Newcastle Festival of Flight date confirmed

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The Newcastle Festival of Flight returns on the earlier date of June 22nd 2019.

While no details of what will be involved in the flying display have yet been announced, the change in date is expected to be due to the Red Arrows ‘Western Hawk 19’ tour of North America in August & September.

Lets hope for better weather in 2019! The 2018 Festival of Flight was a total washout with heavy rain and low viability causing the show to be cancelled just as the RAF Typhoon roared in to open the show!

The date was confirmed at Mondays Enterprise, Regeneration & Tourism meeting and will have an ‘enhanced’ budget of £120,000 similar to what last years show would have been.

I look forward to seeing what displays are confirmed in the coming months!

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Birr Air Display returns for 2019

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The fastest growing airshow in all of Ireland returns in 2019.

The 6th Annual Birr Air Display will be held on Monday 5th August and will run alongside the Birr Vintage Week. Already 2 great displays have been confirmed.

Rich Goodwin will wow the crowds with his amazing display in his Pitts Special aircraft! Team Raven, who fly Vans RV aircraft will also put on a fantastic 5 ship display.

It is a great start for Birr and with 2 well renowned displays already confirmed we look forward to seeing what’s next!

Foynes 2019 Airshow Cancelled

Very sad to report that there will be no Foynes airshow in 2019 due to lack of sponsorship. 😦 The IAA have withdrawn funding
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The Foynes Air Show, which has attracted thousands of spectators to the County Limerick port village over the past five years, will not go ahead this year, it has been confirmed.
 
The withdrawal of the Irish Aviation Authority as the main sponsor and the difficulty in finding a new sponsor at short notice have forced the decision, which has come as a huge disappointment in the community.
 
Announcing the decision this Tuesday, Margaret O’Shaughnessy, who is the festival director and the driving force behind the Air Show, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Foynes Air Show cannot go ahead this year. Despite our best efforts, we were unsuccessful in identifying a new main sponsor in the short timespan open to us since the announcement in mid-December that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) was concentrating its Corporate Social Responsibility elsewhere.”
 
 
The IAA sponsorship which covered all in-the-sky activity was worth an estimated €100,000 to Foynes as part of a joint deal with the Bray Air Show. But other sponsorship of up to €100,000 was secured for on-the-ground entertainment.
 
The one-day festival has been running since 2014 and has attracted audience figures of up to 20,000 people. It has been estimated to be worth over €750,000 to the local community.
 
Ms O’Shaughnessy continued: “The disappointment has been compounded by the fact that this year is a big year for the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum as it celebrates its 30th birthday on July 8, and we also mark the 80th anniversary of the first commercial passenger flight over the North Atlantic this year.”
 
However, she added, a celebration of these landmark events will go ahead and will be supported by a donation of €10,000 from the IAA “for which we are grateful”.
 
“In the meantime we are coming to terms with a summer without the very popular Foynes Air Show for the first time in six years. Last year was the fifth year of the event, with the IAA coming on board for the last two years, making Foynes Air Show the largest and most successful along the Wild Atlantic Way,” she added.
 
“There is a huge financial cost to organising and hosting the Foynes Air Show – a free family event. The ground costs alone were more that €100,000, and without the support of the IAA or another major sponsor we would also have to cover the costs of the international air acts, something we could not do without the support of a new major sponsor.
 
“While we have received some public money with Failte Ireland announcing sponsorship of €7,000 and Limerick City and County Council pledging €20,000 for 2019, we relied mainly on private sponsorship,” she added.
 
“We are bitterly disappointed that the air show is not going ahead this year, but we remain eternally grateful for the support we received over the last five shows, including the support of our many sponsors which included the Shannon Foynes Port Company, Limerick City and County Council, Shannon Airport, Fáilte Ireland, Avolon and many other aviation companies, local industry and businesses. To our loyal sponsors who already indicated support for this year, we say thank you, and share in your disappointment that the show will not be going ahead.
 
“We would like to acknowledge and thank the IAA and many agencies that have given us great support over past five years including the gardaí, civil defence, Red Cross, search and rescue organisations, ATC Shannon, and Foynes Fire Brigade.
 
“The Foynes Air Show would not have been the success it was without their support and the expertise of event management company Approved Productions, the Air Show Director David Fielding, the many aerobatic pilots – local and international including our own Board Director, Gerry Humphreys, and of course the local community,” she concluded.
 
