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March 2008 - Mildenhall
some welcome colour in the sunshine was Israeli C-130H 427 - the
C-130H is operated by 103 and 131 Squadrons, who operate as a wing,
much as the Lyneham units within the RAF, hence no squadron marks
are carried. Picture courtesy Tony Lowther
March 2008 - Scampton
over four months of intensive training, the Red Arrows flew their
first 2008 display practice today with all nine aircraft in formation.
A stiff breeze and threatening showers tested the pilots to the
full, a mixture of rolling and flat displays being performed amongst
a maze of cloud formations.
to the team is Squadron Leader Graham Duff, 'Red 4' for 2008.
Readers may remember Graham from the BBC programme a couple
of years ago during his first attempt at joining the team
- it just shows 'never give up'!
the past few months the Red Arrows have been flying six sorties
per day, working hard to get ready for the busy 2008 summer display
season. They will perform over seventy-five displays in the UK,
Europe and North America between May and October. Wing Commander
Jas Hawker, the Red Arrows’ Team Leader, said: “The first time that
we fly as a nine aircraft in formation is a big milestone for us.
It means that we are a step closer to being ready to perform our
display in public this summer." The team will fly a number
of work-up displays around the country before leaving the UK on
17 April for their annual training detachment at Royal Force Akrotiri
in Cyprus, where the guaranteed good weather will enable them to
put the final polish on their display more efficiently than in the
UK. Until the team receives its display authorisation at the end
of 'Springhawk' in Cyprus, the team wear ordinary green flying suits,
not the traditional red suits of the display season.
to their departure from the UK, the Red Arrows will perform a special
flypast over London on 1 April to celebrate the 90th anniversary
of the Royal Air Force. In formation with four Typhoon aircraft
from 3(F) Squadron at Coningsby, they will fly a route down the
Thames through Central London before flying over a number of Royal
Air Force stations on the return to Scampton.
March 2008 - Bruntingthorpe
prepares to soar as supporters rise to challenge!
major milestone has been reached as supporters continue rallying
to the call to ensure that Vulcan XH558 is seen in the skies around
the UK this summer. A campaign launched last month to bridge a funding
gap created by the current economic conditions is proving successful.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust is announcing the start of the work
to resume the remaining test flights to return the aircraft to air
response we are receiving from our supporters to our appeal for
funds to ensure we reach the air display season this year is very
heartening, so much so that in the last few days, I have felt confident
enough to authorise the commencement of preparations for the remaining
test flights", says Dr Robert Pleming, Chief Executive of the
Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST). "Every week's delay in starting
this work was costing us money, so despite our need to keep on raising
funds, it is the right thing to do."
again, our supporters are significantly exceeding our expectations",
continues Robert Pleming. "Thanks to their ongoing hard work
and generosity I am delighted to announce that we have also received,
from two major supporters, dedicated donations of £150,000
to specifically fund the Test Flight Programme. But the decision
to proceed could only be made by trusting in our supporters that
the fund-raising momentum will continue. We still need to maintain
a donation income of at least £50,000 per month to make it
to the airshow season. Once we make it to our first few airshows,
we are convinced that we will see fund-raising momentum continue
and sponsorship interest increase substantially."
Vulcan to the Sky Trust has the goal of 'Honouring the Past, Inspiring
the Future', and in particular bringing a spectacular part of British
heritage to a new generation of young people.
than £6million has been spent on returning Vulcan XH558 to
flight, of which £2.7million has come from the Heritage Lottery
Fund. The rest - the majority - has come from public donations,
making XH558 truly 'the people's aircraft'. The result of which
was that in October 2007 the Vulcan flew triumphantly for the first
time in over fourteen years.
should be sent to VTST, Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire,
LE17 5QS, or by 'phone to 0116 247 8145, or online at www.vulcantothesky.com
who want to take advantage of the valuable corporate sponsorship
opportunities should contact Michael Trotter on 07803 141483.
information on the project can be found at www.vulcantothesky.com
or by ringing 0116 2478145
March 2008 - Mildenhall
Gulfstream V N596GA taxis in at Mildenhall - this aircraft was originally
intended for the USAF, and was allocated the serial 99-0405 as a
C-37A. Apparently the order was cancelled, and the aircraft is operated
by National Aircraft Leasing from Greenville in Delaware. However,
it still seems attracted to military airfields. Picture courtesy
March 2008 - Brize Norton
Royal Danish Air Force has now taken delivery of all four of its
C-130J-30s since placing its first order in December 2000. The Danish
aircraft, which are the long-fuselage version of the C-130J, feature
a strengthened cargo ramp, improved airdrop system, and the Enhanced
Cargo Handling System, as well as RDAF-specific items including
a tailored electronic warfare suite. Denmark’s first C-130J was
delivered in March 2004 and began operational service only one month
after arriving at
the RDAF’s 721 Squadron in Aalborg, Denmark. The last aircraft,
B-583, was delivered in July 2007. Picture courtesy Mark Rouse
March 2008 - Hendon
RAF launched a programme of celebration events to mark the ninetieth
anniversary of its formation. Outside the museum, famous Chinook
ZA718/BN 'Bravo November' had flown in from its base at RAF Odiham.
