Well..... if you no longer have faith in your weather App, I can understand that, especially when it promises nice and sunny weather above Yeovilton Naval Base...... but in fact you have grey skies and pale light! That is the reason why they give us photographers the nickname "the complainers”. So under these, not ideal conditions, we start the International Air Day 2019 with the Whirlwind HAR10, operated by Historic Helicopters. This organization, founded by Andrew Whitehouse, is home to a pioneering and unique aircraft collection and aims to preserve and restore to airworthy condition of a small fleet of vintage Military Helicopters. The Whirlwind HAR10 (XJ729) is painted in the traditional yellow colour scheme of the RAF Search and Rescue which is on static display and he Whirlwind HAR10 (XT761) is painted in the traditional black and red colour scheme and fly his demo today. The Whirlwind HAR10 was flanked by two Wasp HAS1 Anti-Submarine Helicopter.
A strange trio at Yeovilton, The Breguet Alize, MS.760 Paris and the CM.175 Zéphyr. The Breguet Alize was developed for the French Navy as a turboprop powered , carrier-launched antisubmarine warfare aircraft and introduced in 1959. The four-seat MS760 Paris is a light communications aircraft developed by Morane-Saulnier and used as trainer for the French Air Force. Last in this trio is the CM.175Zéphyr a carried-launched adaptation of the Four Magister, featuring a stronger airframe and undercarriage, an arrestor hook. The CM.175 Zéphyr is operated by the Association Zéphyr 28.
A loud surprise the trailblazing Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II is the first STOVL ( Short Take Off and vertical Landing), supersonic flight-capable stealth fighter. The F-35B makes his debut at the Air Day today. The F-35B’s are based at 617 Squadron at RAF Marham, where they are flown by both RAF and FAA pilots. FAA aircrew will soon be routinely launching F-35Bs from the Royal Navy’s two new Elizabeth-class carriers. Deck trails began last September: a fully-operational, globally-deployable carrier wing comprising 24 F-35Bs should be active by late 2020.
In the same family as the Jet Provost, British Aircraft Corporation(BAC) 167 Strikemaster pair, the Strikemaster first flew from the company’s Warton airfield in 1967. It was essentially a weaponised version of the Hunting Percival Jet Provost T5 trainer then in use by the RAF, with an uprated Rolls-Royce Viper 535 engine, dual ejector seats, a strengthened airframe and wing hard-point capable carrying 4,500 lb bombs. The Strikemasters exported to operators in the Middle East and elsewhere. The strike master did see many combats as in Ecuador, Omen and Yemen, but most were in fact used as a training aircraft.
The unmistakable sound of the AT-6 Harvard IIA from the Anglian War Birds in US Navy-markings was next at the Air Day, the T-6 was manufactured between 1938 and the mid-1950s that equipped over 50 nations air arms. After the Havard time for a big bird, in the form of The Royal Canadian Air Force with their version of the C-130J-30 Tactical Transport Aircraft, equipped with Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprops engine’s, producing 4637 shaft hp each.
There is no aircraft in history that matches the relevance and versatility of the C-130 Hercules. In continuous production longer than any other military aircraft, the C-130 has earned a reputation as a workhorse ready for any mission — anytime, anywhere. The C-130J Super Hercules offers superior performance and capabilities for every theater of operations today, with the ability to grow to meet future requirements. The C-130J Super Hercules has proven its reliable, efficient and can operate in the harsh environments of combat. This rugged aircraft is often the first aircraft in, touching down on austere landing strips before any other transport to provide humanitarian relief after natural disasters. The C-130J also counts capabilities as diverse as Special Operations, aerial refueling, firefighting, close air support, search and rescue and personnel recovery. The C-130J-30 has a crew of one pilot, one co-pilot and one loadmaster.
