RAF's Centenary Flypast (Hardback)
The Story Behind the Event that Marked 100 Years of the Royal Air Force
On 10 July 2018, exactly 100 years and 100 days after the formation of the world’s first independent air force, 103 aircraft of twenty-four types from twenty-five squadrons flew over London in the largest formation of military aircraft seen over the capital of the UK in nearly thirty years.
Involving over 250 aircrew and operating out of fourteen military and two civilian airfields, with nineteen back-up aircraft and a stand-by air-to-air refuelling tanker, the Royal Air Force put on a unrivalled display to mark the centenary of its creation on 1 April 1918, in the closing months of the First World War. Exemplifying that long and proud history, was the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dakota of the Memorial Flight, as well as the enduring Hercules, with the newly-acquired F-35B Lightning displaying the RAF’s continuing global importance.
This book reveals how the flypast was conceived and examines the detailed planning involved in the event, written by someone who would know – the project manager and coordinator. The composition and size of the flypast was truly momentous, comprising virtually every type of aircraft that the RAF operated at the time.
As Chief of Staff at the Tornado GR4 Force Headquarters operating from RAF Marham, and an experienced Tornado GR4 Navigator, Wing Commander Kevin Gatland had the task of pulling together all the necessary components, both military and civilian required to produce an unrivalled aerial display. This involved considering the feasibility of assembling so many varied types of aircraft, all with different speeds and capabilities, in addition to concentrating them into a tight schedule to produce a virtually continuous stream of aircraft over central London, with elements breaking off to pass over the northerly runway at Heathrow Airport, the RAF Memorial at Runnymede, Windsor Castle and the RAF Museum at Hendon.
Beautifully illustrated with glorious colour in-flight photographs of the magnificent aircraft of the current RAF as well as the briefing and planning session, this book demonstrates the enormous range of factors that had to be taken into consideration to produce the amazing spectacle that was witnessed by the Queen from Buckingham Palace and the thousands who gathered in The Mall – an event captured in the pages of this fascinating book.
The Royal Air Force has long recognised the value of display flying for pilot training, prestige and recruiting purposes, and the standard of its formation aerobatic teams has always stood favourable comparison with those of air forces of other nations. Aerobatics have always played a prominent part in RAF training. They are not performed merely to provide a spectacle for the public but are an essential step in the making of a pilot, giving him confidence in himself and his aircraft. Formation aerobatics give him the added factor of confidence in his leader and other members of the team. This…By David Watkins
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