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AirshowsNI 2018 review

2018 was an interesting air-show season to say the least. I saw some absolute brilliant displays but also saw cancellations and delays due to horrible weather.

My journey began in June and a trip to Cosford, however with the Queen’s Birthday Flypast the day before I added an extra day onto my trip in London. I spent the first day at Myrtle Avenue, watching take off’s at Heathrow airport and getting to see the likes of a Boeing 787, Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 up close for the first time.

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The next morning I walked from my Heathrow hotel to Hatton Cross with a short stop again at Myrtle Avenue and spent some time watching departures once again as well as having a lovely view of the iconic Concorde parked up on 27L.

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Getting the tube into the Centre of London I made my way through Green park with thousands of other people and got a spot along the Mall. We were treated to a fantastic flypast consisting of the A400, 2 Typhoons, an A330 Voyager, a C17, The BBMF Lancaster Spitfire & Hurricane as well as the Red Arrows and other RAF Aircraft on a delightfully warm day. But the highlight for me was a formation of FOUR Tornado GR4 aircraft. Sadly flypast’s end so soon after they begin but it was a fantastic 10 minutes or so.

I left Buckingham Palace and began a journey up to Birmingham where I got a top floor bedroom at a hotel overlooking the Birmingham Airport runway. I sat for hours by the window just watching the aircraft come and go. However as I lay on the bed watching TV I heard a familiar noise, I looked out the window to see a C130 Herc come into land and park up almost right under my bedroom window. Later that evening I took a walk to the multi story car-park and watched the massive A380 come into land.

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The next day I took the short trip up to Cosford on a rather packed to the rafters train. Blue skies with not a cloud in the sky and temperatures upwards of 30 degrees greeted me, and guess who had forgotten their sun-cream? Yup, me!! I got a seat in the front row of the Cosford club and the lady beside me was kind enough to let me use some of hers, burning crisis averted!

The morning started with the RAF Dogs displaying a series of exercises in a competition and it was lovely to watch them, they seemed like they were having fun! A winner was declared and soon after the air-show got started!

First up was the RAF Falcons who put on a fantastic opening display with one of the Falcon’s carrying the RAF 100 Rely Baton. When landed the Falcon’s lined up for a handing over ceremony to an RAF commander who took the Baton. Much to my surprise the RAF Commander walked over to me and asked me if I wanted to hold the baton and of course I had to say yes! I got my photo taken with him by the RAF Photographer and it was an incredible experience just to be a small part of the #RAF100 celebrations.

Then the flying got started!!

Cosford provided a wonderful rnge of flying. Starting with aircraft such as the great War Display team and Tiger 9 it showcased the early years of the RAF. Fitting in between early years displays we got a fantastic display from an F16 which came from the Belgium air force.

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Moving on to the WWII era we were treated to a magnificent display from the BBMF showcasing their Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota in formation flying as well as the incredible Bristol Blenheim. A salute to the Polish men and women who took part in WWII featured a Mig 29 flying alongside a Hurricane before the Mig 29 roared into a brilliant solo display.

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Sadly the age of uncertainty didn’t feature quite as much flying as many Cold War era jets are now grounded however this is where the static display shined, a massive collection of jets was on show, Hunters, F4 Phantoms, Lightning’s, Jaguars, Tornados and Harriers were all on the static line walk.

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We did however get flying for this era,   The BAC Jet Provost T5 showcased the trainer aircraft used by the RAF in this era as well as a magnificent helicopter displays from the worlds only flying   Bristol 171 Sycamore, The Gazelle Squadron and a Westland Whirlwind HAR10.

Moving into the new era was quite a treat, opening this was the brilliant RAF Red Arrows who put on a stunning full display in the blue skies of Cosford. We also got a massive flypast section consisting of 4 Hawk T2 trainers, a Belfast built Shorts Tucano, the Grob Tutor and their replacement in the Grob Prefect. Also in the flypast was the new A400M from the RAF which is a fantastic aircraft, but the highlight of the flypast’s was the final ever appearance at Cosford of the RAF Tornado which did one slow flypast and came around for one last swept wing fast flypast. The sound rumbled on long after it disappeared!

The Chinook put on a great display and closing the show was the mighty RAF Typhoon which roared through the skies putting on one of the best displays I have seen in a long time.

International partners included the Royal New Zealand Air Force who showcased their incredible Boeing 757, the Belgian Air Force A109, a Bolkow Bo-105 and the French Rafele which in many peoples opinion stole the show!

