Welcome to Day 4 of our Portrush Aircraft profile which covers the debut of Swiss Classic Flight, an RAF Parachute display team and a fantastic Royal Navy historical aircraft!
First up is the RAF Falcons, the RAF Paracchute display team who will display on the Sunday only.
The RAF Falcons were last in Northern Ireland right here in Newcastle in 2014 and jumped from a Cessna Sky Caravan.
The Falcons are the official parachute team of the RAF and are based at based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
The RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team is the only centrally funded, professional, military parachute display team in the UK. Their exciting free fall display, which includes advanced manoeuvres, falling at speeds up to 120mph, and their famous unique non-contact canopy stack manages to captivate all spectators.
While in their display the Falcons will use smoke to light up the skies!
Next up is something new, an exciting debut for the crowds as the Swiss Classic Formation will be bringing their DC3 Dakota and 3 Beech 18 aircraft.
The Dakota that will be in Portrush was built in 1943. The DC3 Dakota revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting effect on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever produced withseveral examples still flying today.
Civil DC-3 production ended in 1942 at 607 aircraft. Military versions, including the C-47 Skytrain (designated the Dakota in British Royal Air Force (RAF) service), and Russian- and Japanese-built versions, brought total production to over 16,000. Following the war, the airliner market was flooded with surplus C-47s and other ex-military transport aircraft, and Douglas’ attempts to produce an upgraded DC-3 failed due to cost.
Post-war, the DC-3 was made obsolete on main routes by more advanced types such as the Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation, but the design proved exceptionally adaptable and useful. Large numbers continue to see service in a wide variety of niche roles well into the 21st century. In 2013 it was estimated that approximately 2,000 DC-3s and military derivatives were still flying, a testament to the durability of the design.
The Beech 18
Flying alongside the Dakota will be 3 Beech 18 aircraft which was first produced in 1937.
During and after World War II, over 4,500 Beech 18s saw military service—as light transport, light bomber (for China), aircrew trainer (for bombing, navigation and gunnery), photo-reconnaissance, and “mother ship” for target drones—including United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, AT-11 Kansan; and United States Navy (USN) UC-45J Navigator, SNB-1 Kansan, and others. In World War II, over 90% of USAAF bombardiers and navigators trained in these aircraft
In the early postwar era, the Beech 18 was the pre-eminent “business aircraft” and “feeder airliner.” Besides carrying passengers, its civilian uses have included aerial spraying, sterile insect release, fish seeding, dry-ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, air mail delivery, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, weapon- and drug-smuggling, engine testbed, skywriting, banner towing, and stunt aircraft. Many are now privately owned, around the world, with 240 in the U.S. still on the FAA Aircraft Registry in August 2017.
Between 1937 and end of production in 1970 over 9000 had been produced.
Finally the Royl Navy – Navy Wings will be bringing their newly restored Sea Fury T20 which under went a 3 year resotration to flight after an engine failure on landing at RNAS Culdrose.
The Sea Fury T.20 is a twin-seat trainer variant of the Sea Fury and, unlike the other aircraft of the Royal Navy Historic Flight, which are all registered on the military register, Sea Fury T.20 G-RNHF (VX281) is owned by the Navy Wings charity (Fly Navy Heritage Trust) and is operated on the civilian register.
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.
Check back tomorrow when we cover the final 3 Aircraft coming to Airwaves Portrush! Sea Fury picture from Navy wings website)