Diamond Jubilee Flypast – 5 June
The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows will be saluting Her Majesty The Queen on the celebration of her Diamond Jubilee at 1530 on Tuesday 5 June. The formation will be flying down the Mall as the Royal Family watch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The Flypast will include the Dakota flanked by two King Air aircraft, a Lancaster, Spitfires and a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, ahead of the Red Arrows who will make their entrance seconds later.
Officer in Command of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Squadron Leader Ian Smith said: “The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are honoured to be leading the Flypast for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. As a Service the RAF is enormously proud of its heritage, and the opportunity to fly over Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty with the nation’s aviation heritage is something that will remain with us for the rest of our lives”.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (originally named simply the Historic Aircraft Flight) was founded in 1957 to commemorate the personnel of the Royal Air Force who served their country in conflict particularly during World War Two.
Since their formation in July 1957, BBMF have completed thousands of displays and tens of thousands of fly-pasts; proud to represent the nation’s aviation heritage. They are a large Flight within the Royal Air Force and are extremely proud of not only their history, but their continued engagement in operations abroad. The Royal Air Force continues to police the skies above our country, much like the fighters of the Flight did some 70 years ago. BBMF are a “museum without walls” and a “living and breathing tribute” to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Records show that for many years after its formation the Flight conducted relatively low-key operations; typically making 50-60 appearances per season, a situation that continued into the mid-1960s. By the early 1990s this had trebled and demand for participation by the Flight’s aircraft was continuing to grow. In 1996 individual aircraft appearances exceeded 500 and by 2003 tasking for over 700 individual aircraft appearances during each year’s display season had become the norm. The demand for appearances by the Flight’s aircraft shows no sign of decline and indeed seems to increase every year. The Flight’s aircraft now appear in front of an estimated total audience of 7 million people annually and have a fleet of 12 airworthy aircraft.
King Airs are the multi-engine training aircraft of the Royal Air Force, flown by 45 (Reserve) Squadron which is part of Number 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell. Once pilots have successfully completed multi-engine pilot training on 45 (R) Squadron they are awarded their coveted pilot’s wings, and then undertake conversion to their frontline multi-engine aircraft type at an Operational Conversion Unit.
The Beech King Air B200 is a twin-engine fixed wing aircraft, which first entered RAF service in 2004. It is used as an advanced, multi-engine pilot trainer by No 45(R) Squadron, which is part of No 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire. The King Air course is split into basic and advanced phases. In the basic phase, students learn essential multi-engine techniques such as general handling, asymmetric flying, emergency handling and radio-aids navigation, and consolidate the multi-crew skills acquired on previous courses. In the advanced phase, the emphasis shifts towards developing captaincy, crew resource management, and managing the King Air’s advanced avionics systems. Students learn advanced skills such as formation flying, low-level flying and airways navigation, and are expected to plan and manage missions involving several aircraft.
Leading the nine Red Arrows following the Memorial Flight and closing the ceremonies will be Squadron Leader Jim Turner in Red 1. He said: “We are all extremely proud to be part of this auspicious event and to be a part of aircraft from the Royal Air Force at this tri-service celebration. We would like to offer our congratulations to Her Majesty on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee”.
The Hawk T1 has been used by the Red Arrows since 1979, replacing the Folland Gnat. The Hawk’s Rolls Royce Adour engine produces 5,200lbs of thrust and can power the aircraft to a top speed of Mach 1.2. The aircraft has a maximum altitude of 48,000 ft and fuel capacity gives a range of 1,000 nm, making most of the world accessible apart from New Zealand. The aircraft are essentially the same as those flown by Advanced Flying Training students at Royal Air Force Valley, with the exception of smoke generation modifications and a slightly updated engine which gives a faster response time. The smoke generation system pumps diesel mixed with appropriately colored dye into the jet exhaust to produce the colorful vapour trails that the Red Arrows are famous for. These trails are used mainly for flight safety reasons so the pilots can judge wind speed and direction whilst performing their displays. However, the effects of the trails also look good, enhancing the show for the audience on the ground.
Each aircraft can carry enough diesel and dye to create five minutes of white smoke, one minute of red and one minute of blue during the display. All nine Red Arrows display pilots are fast jet pilots from frontline Royal Air Force squadrons and once they have finished their three-year tour with the Team they will return to their Royal Air Force duties.