Bravo November, which recently served in Afghanistan, has fought
in every conflict since the Falklands War and has three DFCs to
to a large audience at the RAF museum at Hendon in west London,
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy spoke
of the strength, pride and ethos of the RAF. "Ninety years
is a significant milestone," he said. "What we have seen
over those years is the essential role the RAF has played. Indeed,
we have seen the changing nature of warfare, from those very flimsy
aircraft over the trenches of France, to events of the last twenty-five
years: the Falklands, the first Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and
Afghanistan. It’s easy to forget that the RAF has now been flying
continuously in the Middle East for seventeen years."
Glenn announced several events to mark the RAF’s ninetieth anniversary
over the coming months. There will be a major flypast over London,
including Typhoons, the Red Arrows, and aircraft from the Battle
of Britain Memorial Flight on the anniversary day, 1 April. The
flypast will start just south of London City Airport, pass over
the O2 and past Canary Wharf, Wapping, Tower Bridge before flying
over the London Eye at 13:00. The formation will then continue over
MoD Whitehall, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The
will be followed by a VIP dinner at the RAF Museum that evening,
and a nine-ship formation of Typhoons will overfly the museum at
airshows at Cosford, Waddington and Leuchars will all have the ninetieth
anniversary as the key theme, as will the Royal International Air
Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire in July.
Air-Scene UK contributor and aviation professional Jamie Hunter
presented Sir Glenn Torpy with a framed Typhoon print. Jamie
also launched his new RAF book, 'Fighting Force' - we'll hopefully
review a copy soon
past and present were represented at today’s launch. Remarkably,
111-year-old Henry Allingham, a veteran of the Royal Naval Air Service,
one of the elements that formed the RAF in 1918, was a centre of
Glenn was asked how it felt to be ninety. "It feels very good,"
he said. "Because the service has achieved an incredible amount
over the years. One only has to look back at some of the iconic
events, such as the First World War, the Battle of Britain, the
Berlin Airlift, the Cold War, the First Gulf War, the Falklands,
and more recently Iraq and Afghanistan."
what about the future – how did Sir Glenn see the RAF developing?
"I think what we’ll see is continued improvement in equipment,
the way we train our people, our capabilities being networked together,
and more synthetic training. The spirit, the ethos, the values and
the pride people have in delivering air power is exactly the same
today as ninety years ago. My grandfather was in the Royal Flying
Corps, and I don’t think he was much different from the University
Air Squadron cadet I met last Friday." Pictures courtesy
Guy Harvey & Bob Franklin
out for a feature on ZA718/BN soon
March 2008 - Dorchester
one of the newly-delivered AW-139s due to take over rescue duties
from the trusty old S-61 for HM Coastguard later this spring was
trying out the helipad at County Hospital, Dorchester. G-CGIJ is
the new 'India Juliet' (same suffix as one of the S-61s made famous
in the TV series 'Seaside Rescue', along with 'Whiskey Bravo').
The AW-139 will take over duties at Osprey Quays (formerly HMS Osprey,
aka RNAS Portland) and other bases around the UK. Courtesy Andrew
March 2008 - Newark
Thursday 13 March a short ceremony will take place at the Newark
Air Museum in Nottinghamshire to unveil a new set of temporary Anniversary
markings on Blackburn Buccaneer S1 XN964 maritime strike aircraft.
markings have been carefully designed by Mick Coombes (leader of
the team currently restoring XN964) to celebrate the Buccaneers
50th Anniversary and the 20th Anniversary of XN964 being delivered
to the museum. The markings will remain in place on the airframe
for approximately three months, until the original 801 Royal Naval
Air Squadron markings are reapplied to XN964 later in the summer.
is the first time that the museum has decided to apply such temporary
markings to one of its airframes but the team wanted to mark both
anniversaries in an unusual way. Originally acquired by the Loughborough
& Leicestershire Air Museum, XN964 was purchased by Newark Air
Museum in early 1988 and it was transferred from Bruntingthorpe
to Newark as a Police escorted wide load early in the morning of
Sunday 13 March 1988.
museum is also seeking information that relates to a famous mission
its Buccaneer aircraft XN964 took part in forty-one years ago in
March 1967. On
18 March 1967 the Torrey Canyon super tanker, which was destined
for the Milford Haven oil terminal in South Wales, struck Pollards
Rock in the Seven Stone reef in the dangerous waters between Land’s
End and the Scilly Isles. As the super tanker broke up aircraft
from the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm were called in to drop
various munitions on the stricken tanker.
the time of the incident our Buccaneer XN964 was serving with 736
Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Lossiemouth, Morayshire. The museum has
references that show it took part in the missions to bomb the Torrey
Canyon on 28 March 1967, when flying directly from RNAS Lossiemouth
and also whilst temporarily based at RNAS Brawdy, Pembrokeshire.
