Newcastle aircraft profile day 5 – Irish Air Corps AW139

Day 5 of out Newcastle aircraft profile is the Irish Air Corps and their AW139 aircraft which is making its display debut in Newcastle, after being on static display in 2012. The IAC AW139 will be doing a fire fighting demo. Another first in Newcastle.

The Air Corps (Irish: An tAerchór) is the air component of the Defence Forces of Ireland.Through a fleet of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, it provides military support to the Army and Naval Service, together with non-military air services such as Garda air support, air ambulance, fisheries protection and the Ministerial Air Transport Service. The primary airbase is Casement Aerodrome located at Baldonnel, County Dublin.

The main flying wings of the Irish Air Corps are

No. 1 Operations Wing carries out all fixed wing tasks and operations assigned to the Air Corps. The wing is sub divided into six separate operational squadrons, each fulfilling its own specific roles. The wing currently operates a total of ten aircraft. In addition, the wing is responsible for first line maintenance of all aircraft assigned to it.

No. 3 Operations Wing carries out all rotary wing tasks and operations assigned to the Air Corps. The wing is sub divided into three separate operational squadrons, each fulfilling its own specific roles.
The wing currently operates a total of eight aircraft, with six Augusta Westland AW139’s and two Eurocopter EC-135’s. In addition, the wing is responsible for first line maintenance of all aircraft assigned to it.

The Aircraft

The Air Corps took delivery of its first two Agusta Westland AW139 aircraft in November 2006. There are currently six of the type in service.

The AW139 is a medium-lift twin-engine helicopter with a troop lifting capacity of up to 14 personnel in the normal configuration. In the cockpit the aircrew have a fully integrated digital avionics and cockpit display system, which includes an autopilot, a dual flight management system with GPS and a radio navigation system. The AW139 is utilised mainly in the army support role.

The AW139 is a multi role aircraft and can be used for Army support, air ambulance, military transport and general utility roles.

The first flight of an AW139 was on 3rd February 2001 and was originally designed and developed jointly by Agusta and Bell Helicopters and marketed as the Agusta-Bell AB139, it was redesignated the AW139 when Bell withdrew from the project.

The Irish Air Corps was the first military operator of the type.

Check back on Monday for another Newcastle Aircraft Profile! Photo by ourselves at Bray 2016 and info from IAC website and Wikipedia.

Newcastle Festival of Flight's photo.

Newcastle Aircraft profile Day 4 – Strikemaster

Day 4 of our aircraft profile for the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight is the BAC Strikemaster which is making its return to Newcastle next Saturday!

The Strikemaster coming to Newcastle is operated by NWMAS Ltd (North Wales Military Aviation Services Ltd) and they were formed to meet a requirement for maintenance of military aircraft and flying training in ex- military aircraft.


The BAC 167 Strikemaster is a British jet-powered training and light attack aircraft. It was a development of the Hunting Jet Provost trainer, itself a jet engined version of the Percival Provost, which originally flew in 1950 with a radial piston engine.

The BAC 167 Strikemaster is essentially an armed version of the Jet Provost T Mk 5, which you may remember displayed in Newcastle in the 2014 Festival of Flight.

the Strikemaster was modified with an uprated engine, wing hardpoints, a strengthened airframe, new communication and navigation gear, uprated ejection seats, shortened landing gear, and a revised fuel system including conformal fuel tanks on the wing tips.

First flown in 1967, the aircraft was marketed as a light attack or counter-insurgency aircraft, but most large-scale purchasers were air forces wanting an advanced trainer, although Ecuador, Oman and Yemen have used their aircraft in combat. A total of 146 were built

The Strikemaster coming to Newcastle is flown by Mark Petrie.
Mark, who is 54, began flying in the RAF when he was twenty, leaving in 1990, by which time he was a Flight Lieutenant with 1,200 hours. “I might have stayed longer,” he says, “but I wasn’t very good at biting my tongue when I thought something was wrong.”

He moved to flying for the airlines and is currently a 787 Captain with BA, so NWMAS, plus his ownership of the flying school, are second strings to his bow. The maintenance operation looks after the school aircraft at Hawarden and many of the private aircraft based on the airfield, including Mark’s de Havilland Chipmunk and several LAA Permit aircraft, including some homebuilts.

