RAF100: ‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ July 10 flypast to celebrate Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:49 13 July 2018
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One hundred days after the Royal Air Force’s official 100th birthday, the service is to stage a spectacular one off event.
The celebration on July 10 includes a flypast of up to 100 historic and present-day aircraft along with a parade of 1,300 RAF personnel through central London.
The parade is set to start at 11.25am and will march up The Mall, followed by the flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1pm, though organisers say this will depend on the weather, the condition of aircraft and any operational commitments.
Air chief marshal, chief of the air staff, Sir Stephen Hillier, said: “This once-in-a-lifetime flypast will provide an iconic centrepiece for the RAF 100 celebrations.
“In our centenary year we are commemorating those that have come before us, celebrating our current personnel and, ultimately, inspiring a new generation to write the next chapters in the RAF’s story.
“While the aircraft in the skies on July 10 will offer a striking visual representation of the United Kingdom’s air power throughout the RAF’s existence, it is also important to remember that there is a large, multi-skilled team behind every aircraft participating.
“The complex preparations required to deliver this display are made possible by the RAF’s cutting-edge technology and ongoing spirit of relentless innovation,” he added.
Organisers have confirmed Spitfires, which flew in the Second World War, will fly over central London wowing the crowds below.
The mass display is set to feature a range of different types of aircraft marking different periods in the RAF’s 100-year history.
Some of the aircraft taking part include the Chinook helicopter, Second World War workhorse the Hurricane, a Hercules transporter, Hawks T1 and T2, and Tornado fast jet.
The Red Arrows are also set to participate. While one of only two airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world is set to take to the skies above London.
And the organisers have announced that the flypast might also provide a first glimpse of the RAF’s next generation aircraft, the Lightning, though at the time of going to press this had yet to be confirmed.
Spectators will have the chance to take a front-row seat and experience the celebrations from viewing points along the length of The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace.
Ahead of the flypast there will be a parade of 1,000 RAF personnel and another 300 lining the route, representing the diverse roles played within the RAF over the generations. The parade starts at 11.25am marching up Horse Guards Road and The Mall towards the Palace.
There will be live coverage on the BBC and on BBC iPlayer. BBC Radio 2 will also cover the historic event.
The RAF100 flypast will form over Suffolk to the west of Ipswich. The formation will pass to the north of Colchester, heading towards Marks Tey, Kelvedon and Witham before passing to the north and east of Chelmsford, Essex.
It will continue in a south-westerly direction, crossing the M25 to fly over Stapleford Abbotts and Hainault Forest and on to central London. The route to the Palace will see the formation pass over Redbridge, Wanstead, Leyton, the Olympic Park, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and the City of London before the lead elements fly up The Mall and over the Palace at 1pm. The organisers have confirmed that the final aircraft in the flypast is expected to soar over Buckingham Palace at about 1.09pm.
On passing over central London the flypast then heads northwards towards Hendon.
But before the main celebrations fans of the RAF can visit Horse Guards Parade to see a display of nine aircraft from the last 100 years of RAF aviation.
It will be open from Friday until 9 July from 11am to 6pm.
The free tour offers visitors an opportunity to view historic and modern aircraft up close. Some of the aircraft on show are due to take part in the July 10 flypast.
There will also be interactive exhibits to show young people how science, technology, engineering and mathematics are crucial to the RAF and the service it delivers.The RAF’s celebration looks set to amaze spectators as its service personnel put on an historic display of military might, technical prowess and airborne wonder.
Visit raf.mod.uk/raf100/news/10-july-centenary-celebrations/ for more details.