechless when the lift opened on the viewing deck of the tower, to be greeted by over 100 friends and family wishing her a happy birthday!

‘The surprises kept coming for Nadine, with a pyrotechnic air display over by Steve Carver from Mark Jefferies Air Display Team.

‘The sun was just setting over, so the view of the display over Portsmouth Harbour high up in the Spinnaker Tower was absolutely stunning. Nadine couldn’t believe her eyes. An absolutely fantastic evening.

‘The view from the tower was incredible and the staff there went out of the way to make Nadine’s night so special.

‘All of the guests are still talking about the party, as is Facebook and Twitter, as they probably will be for a long time to come!

‘The pressure is on though, for me to top that for her next big party!’

The solo German aircraft in the display at the weekend was flown by aerobatic champion Mr Carver, who had fireworks on the tips of the wings of his aircraft.

He showed off how the aircraft ismanoeuvrable, strong, practical and functional, said Mark Jefferies, owner of the Bedfordshire-based company.

Mark said: ‘On Saturday take-off was from Gransden Airfield and landing at Southampton Airport. The display was in the evening.

‘We have seven aircrafts and seven pilots.

‘A smoke trail is created by the use of non-carcinogenic oil which is vapourised by the heat of the exhaust.

‘People arrange this sort of thing because it’s rather unusual and exhilarating.

‘Generally speaking members of the public don’t know aircraft can fly sideways and backwards with fireworks on the tips of their wings.

‘The displays add a new dimension to aerial entertainment and show the precision of a skilled pilot.’

Pictures: Louis Goldman