Overall the Cosford 2018 Airshow wad one heck of an experience! A well organised and very fitting tribute to the RAF over the last 100 years.

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I took a month long break after that, my next trip was once again to London and the RAF 100 Flypast. 100 Aircraft over the skies of London, and what an incredible experience this was indeed!

Making my way to the same spot as I had for the Queen’s Birthday flypast I arrived a bit earlier and got to see the parade. Once it had finished the gates were open and a selection of the crowd were allowed onto the Mall. I got a spot between Buckingham Palace and the Fountain with a view right down the mall.

While we waited, Prince George kept the crowd entertained with a game of ‘hide and seek’ behind the curtains of the one of the rooms in the Palace.

Just before the flypast started The Queen, along with the rest of the Royal Family, including Meghan Markle making her first public appearance as a member of the Royal Family.

Starting the flypast was 6 Chinoooks and 3 Puma Helicopters, following this was the new Trainer Juno and Jupiter training helicopters that have entered service recently.

Up next was the historic aircraft and what a treat this was, the BBMF Dakota flew first and this was magnificent to see having not seen her since 2013 in Newcastle. Next up was the Lancaster, alongside 3 Spitfires and 2 Hurricanes that drew massive applause from the crowd and seemed to really please the Queen who no doubt would have seen Lancaster’s in mass during the 1940s.

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Next up was the new Prefect aircraft that will replace the Grob Tutor and 3 of them flew past.

Following that was something really special for us Northern Irish folk, 9 Belfast built Shorts Tucano in a Diamond 9 formation. This was very special due to the Tucano being retired from service next year. What a way to send them off, with 9 over the city of London. Hopefully we will get a ‘farewell tour’ from the Tucano in 2019 in NI.

Shadow RI aircraft were up next, only the 2nd time they had flown over Buckingham. Following them was the unmistakeable noise of the C130 Herc aircraft with 2 of them droning over the City, close behind them was the A400 Atlas, which has fast become one of my favourite heavy aircraft.

The C17 Globemaster was next alongside the BAE146 which is used to transport the Royal Family, the Sentinel from 5 Squadron followed.
Up next was the Airbus A330 Voyager, the biggest aircraft on show which is used for air to air refuel as well as troop transport.

An RC135 was next, I quite like this aircraft having seen it at RIAT last summer. Always nice to see it, right behind it was the AWAC E3D Sentry. My first time seeing the aircraft.

Then came the jets! Starting the procession was 9 Hawk T1 in Arrow formation, these were not the Red Arrows however, these were training aircraft out of RAF Valley. Following them in Diamond 9 formation was 9 Hawk T2 Aircraft which is the more advanced version of the T1.

Up next was something amazing, NINE Tornado GR4 in formation over the centre of London. This will no doubt be my final time ever seeing the RAF Tornado as they will be out of service in early 2019, so to see 9 of them together was an incredible sight that will live with me forever. I don’t know what else to say about this… this was just fantastic.

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Following them was another aircraft I was seeing for the first time, the brand new F35 Lightning aircraft. 3 of them side by side flew. There is a lovely howl to these aircraft. This was also the very first public appearance of the F35 aircraft. At this time the RAF only had 4 F35 aircraft and 3 were tasked to London for the flypast. I really look forward to seeing what this aircraft can do in the future!

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The next was the centrepiece of RAF 100…. An almighty roar as 22 (Yes, you read that right, TWENTY TWO!) of the RAFs front line Aircraft, the mighty Euro-fighter Typhoon with the aircraft forming up to form a 100 in the skies to celebrate the 100 years of the RAF. This was the biggest gathering of Typhoons ever, and what an amazing experience this was.

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Closing the flypast was the world famous RAF Red Arrows coming down the mall with their Red White and Blue smoke to massive cheers. That was a remarkable experience. I decided to take in the RAF 100 Flypast instead of RIAT and I do not regret it one bit.

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I made my way to the newly re-opened and re-designed RAF Hendon museum, where the BBMF Lancaster, Spitfires, Hurricanes and Dakota had just flown over on their way home. I do have to say, I prefer the old layout to Hendon however it was fantastic to once again walk around a Vulcan Bomber as well as a Lancaster.

Another highlight was the Tornado and F4 Phantom side by side.