According to a press release, the Strikemaster will repeat the hugely popular formation with Rich Goodwin and his Pitts Special this year, having displayed together in 2015.

We look forward to hearing and seeing the Strikemaster in the skies of Newcastle for the first time. It is a fantastic display put on by Mark Petrie.


Information on aircraft from wikipedia, information about NWMAS Ltd from NWMAS website and information about Pilot Mark Petrie taken from an article by Country Small Holding and Photo our own from Portrush 2015

Northern Ireland & Ireland Airshows's photo.

Newcastle Aircraft profile Day 3 – Bristol Blenheim

Day 3 of our Newcastle aircraft profile is the worlds ONLY flying Bristol Blenheim which is based out of Duxford and returning to Newcastle after displaying for the first time in 2015

The Blenheim was manufactured in 1934 by the Bristol Aircraft Company, initially intended to be operated as a small airliner. However, the Blenheim’s speed and handling capabilities made it well suited for military operations as a light bomber, and the aircraft underwent extensive modification before joining the RAF.

The first Blenheim bought by ARCo was brought over to Duxford and had a 12 year restoration only to suffer a crash a month into flying in the UK. ARCo’s determination to see a Blenheim in the skies again saw another Blenheim, G-BPIV under go a 5 year restoration and once again took to the skies in June 1993.

Sadly in 2003 G-BPIV also was involved in a crash while landing at Duxford. The team behind the Blenheim’s upkeep did not, however, give in, and a trust was formed to protect the aircraft’s future in the UK.

And happily towards the end of 2014, after a lengthy restoration she took to the skies once more as John Romain and Co-Pilot John Gilmore flew the Blenheim from its Duxford base on Thursday, 20 November 2014, carrying out a 20 minute test flight.

She is now back on the airshow circuit and is wooing the crowds where-ever she flies, including Newcastle last summer.

We are really looking forward to seeing the worlds ONLY flying Bristol Blenheim once again in the skies of Newcastle on the 6th of August!

Northern Ireland & Ireland Airshows's photo.

Newcastle aircraft profile day 2 – Team RaVen

Day 2 of our aircraft profile for the B/E Aerospace Newcastle Festival of Flight is the display team known as Team Raven who are returning after making their Newcastle debut in 2015.

Team Raven are a formation aerobatic display team that formed in May 2014. They are the phoenix to the disbandment of Team Osprey & Team Viper the former a Yak 52 team which consisted of Bob Oliver (now the Team Raven commentator), Steve Lloyd and Barry Gwynnett. And the latter being a 5 ship Hawker Hunter display team.

Having formed embryonically in late 2013 with Steve and Barry they were looking for more RV owners with formation and display experience. Gerald Williams was an obvious choice with a soon-to-be completed RV8 and fresh from Team Viper; along with him he brought Mark Southern, also from Team Viper with a recently acquired RV8. Originally flagged to have Gerald as the lead pilot, a recent life and mind-set change from Simon ‘Sid’ Shirley in February 2014 lead to the purchase of an RV4 and the Team had a leader.

Despite this apparent disparate collection of pilots, the Team have known each other for many years; indeed, Steve, Barry, Gerald and Sid have flown in and around Swansea in Yak 52s for many years and Gerald has flown with Mark for a number of years in ex-military fast jets. This has resulted in an extremely close knit Team that revels in each other’s company.

Entirely self-funded, the Team has striven to create a professional and effective display team with a corporate image right off the bat that sets the right tone in all that they do. Although in some senses they are differing characters, the Team Raven pilots (and indeed support crew) share the same professionalism, drive, enthusiasm and passion for aviation and display flying; they are also great mates with a shared sense of humour!

The choice of aircraft is purely down to the vision of Steve, who having bought an RV4 in 2008 declared that “these things are the future of affordable performance light aviation”. He was right. Initially keeping the RV4, Steve sold his Yak 52 and embarked on building his RV8 whilst trying to convince the other 2 members of Team Osprey to sell the Yaks and buy RVs – he was 50% successful. The Team name ‘Raven’ came from a play on the letters ‘RV’ and makes more sense if written ‘RaVen’ as per the badge on the sides of the aircraft fuselages.