Another famous RAF display team, the Attack Helicopter Display Team with the Agusta Westland Apache AH MKI from RAF Middle Wallop. The Boeing AH-64D Apache Longgbow attack helicopter is able to operate in all weather conditions, day and night. Equipped with an advanced system that can detect, classify and priorities up to 256 potential targets in seconds. A potent mix of weapons can be carried, including rockets and hellfire missiles. The Smart Onboard Data Interface Module (SMODIM) transmits Apache data to an AWSS ground station for gunnery
evaluation. The AH-64's standard of performance for aerial gunnery is to achieve at least 1 hit for every 30 shots fired at a wheeled vehicle at a range of 800–1,200 m. The AH-64 is powered by two 850 Rolls-Royce Turbomeca turboshafts engines with high-mounted exhausts on either side of the fuselage.
A very pleasant appearance at the Air Day is for The Spanish EAV-8B Harrier II Plus, the demonstration brings the Harrier’s show-stopping repertoire of hovering, rotational and re-directional manoeuvres. This the 21st century Harrier featuring composite materials, an upgraded engine and the state-of-the-art AN/APG-65multimode radar in its nose. The Harrier demonstrated for us is based at 9 Squadron in Rota in southern of Spain.
The interlude between the Harrier and the next RAF Tucano demo was reserved for the Jetman from Gravity Industries, more info about the Jetman on https://gravity.co. 2019 is the final year for the Shorts Tucano T1 after 30 years of being used for fast-jet flying training. The Tucano combines the economy of turboprop power with jet-like handling, making it an ideal platform to teach formation flying, low-level navigation, poor weather flying and aerobatic handling. For the final season, Display Pilot Flt Lt Liam Matthews, born in 1992 in Warwickshire, is the qualified Flying Instructor on 72 Squadron.
Best Fixed-Wing Flying Display award-winner at the Air Day 2018 was for Captain Stefan ‘Vador’ Darte of the Belgian Air Force is back to give another spectacular demonstration in his eye-catching F-16AM,named the ‘Dark Falcon’.
A ‘ballet in the air’ is how you would best describe the next demo of The Beaver, Scout AH1 and the Sioux. The Beaver’s first flight was in August 1947 and with its ruggedness, versatility, STOL characteristics and slow-flying capability, they were supplied to a host of air arms, border guards, security organizations and air taxi operators. 42 Beaver AL1’s went to the Army Air Corps, who used them for communications and surveillance. The Scout AH-1, flown first in 1960, had the task of observation, liaison and training. Last in this demo was the Agusta Bell Sioux. This is a light observation helicopter which the Army Air Corps and was used from 1964 to 1978.
Strongly involved in the Air Day’s is the Wildcat HMA2, the cutting-edge multi-mission maritime helicopter will have its agility demonstrated by the Royal Navy Black Cats, its operational capabilities showcased in a multi- platform Role Demo and be available for close-up inspection on the ground. The Wildcat HMA2 replaced the Lynx HMA8 in 2017. A much more advanced helicopter, it features state-of-the-art targeting systems, digital multifunction cockpit displays and the SELEX Galileo SeaSpray 7000E AESA surveillance radar. Its roles include anti- surface warfare, anti-ship warfare, ship protection and casualty evacuation.
The Jet Pitts Special from Richard Goodwin give an extraordinary display at the Air Day. The highly modified Pitts Special is capable of some extraordinary manoeuvres such as his trademark ‘ Tower of Power’. This time however, Richard hopes to public debut his next-level aerobatic aircraft; the Jet Pitts, featuring new ultra-high-performance blade wing and lighter Lycoming engine and incorporating F1 racing technology that delivers 20% more power. Its two AMT jet turbines are yet to be fitted but this already remarkable aircraft is set to stun visitors at the airshow.
A fast and powerful demonstration of the ultimate piston-engined fighter the Sea Fury T20. The Sea Fury T20 was a fighter trainer and is still used today by the Royal Navy Historic Flight to give Sea Fury display pilots much valued access to a trainer version of this most demanding of aircraft types.
