Blades pilot on the amazing sight of Sunderland Airshow crowds from the sky

Tens of thousands may stand in wonder gazing at their airbourne antics - but for the pilots, seeing the crowds below is every bit a pleasure for them.

Andy Evans, a former RAF pilot and part of The Blades Aerobatic Display Team, which will be performing a jaw-dropping series of stunts on Saturday and Sunday at the Sunderland International Airshow.

The Blades ahead of Sunderland Airshow. Pictures by North News

The Blades ahead of Sunderland Airshow. Pictures by North News

And while the crowds stand in awe below, Andy says they will be providing as much pleasure for him as he flies high above in his Extra EA-300 aircraft.

"I've done the Sunderland Airshow many, many times, it's fantastic, I love it. It pulls in a great crowd and it's just fantastic looking down and seeing the seafront completely covered in wall-to-wall people," he said.

"Over the weekend it's just incredible how many people go."

Related: Amazing wingtip footage of The Blades display team in flight ahead of the Sunderland Airshow

All the Blades pilots are former RAF pilots who have served in the force's Red Arrows - a regular fixture at the Sunderland Airshow and the Great North Run, and a British institution the people of the UK have very much taken to their hearts since their formation.

But while the red jets can perform an impressive array of graceful spectacles in the sky, Andy said piloting a propeller plane offered much more scope for aerobatics.

"We're very much more maneuverable and we can do some very exciting manoeuvres because of the propeller - but obviously we fly a little bit slower," he said.

"But because we are slower, we get to do our loops in very much time than a Red Arrow, so in our 15-minute show we do more maneuvers than we would be doing in a 20-minute show in the Red Arrows."

He added: "The aircraft we fly is the Extra EA-300 and it can perform some spectacular manoeuvres, and you really need to come down to the seafront to see what it can do."

Andy said part of the thrill of the job for him was inspiring others, and perhaps even encouraging some future pilots and engineers.

"That's why I do it. We want boys and girls on the ground to look up and be inspired to go into aviation," he said.