In 2015 Team RaVen flew a 4 ship display in Newcastle however for 2016 this has been increased to 6 aircraft with multiple new display moves added to their routine..


The Ravens use Van’s RV aircraft with a mix of 1 RV4 and 5 RV8s. All are self build aircraft, albeit only Ravens 2 and 4 have been self built by the Team. They are of aluminium construction and use standard Lycoming io-360, 180hp engines coupled to constant propellers, which given their light weight results in an agreeable power to weight ratio. Performance is very good, especially climb rate when measured against typical flying club aircraft such as the C152 & PA28/38s, but they are not carbon fibre rocket ships such as the Extra 300s and Edge 540s on the display scene and competition circuit. However, they are fully aerobatic with a decent ‘g’-limit range and a aerobatic ability and as such are ideal for the requirements of Team Raven.

The Team have self-modified their aircraft with smoke systems. The aircraft as well as being fully aerobatic are relatively quick and frugal which further adds to their attraction for private ownership.

They are a pilot’s aircraft and a delight to fly, but being tail draggers are always able to keep the unsuspecting pilot on their toes! We are above all, passionate aviation enthusiasts and consequently are more than happy to discuss our aircraft with anyone who cares to listen at any venue we attend. The aircraft are all self funded and owned and run by each of their pilots respectively.

We really look forward to seeing Team Raven in Newcastle again in the 6th August!

Info from Team Raven website and photo from ourselves at Bray 2016!

Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile!

Newcastle Festival of Flight's photo.

Newcastle aircraft Profile day 1 – Pitts Special.

Day 1 of our Newcastle Festival of Flight aircraft profile is the Modified Pitts Special piloted by Rich Goodwin who is making a much welcomed and requested return to Newcastle after making his debut in 2015. His display amazed the crowds and had everyone talking for months afterwards

G-EWIZ has been specially modified to provide the ultimate Biplane for Air Show Entertainment. The modification programme has given this Biplane enhanced capabilities producing a unique style of Aerobatics.

The Pitts Special may surprise you with her ability as looks are very much deceiving in this case, she is no ordinary prop aircraft. Some of the manoeuvers you will see include

Harrier Flight. Hovering on the powerful MT prop.
Double hammer head.
Tower of power. Torque roll and backwards flight
High Alpha Knife edge flight
The centrifuge

As for the Pilot, flying has always been in his blood. His father flew the Hawker Hunter and Lightening jets for the RAF and Richard himself is a former Tornado pilot with the RAF after doing his training in the Hawk T1 (The same aircraft the RAF Red Arrows use) He is also a former pilot of Boeing aircraft.

We very much look forward to seeing Rich Goodwin once again at the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight in Newcastle on the 6th August. (information rom various sources and photo from ourselves in 2015 Portrush show.)

Tomorrow we will profile another aircraft due to display at Newcastle in just under 2 weeks time!

Northern Ireland & Ireland Airshows's photo.

Red Arrows display time confirmed by RAF

The RAF Red Arrows have confirmed on their website that the Red Arrows will begin their display at 3:45pm in Newcastle on the 6th August.

The RAF Red Arrows sadly missed last years show due to technical issues. But will once again fill the skies with coloured smoke at the B/E Aerospace Newcastle Festival of Flight 2016.

We expect a finalized flying programme to be released to the public shortly but other displays include the returning Bristol Blenheim which made its first NI display in Newcastle last year after an extensive restoration, the Union flag coloured Pitt’s Special flown by Rich Goodwin, The BAC Strikemaster flown by Mark Petrie and the Battle of Britain Memorial flight Lancaster, which also missed last years show will be bringing the Spitfire and Hurricane with her.

Also returning is the very popular RAF Typhoon aircraft which put on an amazing display last summer, with many saying it was the best Typhoon display they have ever watched.

Last year the ‘GINA’ Typhoon, decorated in the Battle of Britain Livery was used but it is not yet known which Typhoon will be used by the RAF on the 6th August.

Team RaVen will also display again in Newcastle having made their Newcastle, and NI debut last summer. And a new team, the Global Stars will amaze the crowds on their first Northern Ireland display having really impressed this past weekend at Farnborough Airshow.

Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks in the lead up to the Newcastle Festival of Flight.