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!

 

 

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