August saw the Newcastle Festival of Flight with a revamped line up, a new STEM Village and an RAF 100 Static aircraft tour. On Wednesday the first two aircraft arrived in the Typhoon and Red Arrows Hawk T1..The following day an amazing sight appeared…. A Harrier in Donard Park.

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On the Friday the site opened and the STEM tent was a great experience. A highlight for me was the VR display. Starting off in a WWI Aircraft it moved to a Spitfire flying over the White cliffs of Dover before moving onto a Harrier landing on an aircraft carrier, finally a Typhoon roaring through a mountain range. Members of the RAF were on hand to talk to everyone and explain the various displays.

Outside the full RAF 100 National Aircraft Tour was open. A Sopwith Snipe a in a large tent flanked by historical re-enactors. the UAS Spitfire parked across from the magnificent Harrier under the Mourne Mountains and the Hawk and Typhoon proved to be very popular with the crowds.

Sadly Saturday did not go too well. Bright blue skies right up until moments before the first air display was due, suddenly horrible conditions set in. Heavy rain and poor visibility forced the Typhoon to abort his display after doing a quick roar past to check conditions. Rich Goodwin came to say hi but again conditions were too bad for a display.

Word started to filter through other displays had cancelled before the news the Red Arrows had also cancelled. While the council were hopeful for some flying, they were soon forced to announce a complete cancellation of the air displays, and that was the 2018 Festival of Flight. What would have been a great day of flying turned into a wet, miserable day. I’ve been going to air-shows for 37 years, this was not the first time weather has forced a show to be cancelled, and it won’t be the last. It happens. But rest assured the council are already working hard on the 2019 Festival of Flight.

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My airshow season came to a close with Airwaves Portrush, I only did the Saturday but again weather caused serious issues. Before even arriving it was announced the Sea Fury would not be displaying, the Huey and loach posted on social media they were stuck in England with weather. The MIG 15 soon followed as did the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Sadly it got worse, the Irish Coast Guard, advertised for the Saturday also did not appear nor did the RAF Tutor display. What we were left with was a lot of standing around between displays, sometimes gaps of up to an hour.

What flying we saw though was excellent. The Aerobatic Glider kicked off the display followed by a beach landing. Wildcat Aerobatics arrived with a very high energy display in their 2 Pitts Special Aircraft showing why they have became a favourite UK wide.

 

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Up next was by far the star of the show in many peoples eyes. The Swiss Classic Formation displaying their 3 Beech 18 aircraft alongside their DC3 Dakota. The low passes of the graceful Dakota along the beach made the 7 hour round trip worth it. Such a brilliant display. Following after that was an Autogyro display. I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. It can do quite a lot with such a low powered aircraft.

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The Global Stars made their debut next and put on a brilliant display of team Aerobatics as well as a fantastic solo display from Mark Jefferies. It’s always great to see them as they put on quite a show with their ‘dotted’ smoke system.

Following on from Global Stars was the Fantastic Catalina flying boat which did a very graceful low display. Only my 2nd time seeing the Catalina display and it didn’t disappoint.

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Closing the days action was the RAF Typhoon who roared around the East Strand injecting some much needed noise to the air-show. While the Dakota was my personal favourite, there was no doubt this was the most anticipated display that day with many looking forward to seeing it, and the Typhoon did not disappoint!

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Overall it was a mixed year for me at air-shows. Cosford and London provided fantastic displays however weather played a massive part in disrupting displays in Northern Ireland.

I look forward to 2019 with great anticipation. I already have plans to go to RIAT, Duxford’s May airshow & Portrush. Newcastle being my home-town show is a a guarantee, and I hope to go down to Bray also. Lets hope the weather behaves better here next year!

Newcastle Festival of Flight 2019 date revealed!

 

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The Newcastle Festival of Flight is once again cleared for take off, this time with an earlier proposed date… Saturday 22nd June.

It is unknown as to why the date has changed however it is widely thought that this is due to the RAF Red Arrows going on a 9 week tour of the US and Canada in August & September 2019 which would have seen them be unable to display in Newcastle in the regular August date.

The Airshow is also looking for a new Flight Director for 2019 with the possibility of extending the contract for the 2020 and 2021 Newcastle Festival of Flight airshows. A tender had been put out recently naming 22nd June as the date of the airshow. However, it is too early to confirm any aircraft at this point in time.

