Aerial-Only Firework Displays

Advice for displays where you need everything high up in the air.

Sometimes your venue or other restrictions might mean that any firework effects low down to the ground will be out of sight from spectators. For example, if the fireworks are situated on the other side of a large hedge or wall, or behind a building.

In cases like this it’s easier to start by suggesting the fireworks to avoid rather than the ones to buy, and these are:

Fountains: These volcano like fireworks concentrate their effects just above ground level and to a maximum of 20ft or so with the larger ones.

Wheels: These are mounted on posts, so unless your post is high enough to clear the obstruction, they won’t be visible.

The following types of firework might be suitable depending on the minimum height you need to achieve:

Small bore cakes and candles: These achieve the lowest height, typically to around 30-50ft, with many of them having effects visible from the ground upwards, so you would lose the lower part.

Mines: These fire a one-shot column of effects into the air, with the column itself usually being part of the effect, so you could lose the bottom part. The best mines to pick would be the newer dump cakes, as these will fire their shots reasonably high.

So the bulk of your display should be with what’s left: Larger bore cakes, and rockets. Note that with cakes and barrages the category (F2 or F3) doesn’t have a bearing on the bore size of the tube, so smaller F2 cakes are still suitable for aerial displays.

Cakes fire their shots to around 80ft and larger rockets can reach 150 to 300ft+.

If you’re buying a display pack from a fireworks retailer in order to make a saving on costs, check to see if it contains fountains or wheels, as many often do. If so, you can usually ask your supplier to swap out those items for cakes or rockets of an equivalent value.

Rocket height
Rockets are the highest reaching fireworks, as this image with the goal posts for scale, shows.

Further information

The other Choosing Fireworks sections might also be of help in case your display also falls within the scope of those too.

If you’re a complete beginner and some of the terms used in this page are unclear then head over to the Beginners Start Here! page for a run-through of both fireworks and the extensive guides on my website.

The next step after narrowing down your choice of fireworks is buying them, arguably the most fun part! The Buying Fireworks sections will help you.

Then, it’s time to set up your pyro before firing it. The Setting Up Fireworks and Firing Your Display sections will guide you further.