The Queen’s birthday flypast

12 June 2008

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RAF practise for the Queens flypastThe Royal Air Force (RAF) is to provide a flypast to mark the Queen’s official birthday following the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony in Horseguards Parade, London, on Saturday 14 June 2008.

The flypast will involve 55 aircraft, the largest number for many years, of 14 different types, from World War ll (WWll) Spitfires, Hurricane and Lancaster, to high-tech Typhoon multi-role fighters, flying over Buckingham Palace.

The first of nine elements which will make up the flypast will be five aircraft from the Battle of Britain Flight (BBMF), based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The only airworthy Lancaster bomber in the United Kingdom, will lead two Spitfires and two Hurricanes.

Two aircraft types will be new to this annual event this year, King Air 200 multi-engined trainers of 45 (Reserve) Squadron, based at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, and BAe 125 transport aircraft from 32 (The Royal) Squadron, based at RAF Northolt, Middlesex.

RAF practise for the Queens flypastFor the first time since the 1990 flypast over London to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this years flypast will include a formation of 16 aircraft, consisting of Tornado GR4 strike aircraft from RAF Marham, Norfolk, of which the Queen is Honorary Air Commodore.

The formation elements will fly over Buckingham Palace at altitudes of between 1,300 feet and 1,700 feet starting at 1.00 pm precisely.The flypast will be approximately 20 nautical miles long, and will take four minutes to fly past overhead. Should the Trooping the Colour ceremony be delayed by weather, the Flypast will also be delayed, until 5.00 pm that day.

The bulk of the flypast formation will assemble over the North Sea near Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, before routing to The Mall and onward to Buckingham Palace. The WWll aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will join the flypast route near Fairlop to lead the stream over the Palace.

The remainder of the formation flying at 280 knots (320 mph) will continue past RAF Northolt, and then pass over RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire, which will be holding its annual Families Day.

Supporting the flypast will be two Hawks from 100 Squadron, RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire, acting as “whip” and spare, keeping the formation elements in place, and an A-109E helicopter conducting weathers checks and acting as a camera platform.

A practise flypast took place over RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, just after 1.00 pm on Wednesday 11 June.

Follow the link for more information on the flypast formations. Link


Photographs:  Cpl Dave Parnham.

Image one:  (Larger size) RAF Typhoons practice a flypast for HM Queen's Birthday Celebration.

Image two:  (Larger size) RAF VC10, Tornado and E-3D Sentry practise a flypast for HM Queen's Birthday Celebration.

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