A masterpiece of power and performance, the T20 generates great interest and excitement at air shows around the country augmenting the Flight when Sea Fury FB.11 is unavailable and enhancing the Royal Navy’s core collection of classic historic naval aircraft. Sea Fury T20 G-RNHF (VX281) was the second of 60 Sea Fury T20 aircraft built as weapon trainers for the Fleet Air Arm. Delivered to the Royal Navy in 1950 she served with 736 and 738 Naval Air Squadrons at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose before being sold to the West German Government in 1963. Painted in the markings of an F10 single-seat aircraft of 799 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton in 1949, VX281 was acquired from the United States in 2007 and rebuilt at North Weald. The aircraft is loaned to the Royal Navy Historic Flight by the Fly Navy Heritage Trust and is displayed by the Historic Flight under an agreement between the Trust and the Royal Navy.
Another star in the RAF demo rol was for the multi-rol Typhoon FGR4 from 29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, the Typhoon FGR4 is a highly capable and extremely maneuverable fighter. The Typhoon FGR4 feature a canard foreplane to give extra agility, lift and STOL performance. Much of the airframe is made of carbon fibre composite and light alloys. The twin Eurojet EJ200 Turbofans engine’s give the Typhoon a top speed of Mach 1.8 with a service ceiling to 55,000 feet. All this power was in the professional hands of Flt Lt Jim Peterson.
The T-6A Texan II will replace the Tucano in its future duties, but now Demo Team ’Deadalus’ performs the T-6A Texan II at the Air Day, based on the Swiss Pilatus PC-9 turboprop trainer, it features stronger wings for enhanced agility and strength an oxygen system and numerous further revisions. The Texan T-6A II from the Hellenic Air Force, NO 120 Air Training Wing based at Kalamata Air Force Base in southern Greece.
The Maritime Demo, two Wildcats and one Merlin HM2 give a perfect demonstration of their daily work in British waters, such as UK Maritime Force Protection an airborne Anti Submarine Warfare. It also undertakes troop- and equipment transportation.
For British glory the Red Arrows, one of the world’s premier aerobatic display team. Representing the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force, the team is the public face of the service. They assist in recruiting to the Armed Forces, act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom at home and overseas and promote the best of Britain. The team is made up of pilots , engineers and essential support staff with frontline operational experience. Together, they demonstrate the excellence and capabilities of the Royal Air Force and the service’s skilled, talented people. Diamond Nine Shape the trade mark of the Red Arrows and the combination of close formations and precision flying, the Red Arrows have been displaying since 1965. The team is based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
The Blades are a full-time civilian aerobatic display team consisting of ex-Red Arrows pilots and a national aerobatic champion. During their dynamic four-ship display the goal is to showcase the amazing capabilities of the Extra 300. The Blades operate the Extra 300 LP version, which is certified to plus or minus 10g, while for its solo performance Blade 4 flies the Extra 330SC with a more powerful engine. As holders of an Air Operator’s Certificate, The Blades are in effect a fully fledged airline with allows them to fly formation aerobatics while carrying fare-paying passengers. Something for you check out on the Blades website https://theblades.com
The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) operates from RAF Coningsby; a Typhoon and fighter base in Lincolnshire. The BBMF operates six Spitfires, two Hurricane Mk 2Cs, a Lancaster as well as a C47 Dakota and two Chipmunk aircraft (primarily used for training). Today at the Air Day, the BBMF De Lancaster,ù Spitfire and Hurricane are flying. The Avro Lancaster, the most successful British heavy bomber of World War II, powered by two 24-cylinder Rolls-Royce Vulture engines and armed with a mixed load of high- explosive bombs and armed with a powered tail turret mounting four 0.303-inch (7.7-mm) machine guns, a powered twin-0.303 turret on the upper rear fuselage, and a pair of 0.303s in the nose; a few had twin-0.303 belly turrets. Operated by a basic crew of seven, including the pilot, copilot, bombardier, navigator, radioman, and gunners. Many of these young crew lost their lives over enemy lines during dangerous nightly bombings. The Lancaster PA474, from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, is one of only two Lancaster aircraft remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 that were built (the other is in Canada with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton, Ontario).
The end of The Air Day was for the Command Assault Demo, a perfectly directed collaboration of what the Royal Navy has to offer.