Eagle-eyed residents in parts of the South East of England could be in for a treat on Saturday 8th June as the Royal Air Force wishes Her Majesty The Queen happy birthday with a flypast of military aircraft.
Before reaching the Royal Family and massed crowds waiting at Buckingham Palace at 1 pm, the flypast will form up at Southwold, Suffolk and route via Ipswich, passing close to Colchester and Chelmsford and entering London south of Stapleford Aerodrome. Having overflown the Palace, the Red Arrows will fly south for another display while most of the remaining aircraft will continue past Northolt and Wendover, finally parting ways in the RAF Brize Norton area.
“The weather forecast is suggesting it could be windy which may mean some last minute changes to which aircraft can participate. We never compromise on safety with something like this so fingers crossed the weather is kind.”
Squadron Leader Ben Smy
Lead planner for the flypast
As with all displays, the RAF is keen to point out that everything is subject to favourable weather conditions, aircraft serviceability and operational requirements; however, for those living near the planned flight path, it could be worth looking out for.
Squadron Leader Ben Smy is the lead planner for the flypast. He said, “This is a complex mission for our aircrew to fly and requires our pilots to have a good handle on maths. By the time the formation reaches Buckingham Palace, each wave of aircraft will be just 30 seconds apart and flying at between 1,000 and 1,200 feet high. However, given the flying speed differences between our modern jets and our World War Two propeller-driven aircraft, the pilots have to plan their run-in down to the second in order to achieve this spectacle for Her Majesty.”