The museum is keen to locate any pictures of XN964 flying on these
sorties against the Torrey Canyon for incorporation into the growing
historical record it is building up about the aircraft and its operations.
Details can also be sent to Mick Coombes the restoration team leader
at Newark Air Museum, Winthorpe Showground, Newark, Notts, NG24
2NY, telephone 01636 707170.
March 2008 - Innsworth
end of a significant chapter in the history of the Royal Air Force
(RAF), the closure of the former Personnel and Training Command
(PTC) Headquarters at RAF Innsworth, near Gloucester, was marked
by a simple ceremony there on Thursday 6 March 2008. The Station
is due to be handed over to the Army at the end of March after sixty-eight
years in RAF hands.
by four Hawk jet trainer aircraft from 19(R) Squadron based at RAF
Valley, Anglesey, coincided with the lowering of the RAF Ensign,
supported by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, watched by
senior RAF and Army officers, including eight former commanding
officers, present and former military and civilian personnel and
members of the resident Air Training Corps squadron.
Innsworth ceases to be an RAF station on 31 March with the departure
of the final RAF personnel, although its aviation links will be
maintained by the continuing presence of the Gloster Meteor T7 gate
guardian, built at nearby Brockworth in the 1950s, which will be
looked after by Innsworth's new incumbents.
a staged move the functions of PTC transferred to RAF High Wycombe
from 2005 being completed earlier this year, to collocate with RAF
Strike Command (STC), forming a new over-arching organisation known
as Headquarters Air Command, which was formally established on 1
Air Command Badge
is the new badge for Headquarters Air Command, the organisation
resulting from the amalgamation of HQ PTC and HQ STC as described
Badge Definition states: "The Air Command Badge displays in
front of a terrestrial globe a winged lion, rampant, grasping a
spear. The adopted motto FORTIS UBIQUE VOLANTIS may be freely translated
to 'Flying Bravely Everywhere'.
winged lion, representing air power, standing in front of the terrestrial
globe symbolises the global reach of modern air power. The head
of the spear alludes to a deliberately small, yet precisely honed
cutting edge; a lethal weapon when applied with precision whether
at long or short range. The stout shaft represents those who support,
guide and propel the cutting edge to deliver the reach, stability
and lethality needed." Courtesy RAF Air Command
March 2008 - Fairford
TIME' FOR AIR TATTOO ORGANISERS
of the Royal International Air Tattoo staged a special Question
Time at their headquarters in Fairford, Gloucestershire, where guests
were invited to grill them on all aspects of the event - from aircraft
participation to the price of hamburgers.
enthusiasts, the media and the public were invited to the Stakeholders'
Forum, which was last held in 2005, to have their say about the
world's biggest military airshow. Around eighty guests from all
over the country attended the event. Air Tattoo Director Tim Prince
introduced the meeting with an overview of RIAT 2007 and a look
ahead to this year's event on 12-13 July.
mood was buoyant, with more than ninety minutes of questioning providing
open discussion, with several attendees thanking the RIAT team for
their efforts in organising the airshow. They also welcomed the
announcement of the first aircraft to be confirmed for this summer's
airshow, from countries including Brazil, Pakistan, Canada, Hungary,
Norway and Chile.
the subjects discussed was the timing of the flying display, the
introduction of day-specific tickets, the 'congested' UK airshow
calendar and the layout of aircraft around the showground. Members
of the forum also praised the quality of the Air Tattoo's official
meeting closed with a special offer, bids being invited for a complete
set of Aircraft Illustrated from Vol 1 No 1 to the present, offered
by FRIAT member Richard Andrews, a member of the Friends of the
Royal International Air Tattoo with the money raised going to the
Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
Prince said: "The Air Tattoo has many stakeholders including
the Royal Air Force, our sponsors, the local community and our parent
charity and we are in regular dialogue with them to make sure we
are meeting their needs. The Stakeholders' Forum is a wonderful
opportunity to bring together aircraft enthusiasts and the public
and give them a platform to air their views about an event that
is close to their hearts. "We continually look for ways to
improve what is already a wonderful event and listening to the views
of our stakeholders is an important part of this process."
March 2008 - Mildenhall
B-1B diverted into Mildenhall today, the second of the week after
a first had slid in and out under the cover of darkness. The Bones
are transiting back to the States and tanker troubles forced the
two diverts - not that we mind, of course! Picture courtesy Gary
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