A SURPRISE display gave beach-goers a taste of this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival.

The Sea Vixen made an unannounced 10-minute practice display between the piers at around 11.30am yesterday morning.

Thousands of people enjoying the 21C sunshine had the unexpected pleasure of seeing a jet fighter that can reach speeds of 690mph.

Alejandro Ochoa from Southbourne heard the jet and rushed to the beach with five-year-old daughter Isabella.

He said: “There were lots of people coming down – everyone was hoping it would carry on for a bit. I just missed it.”

The distinctive twin boom-tailed jet fighter made a series of high speed passes and climbed into the clouds in a roll before heading back to Bournemouth Airport.

John Humpage, visiting from Walsall, said: “We thought it was great.”

The Sea Vixen entered service with the Navy in 1964 and thanks to restoration work by Bournemouth Airport-based De Haviland, she is the only flying example in the world.

She last displayed at the first air festival in 2008. After a spell out of action, she rejoined the airshow circuit at the 2011 Yeovilton Air Day.

The 2011 Bournemouth Air Festival runs from Thursday, August 18, to Sunday, August 21, and other displaying aircraft include the Tornado, Vulcan, and the Red Arrows.