Portrush Aircraft profile day 4 – RAF Falcons, Swiss Classic Formation & Sea Fury T20

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!

 

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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

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.

 

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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.

 

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Check back tomorrow when we cover the final 3 Aircraft coming to Airwaves Portrush! Sea Fury picture from Navy wings website)

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My statement on the cancellation of the 2018 Newcastle Festival of Flight .

 

Hi everyone

Firstly I want to thank Newry, Mourne and Down District CouncilDown Festivals & Royal Air Force for all the hard work that has gone into putting the show together over the last 12 months. While it is disappointing rain caused the cancellation of today’s events, these men and ladies have worked fantastically to put together what should have been a great weekend. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes and it is no easy job putting together an airshow, I am sure they are very disappointed that they were unable to see their hard work come to fruition today in terms of the flying display..

Now, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room, today was a washout for the flying. It’s sad, but these things happen at airshows… this would have been the 9th Festival of Flight and never before had one display cancelled due to weather let alone an entire show cancelled. For a UK airshow, that’s pretty good going.

The RAF put on a fantastic #RAF100 Aircraft tour and #STEM village, I’ve been down multiple times and had a fantastic time, it was a remarkable experience to see a Harrier parked up in Newcastle’s Donard Park! The RAF were so friendly over the last few days, and will be there again tomorrow to welcome you all!

Down Festivals of Newry, Mourne and Down Council, along with Flight Director Mr Rick Peacock-Edwards put together what would have been a wonderful flying display, quite possibly the strongest line up since 2014 in my opinion and no aircraft I know of had tech issues, so it would have been a wonderful display had the weather held.

In 37 years of going to airshows, this wasn’t my first washout, and I am sure it will not be the last. UK and Irish weather is unpredictable as you know.

Also a big thank you to every pilot who was due to display today. I am sure every one of them will be disappointed they did not get to do their brilliant displays.

A personal thanks to Red 10 Squadron Leader Adam Collins who I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to today as well as posing for photos.

Finally I want to say thank you to all of you, the followers of this page. The comments in the aftermath of today showed disappointment, which is understandable while still being respectful. And the vast majority understood the reason why today didn’t go as planned. Safety will always come first and visibility was near 0 today.

As always I have had a lot of fun running this page, I want to thank Down Festivals for letting me continue to run it, as you know I don’t work for or represent them or the council, I am just a guy who loves watching aircraft flying! However they have always been great with me and over the last few years I have built a good relationship with them.

Hopefully next year Newcastle can bounce back strong and have great weather, we’ve been lucky over the years with the sun, so here’s to 2019, as planning will no doubt already be starting!

Thank you.

Newcastle Aircraft profile day 11 – BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane

Our final Newcastle aircraft profile is my favourite display, and that is the aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) who have in recent years brought all their various aircraft typesd to Newcastle since they first attended in 2013.

This year will see the Iconic trio of the Avro Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane with their amazing sounding Merlin engines.
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.

I hope you enjoyed our aircraft profiles over the last 2 weeks. Tomorrow promises to be a fantastic day!

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Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 10 – RAFAT Red Arrows

 

Our penultimate Newcastle Aircraft Profile is the world Famous RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows in their 9 Red T1 Hawk aircraft.

The Red Arrows are returning to Newcastle having been a regular at the Festival of Flight, only missing 2012 (overseas tour) and 2015 (Aircraft tech issues)

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

Come back tomorrow for our final Newcastle aircraft profile, the Iconic BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane.

 

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Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 9 – Eurofighter Typhoon

 

Day 9 of our aircraft profile for the Festival of Flight in Newcastle is the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon. Making a return to Newcastle for the first time since the 2016 Newcastle Festival of Flight it will roar over the skies of Newcastle to the delight of many.

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 Newcastle this Saturday!

Check back tomorrow for another Aircraft profile from the RAF Displays. Info from RAF Website. Photo taken by myself at Cosford 2018.

