On 10th July, up to 100 RAF aircraft will perform a flypast on an epic scale over Central London to mark the centrepiece of the Royal Air Force’s 100th-anniversary celebrations. The planned events mark 100 days since the 1st April anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force will mark its centenary year by showcasing up to 100 jets, helicopters and aeroplanes from a range of different eras, including Spitfires and modern state-of-the-art aircraft. It promises to be a spectacle never seen before and one that won’t be seen again for a very long time.
- What's the order of events?
Ahead of the flypast itself, there will be a parade of 1,000+ Royal Air Force personnel and another 300 lining the route. That starts at 11.25am and will march up Horse Guards Road and The Mall towards the Palace.
- Which aircraft will take part?
The Royal Air Force has released an iconic list of all the aircraft expected to feature - though it has warned that all participation is subject to weather, aircraft serviceability and operational commitments. The mass display will feature the following:
- Puma HC2’s - advanced medium-sized, medium lift transport helicopter
- Chinook - the twin-rotor heavy lift helicopter
- Juno - new training helicopter which has replaced the Squirrel
- Jupiter - new advanced training helicopter which has replaced the Griffin
- Dakota - one of the world's most famous military transport aircraft and saw widespread use by the Allies during World War Two
- Lancaster - the iconic Bomber Command veteran aircraft; one of only 2 airworthy Lancaster’s in the world
- Spitfire - If any object deserves the overused accolade of 'iconic' it is surely the Supermarine Spitfire. It combined speed and manoeuvrability with a unique capacity for development, and was in service from the first to the last day of the Second World War
- Hurricane - best known as the true star of the "Battle of Britain" engulfing Europe during the summer of 1940
- Prefect - a two-seated training and aerobatic low-wing aircraft
- Tucano T1 - RAF’s long-serving basic fast jet flying training aircraft
- Shadow R1 - the RAF’s advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft
- A400M Atlas - provides tactical airlift and strategic oversize lift capabilities
- C17 Globemaster - military transport vehicle capable of carrying payloads up to 169,000lb (76,657kg).
- Sentinel - an airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft
- Voyager - the state-of-the-art air-to-air refuelling and global passenger transport aircraf
- E-3D Sentry - an airborne early warning (AEW) and command and control aircraft.
- Hawk - The RAF’s advanced fast jet pilot training aircraft
- Tornado GR4 - The UK’s primary ground attack platform and also fulfils an important reconnaissance role.
- Typhoon - A highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat and quick reaction capabilities.
- Red Arrows - The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams
- Lightning – The first opportunity for the general public to see the RAF’s next generation aircraft, the Lightning (to be confirmed).
Wing Commander Kev Gatland said the weather across the holding areas, where the aircraft take off from, over London and the areas they disperse to afterwards is key and may affect the numbers involved.
If the weather is bad or unsuitable in any of these areas, some aircraft may not join the flypast or it could be cancelled altogether.
He also said operational commitments of the aircraft are another reason why they might not take part, as is the serviceability of each one.
- How will it all happen?
The aircraft will take off from where they are based and fly into their designated holding areas – this is where they will circle and move into their formations until it is time to join the flypast.
It is expected the flypast will begin to form up over Suffolk to the west of Ipswich at around 12.45pm before heading towards Colchester, and then Chelmsford.
The formation will continue over the M25, Stapleford Abbotts, Hainault Forest and on to central London.
At 1:00pm The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, other Members of the Royal Family and members of the public will witness the historic flypast where up to 100 aircraft, representing the RAF’s history, will fly over Buckingham Palace.
It promises to be a spectacle never seen before and one that won’t be seen again for a very long time.
Air Chief Marshal, Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Hillier, said:
“This once-in-a-lifetime flypast will provide an iconic centrepiece for the RAF100 celebrations. In our centenary year we are commemorating those that have come before us, celebrating our current personnel and, ultimately, inspiring a new generation to write the next chapters in the RAF’s story.”
“While the aircraft in the skies on July 10 will offer a striking visual representation of the United Kingdom’s air power throughout the RAF’s existence, it is also important to remember that there is a large and multi-skilled team behind every aircraft participating. The complex preparations required to deliver this display are made possible by the RAF’s cutting-edge technology and ongoing spirit of relentless innovation.”
- Taking part & TV Coverage.
You can join in person with viewing positions along the length of The Mall, London. If you can't get to London but live in the surrounding area here's a link to the route that the aircraft are taking in and out of London. So, keep an eye on the skies so you don't miss out. SEE HERE
Watch live coverage on BBC One from 9:30am to 1:20pm or stream on BBC iPlayer to watch the events as they unfold live. Alternatively listen to BBC Radio 2 for further coverage.
- Here's what else is happening
There will also be an RAF100 Aircraft Tour on Horse Guards Parade between 6-9 July where members of the public can view a range of aircraft spanning the RAF's history, from WWI and WWII through to today. (SEE MORE HERE)
The RAF100 Baton Relay will also complete its 100 day journey on 10 July.
Share your photos, videos and comments using the hashtag #RAF100
Did your ancestors fly above the trenches of the Western Front during the Great War, or chase the Luftwaffe attackers from the skies above Britain?
Forces War Records may hold the answer.