According to NMD Council minutes from meetings, despite the cancellation of the 2018 airshow due to horrendous weather conditions, the STEM Village was a huge success and it is possible they may expand on this for 2019!

So, Chock’s away! The Newcastle Festival of Flight returns on June 22nd 2019!

Portrush Aircraft Profile day 5 – RAF Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon and RAF BBMF

Airwaves Portrush is tomorrow and Sunday, so htat means our final aircraft profiles for Portrush! Today we cover the World famous RAF Red Arrows, the mighty RAF Typhoon and the Iconic BBMF.

First up is the RAF Red Arrows who are displaying on Sunday only this year.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams. Representing the speed, agility and precision of the RAF, the team is the public face of the service. Look out for some new moves dedicated to the 100 years of the RAF in this years display!

They assist in recruiting to the Armed Forces, act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom and promote the best of British. Flying distinctive Hawk jets, the team is made up of pilots, engineers and essential support staff with front-line, operational experience.

Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team.

This aircraft was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters. In their first season, they flew at 65 shows across Europe. In 1966, the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their Diamond Nine formation.

In late 1979, they switched to the BAE Hawk trainer. The Red Arrows have performed over 4,600 displays in 56 countries worldwide

The engineering team that supports the Red Arrows is known as “The Blues” and consists of 85 members who cover all of the various trades in the RAF.

Each season nine members of the Blues are selected to be members of the ‘Circus’. Each member of the Circus works with the same pilot for the duration of the season and is responsible for servicing their aircraft and preparing their flying kit prior to each display. The Circus also fly in the back seat of the jets during transit flights.

THE AIRCRAFT

The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.

The Hawks used by the Red Arrows are modified with an uprated engine and a modification to enable smoke to be generated, diesel is mixed with a coloured dye and ejected into the jet exhaust to produce either red, white or blue smoke.

The Hawk T1 version is currently used at RAF Valley for fast-jet pilot advanced training, however this role will increasingly migrate to IV(R) Sqn and the Hawk T2 in the future. The Hawk T1 is also operated by the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, and 100 Sqn. While the Hawk T1 is used primarily in the advanced flying-training role, it is equipped to an operational standard and is capable of undertaking a war role.

However the Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton and not RAF Valley like the rest of the Hawk aircraft.

Mike Ling, who many of you remember as Red 10 over the last few years returns to the team as Red 3, it’s great to have him back again in the skies all be it in unfortinute circumstances after a tragic crash earlier this year left Red 3, Flight Lieutenant David Stark unable to display as well as the tragic loss of engineer Jonathan Bayliss’s life.

I look forward to seeing the Red Arrows in Newcastle once again. Having already seen them a number of times I can tell you the RAF centenary year display from the Red Arrows is fantastic.

 

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Next up is the RAFs front line aircraft, The Eurofighter Typhoon.

When you see the Typhoon performing on this year’s display circuit it will be the culmination of months of hard work, detailed preparation and concerted effort by the team behind the display. Whilst it is the pilot who displays the aircraft, he cannot even begin to do his job without the unfaltering commitment and backing of the dedicated group of professionals that make up the Typhoon Display Team.

This year’s team, from 29(R) Squadron, comprises a specialist from every aircraft trade along with support and management teams to assist both the pilot and the trades, all of whom work closely together to bring you the dazzling spectacle that is the Typhoon Display.

Every member of the team has been hand picked from what is already an elite cadre of skilled personnel at RAF Coningsby. They have proven themselves in their day jobs and are now privileged and proud to represent the very best in excellence and dedication that the Royal Air Force can offer.

The teams look forward to the unique challenges that a display season brings and the opportunity to showcase the Royal Air Force Typhoon 2018 display to the general public.

THE AIRCRAFT

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft providing simultaneously deployable Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface capabilities.

It is in service with 6 customers across 20 operational units and has been ordered by a seventh. The aircraft has demonstrated, and continues to demonstrate, high reliability across the globe in all climates. It has been combat proven during operations in Libya.

Development of the aircraft effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaborative effort between the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Because of disagreements over design authority and operational requirements, France left the consortium to develop the Dassault Rafale independently instead.

A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP, first took flight on 6 August 1986; the first prototype of the finalised Eurofighter made its first flight on 27 March 1994. The name of the aircraft, Typhoon, was formally adopted in September 1998; the first production contracts were signed that same year.

THE PILOT

Every year the Typhoon display gets a new pilot, and this year it is Flight Lieutenant Jim Peterson.