 

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Newcastle aircraft profile day 8 – AeroSuperBatic Wingwalkers

Newcastle aircraft profile day 8 – AeroSuperBatic Wingwalkers

Day 8 of our Newcastle Aircraft profile is the fantastic AeroSuperBatic Wingwalkers.

The AeroSuperBatic Wingwalkers are a UK based wing-walking team and have been specialists in display flying for over 30 years and operate one of the best known and loved civilian air display acts in Europe, they will be making their debut at the Newcastle Festival of Flight in 2018!

Their wingwalking team has performed at over 2500 different events successfully representing several large brand names in the form of very high profile sponsorship deals. Their displays are seen live by over 6 million spectators each year in the UK alone.
They perform a breathtaking sequence of acrobatic manoeuvres and handstands whilst strapped to the top wings of the team’s beautiful Boeing Stearman biplanes.

The Aircraft

As for the aircraft, The Boeing Stearman is a biplane used as a military trainer aircraft, of which at least 10,626 were built in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.

After World War II, the thousands of primary trainer PT-17 Stearman planes were auctioned off to civilians and former pilots. Many were modified for cropdusting use, with a hopper for pesticide or fertilizer fitted in place of the front cockpit.

There are many examples flying still today, and mainly used for aerobatics at airshows. And we are sure they will thrill the crowds at Bray this coming weekend!!

The Wingwalking ladies

The AeroSuperBatic display have 4 ladies who walk on the wings of these vintage aicraft. Gina, known as G-Force, Katie known as Scohckwave. Kristen who is in her debut season with the wing walkers and Nikita, known as Keets who is in her 5th year.

It will be great to see the Aerosuperbatic Wingwalkers make their debut in Newcastle along with the gorgeous ladies who will put on a great display of gymnastics on the wings while the aircraft put on a thrilling aerobatic display.

Check back tomorrow as we move into the RAF aircraft that will grace the skies of Newcastle on August 11th! Info from AeroSuperBatic’s website and photo from myself at Bray 2016.

 

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Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 7 – The Blades

Day 7 of our Newcastle aircraft profile is the Blades Aerobatic team

Making their debut in Newcastle is a very exciting display team, the Blades Aerobatic Display team made up fully of former Red Arrows pilots!

The Blades Aerobatic Display Team is a full-time civilian display team who are now in their 13th season! It is the only display team in the world that, in addition to flying air displays, also acts as an airline taking passengers on close formation aerobatic flights for unforgettable flying experiences.

The team is based at the Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire and were founded in 2005 by Andy Offer, a former leader of the Red Arrows, and Chris Norton, a Royal Air Force wing commander. There are eight pilots including five full-time display performers. All of the pilots are former members of the Royal Air Force and the aerobatic team all flew with the Red Arrows.

The team fly four Extra 300LPs and an Extra 330SC, the latter being used for solo sections of the performances. These two-seated propeller aircraft are used for four plane displays as well as corporate flying events during which passengers can be carried on board.

The aircraft were originally painted orange and black but later changed to light blue and black. By 2013 they had reverted to the orange and black colour scheme, now they fly in Silver and Black with orange tints.

The Blades made their debut performance in 2006 at a party held by David Beckham prior to the World Cup. Since then they have performed as part of the 80th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle, and at the Bahrain Grand Prix and Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

They hold the world record for formation looping having completed 26 consecutive loops, with blind bank manager Mike Newman taking control for the beginning of the stunt before co-pilot Myles Garland resumed control for the other loops.

Alongside their aerobatic displays and commercial work, The Blades also help the Royal Air Forces Association, a charity that supports RAF service personnel. This will also be the Blades first display in NI since 2015 at Portrush.

I look forward to seeing the Blades putting on a fantastic display and I am sure you will love them!

Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile in the lead up to Newcastle Festival of Flight 2018. Information from Blades website and Wikipedia. Photograph from myself at Portrush 2015.

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