A ROYAL Air Force Tucano display team flew in today (Thursday, June 26) to help launch this year’s Sunderland International Air Show.

Europe’s largest free air show will be held at the seafront of Roker and Seaburn, from Friday, July 25 to Sunday, July 27.

This year the display Tucano has received a special livery to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

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The scheme features a cloud of poppies around the nose and the words Lest we Forget. The words and a single large poppy are also emblazoned on the underside with the 2014 display sequence designed to maximise opportunities for spectators to see the special livery.

Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for culture, Councillor John Kelly, welcomed the Tucano and crew at Newcastle International Airport.

He said: “The new livery is a fitting way to remind everyone of the sacrifices that have been made by members of all the armed services to defend our freedoms.”

The Tucano T1 is a two-seat turboprop basic trainer built by Short Brothers in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With its handling akin to a jet aircraft it is fully aerobatic and an excellent workhorse for training fast-jet pilots in all aspects of military flying.

This year the team comprises pilot, Flight Lieutenant Dave Kirby and display manager, Flight Lieutenant Jon Trueman.

Flt Lt Kirby said: “I was part of the display team at Sunderland last year and I’m really looking forward to getting back to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere and huge crowds along the seafront.”

The team are supporting three main charities in 2014 - The Royal British Legion, the Royal Air Forces Association, and the Jon Egging Trust, who have developed a programme to help disadvantaged young people to achieve their full potential.

For a full list of the aircraft flying throughout the weekend and for all up-to-date event information call the hotline on 0191-520-5518 or visit www.sunderlandlive.co.uk