Following flying training, Jim was role-disposed to the Tornado GR4 in 2003. Jim crossed over to the Typhoon in 2006 and took up a position as a ground school and simulator instructor pilot in the Typhoon Training Facility at RAF Coningsby. Jim was posted to XI(F) Sqn in 2009 where he conducted Quick Reaction Alert duties in the UK and Falkland Islands and also flew on operations over Libya.

In 2015, Jim joined 29 Squadron where he is an ‘A2’ Qualified Flying Instructor. Outside of display flying he plays an active role on 29 Squadron teaching student pilots electronic warfare and how to operate Typhoon. In addition to his instructional duties, Jim also contributes to RAF Coningsby’s primary task of defending UK sovereign airspace on Quick Reaction Alert.

Ahead of this year’s display season, which will see Typhoon take to the skies at airshows across the UK and abroad, Jim considers it to be a ‘great honour’ to be able to display the aircraft in what is a milestone year – the Royal Air Force’s Centenary celebrations

Jim designed the display himself to show off the Typhoon’s immense power and acceleration and ensure that the display team’s catchphrase of #BringTheNoise is as appropriate as ever.

I know you will all love the 2018 display, having seen it already this summer I can tall you the Typhoon will #BringTheNoise to Portrush!

 

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Our final aircraft profile is my favourite display, and that is the aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) This year will see the Iconic trio of the Avro Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane with their amazing sounding Merlin engines. I’ve seen the Lancaster multiple times this summer already and I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing her!

BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL FLIGHT

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAFBBMF) is administratively part of the Royal Air Force No 1 Group and operates from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

The aircraft are regularly seen at events commemorating World War II, upon British State occasions, notably the Trooping the Colour celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and at air displays throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. We are proud to have HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as our Patron.

RAF BBMF commemorate the past of the RAF’s Air Combat Power – Lest We Forget.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre is located at RAF Coningsby in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. A partnership between the Royal Air Force and Lincolnshire County Council, the centre allows visitors an up-close guided tour of the aircraft when not in use, as well as exhibits about the aircraft and other temporary exhibits.

The Aircraft.

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE

The Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British combat aircraft before or since the War, 20,341 Spitfires were built in 22 different variants (excluding the navalised Seafire) and the aircraft remained in production for 12 years. The Spitfire played a major part in achieving ultimate victory in World War Two and truly deserves its place as probably the most successful fighter design ever, and certainly as the most famous and charismatic of all time. The BBMF currently have 6 Spitfire aircraft

HAWKER HURRICANE

The Hawker Hurricane is one of the classic fighters of all time, designed and built for war. It was at the forefront of Britain’s defence in 1940 and it played a major part in achieving the victory of 1945. The Hurricane was the first British monoplane eight-gun fighter, the first RAF aircraft to exceed 300 mph in level flight and the first production fighter with a retractable main undercarriage. The BBMF currently have 2 Hurricane aircraft.

AVRO LANCASTER

The Lancaster Bomber took her first flight on 9th January 1941 and entered service in February 1942

The Lancaster bomber – PA474, acquired by the BBMF in 1973, is one of only two surviving airworthy examples of the type; the other is in Canada. She was built in mid-1945 and assigned to reconnaissance duties after appearing too late to take part in the bombing of Japan. After various duties, she was adopted by the Air Historical Branch for display work. She appeared in two films: Operation Crossbow and The Guns of Navarone.

Having been flown for much of her service with the BBMF as the “City of Lincoln”, PA474 previously wore the markings of the “Phantom of the Ruhr” and “Thumper”

At the start of 2017 the Lancaster got a new duel paint scheme, on the left 460 (RAAF) Squadron Lancaster W5005, coded AR-L “Leader”, which had nose art of a kangaroo playing bagpipes, indicating the Australian and Scottish backgrounds of one of its crews.

The right side will carry the 50 Squadron code letters VN-T, representing the Lancaster flown by FO Douglas Millikin DFC – grandfather of the BBMF’s current Officer Commanding, Squadron Leader Andy “Milli” Millikin, on 27 of his first tour of 30 operations.

Info from Wikipedia & BBMF website. Photo by myself at RIAT 2017.

 

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I really hope you enjoyed our Portrush aircraft profiles over this past week and I hope you all have a great time this weekend if you are heading up to the North coast. It will be a long trek for me, but one that will be worth it with a fantastic line up!