RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight WWII Hawker Hurricane in RAF100 London Flypast (Crown Copyright, 2018)

RAF 100 London Flypast

100 Aircraft Fly Over Buckingham Palace to Celebrate RAF Centenary

One hundred days after the RAF’s official 100th birthday on 1 April 2018, the RAF marked 100 years of operations with a series of spectacular events in London on 10 July 2018.

Red Arrows over Buckingham Palace as RAF Regiment watches during the RAF100 celebrations in London, 10 July 2018.

Red Arrows over Buckingham Palace as RAF Regiment watches during the RAF100 celebrations in London, 10 July 2018, by Sgt P.J. George, MA, ABIPP (Crown Copyright, 2018).

Over 1,000 RAF servicemen and women will perform a ceremonial parade, along with almost 300 personnel lining the route representing the diverse roles played within the RAF through the generations. There was a spectacular flypast of up to 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace at 1:00pm representing the RAF’s history, its continued operational role in securing British skies, and the future of air power.

One of the aircraft was PZ865, a single-engine Second World War Hawker Hurricane fighter operated by the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. It was the last of 14,533 Hurricanes produced and is now flown as an airborne memorial. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) took part in the RAF100 Flypast over Buckingham Palace, with a Dakota, Lancaster, three Spitfires and two Hurricanes in the formation.

RAF Parade and Flypast

The parade was commanded by Group Captain Anne-Marie Houghton, a Sentry navigator from Headquarters Air Command. Group Captain Houghton has the distinction of being the first female navigator in the Royal Air Force after she graduated from training in 1991.

As part of the event, fifty-five Squadron Standards were paraded, including that of 617 Squadron, famous for its role in the ‘Dambusters’ raids. 617 Squadron was recently reformed in 2018 to fly the UK’s new F-35B Lightning II fighter jets.

Her Majesty the Queen also presented a new Queen’s Colour to the Royal Air Force at a consecration ceremony. The original Colour was presented in 1951.

The flypast consisted of up to 100 aircraft with nearly 200 aircrew from 25 different RAF Squadrons operating to and from 14 military stations and two civilian airfields. As well as the pilots flying the aircraft, the events were made possible thanks to the hard work of aircrew, support teams and Air Traffic Controllers. Their vital role in delivering the historic flypast reflects the fact that over 80% of job roles in the RAF are related to STEM subjects.

The flypast comprised the following 19 aircraft, passing over the Palace at 30 second intervals:

  • F-35B Lightning II – the RAF’s next generation fast jet
  • Puma – the RAF’s advanced medium-sized, medium lift transport helicopter
  • Chinook – the twin-rotor heavy lift helicopter
  • Juno – the new training helicopter which has replaced the Squirrel
  • Jupiter – the new advanced training helicopter which has replaced the Griffin
  • Dakota – the Berlin Airlift transporter which helped to move nearly 9,000 tons of essentials every day
  • Lancaster – the iconic Bomber Command veteran aircraft; one of only 2 airworthy Lancaster’s in the world
  • Hurricane – the battle-hardened workhorse of WWII Fighter Command
  • Spitfire – the iconic Battle of Britain fighter. The Spitfire was produced in larger numbers than any other aircraft before or since
  • Prefect – the new Elementary Flying Training aircraft which has replaced the Tutor
  • Tucano – the RAF’s long-serving basic fast jet flying training aircraft
  • Shadow – the RAF’s advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft
  • Hercules – the workhorse of Britain’s tactical military air transport and humanitarian capabilities. First operational in the RAF over 50 years ago
  • Atlas A400M – the RAF’s new, cutting-edge strategic air transport aircraft
  • C-17 – the key to Britain’s global strategic air transport capabilities
  • BAe 146 – the RAF’s short-range personnel transport and logistical support aircraft
  • Sentinel – the RAF’s world-leading battlefield surveillance and intelligence gathering aircraft
  • Voyager – the state-of-the-art air-to-air refuelling and global passenger transport aircraft
  • Rivet Joint – the mainstay of Britain’s aerial electronic signals intelligence gathering capability
  • E-3D Sentry – the battle-proven airborne early warning and command and control platform. An air traffic control system in the sky
  • Hawk T1 – the RAF’s advanced fast jet pilot training aircraft
  • Hawk T2 – the latest version of the RAF’s long-serving Hawk fast jet trainer
  • Tornado GR4 – the RAF’s longest-serving strike and reconnaissance fast jet
  • Typhoon – the backbone of Britain’s air attack and quick reaction capabilities
  • Red Arrows – the RAF’s elite aerobatic team

Source: RAF

Images: Crown Copyright, 2018.