Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 9 (part 1) – Irish Coast Guard S92

Day 9 (Part 1) of our Newcastle Aircraft profile is the Irish Coast Guard S92 helicopter which will be opening the show with a slow flypast in honour of Rescue 116 EI-ICR which was lost with all crew, Captain Duffy, Captain Fitzpatrick, Mr Ormsby and Mr Smyth, in a tragic accident in March of this year.

The Sikorsky S-92 is a four-bladed twin-engine medium-lift helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the civil and military helicopter market. The S-92 was developed from the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter and has similar parts such as flight control and rotor systems.

The S-92 features an active vibration control system, using vibration sensors and structurally mounted force generators to increase flight comfort and lower acoustic levels to below certification requirements.

A 2008 study by Norway’s Flymedisinsk Institute found that the S-92’s vibration levels were 42 percent above that of the Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma; Sikorsky disputed this finding, saying that the study hadn’t used their latest anti-vibration technology.[14] In February 2011, the noise and vibration levels were reportedly subject to health concerns, allegedly causing tinnitus and heart problems.

The Irish Coast Guard had previously used the S61 Helicopter until replacing them with the S92. The first S92 was delivered to them in January 2012 and given the registration EI-ICG with the callsign ‘Rescue 115’

The five S-92’s have registrations EI-ICG, EI-ICU, EI-ICA, EI-ICR, EI-ICD – with the last letter of each registration spelling out “GUARD” Sadly EI-ICR was lost with all crew in a tragic accident in March 2017.

While EI-ICG was delivered as “factory new” from Sikorsky in the US, the other S-92 aircraft are ex-UK Coastguard equipment.

As of July 2013, the final S-92 aircraft, with registration EI-ICD, was reportedly undergoing repainting and fitting at Shannon. However as of October 2013 two of the S-92 aircraft (EI-ICD and EI-ICU) remain in the “retro” livery of the UK Coastguard – but sporting their Irish registrations.

Information from Wikipedia and photograph from AirshowsNI admin taken at the 2015 Airwaves Portrush airshow.

Check back later for another Newcastle aircraft profile.




Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 8 – BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane

Day 8 of our Newcastle aircraft profile are 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.

However this year will be the first time the Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane have flown together in Newcastle as last year the Lancaster arrived with 2 Spitfires (not that anyone was complaining)



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 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


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.


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”

For 2017 the Lancaster has 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. (Some sources say this was on JB607 AR-N, but I am reliably informed this is a case of mistaken identity).

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.

Check back tomorrow for another Newcastle Aircraft Profile when we get to the final 2 displays. The RAFAT Red Arrows and the Chinook helicopter display.



Newcastle Aircraft profile Day 7 – BAC Strikemaster

Day 7 of our aircraft profile for the Newcastle Festival of Flight is the BAC Strikemaster which is making its return to Newcastle this 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.

We look forward to hearing and seeing the Strikemaster in the skies of Newcastle once again, It is a fantastic display.

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

Check back tomorrow for another Newcastle aircraft profile as we get closer to the big day this Saturday!


Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 6 – Piston Provost

Day 6 of our Newcastle Aircraft profile is a rather unique aircraft making its debut in Newcastle for the 2017 Festival of Flight, the Piston Provost. Which actually has a connection to Northern Ireland’s rich aviation history.

The Percival P.56 Provost was a British piston based trainer that was developed for the Royal Air Force in the 1950s as a replacement for the Percival Prentice. The Provost has the distinction of being the last piston-engine basic trainer aircraft to be operated by the RAF

The Provost was later adapted to make use of a turbojet engine, producing the BAC Jet Provost. The type was withdrawn in the 1960s, in favour of its jet-powered successor.

The Provost design is attributed to the Polish-born Aeronautical Engineer, Henry Millicer who also designed the Victa Airtourer light aircraft.

The Provost took its first flight on the 24th February 1950 and entered service with the RAF in 1953, the Provost entered service with the RAF, the first batch of aircraft were delivered to the Central Flying School at RAF South Cerney. . The Provost was more capable than the Prentice it replaced, which allowed students to move straight on to the De Havilland Vampire after completing training on the Provost.

From 1956 the Provost was issued to some University Air Squadrons, the first being the Queen’s University Air Squadron, Belfast in January 1956. The last RAF production aircraft was delivered in April 1956. The aircraft served with the RAF until the early 1960s, when it was replaced by the Jet Provost. ( Side note – The Jet Provost is a civilian/un-armed version of the BAC Strikemaster which will also be on display this weekend)

The Piston Provost was also used by the the Irish Air Corps ordered who, in In January 1954 ordered four T.51 aircraft and in 1960, an order from the Irish Air Corps went in for 6 armed T.53 variants which were used as training aircraft.

In total 461 were built between 1950 & 1956 however only 3 remain flying to this day. However quite a few are on display throughout the UK as well as 2 in Ireland including one of the former Irish Air Corps Piston Provosts at the Irish Air Corps Museum and Heritage Centre, Baldonnel Airfield, Co Dublin.

Photo credit to Chris England.

Check back tomorrow for yet another aircraft profile as we edge ever closer to the big day this Saturday!



Newcastle Aircraft Profile day 5 – Wildcat Aerobatics

Day 5 of our Newcastle aircraft profile are the Wildcat aerobatics team who are making their Newcastle debut this weekend!

The Wildcat Team

Formed in 2010, Wildcat Aerobatics was created with the aim of promoting the amazing world of aerial sport flying and the more extreme elements of the leisure aviation industry. It does this primarily through the delivery of a crowd-thrilling formation aerobatic display that entertains hundreds of thousands of spectators every year at shows across the length and breadth of the country ranging from large-scale public events to much smaller private celebrations.

In addition, as a minor part of the overall activity of the team, Wildcat Aerobatics also provides introductory flights to people eager to experience the thrills of flying formation aerobatics. Through these exclusive activities, we aim to promote the team, its sponsors and attract new pilots to this most demanding and exciting of extreme sports.

Over the years, the team has developed a unique and excitingly choreographed airshow act that brings together unbelievably close-formation aerobatics with precision pairs synchronized flying. The display fleet is made up of a pair of iconic Pitts Special biplanes: proven crowd pleasers for over 65 years!

The Wildcat Pitts Special

The team use the Pitts S2 aircraft. The S2 has been used by teams in the US, Europe, Africa and the Far East and is a proven air display favourite. The biplane has a special appeal to airshow crowds and has been displaying in various guises since it’s unveiling at Homestead, Florida in 1946.

The aircraft was designed and built by aircraft engineer and keen aerobatic pilot Curtis Pitts – it proved to be so popular that it has been in constant production to this day, the factory now resides in Afton, Wyoming and in addition to building and supporting the S2 Pitts, they manufacture the Aviat Huskey.

The Pitts Special is the world’s leading high performance aerobatic biplane. In the USA the Pitts Special has won more unlimited-class aerobatic contests than any other aircraft type.


Check back tomorrow for another Newcastle Aircraft Profile

Info from Wildcats website & photo from Airwaves Portrush



Newcastle Aircraft Profile Day 4 – Team Raven

Day 4 of our aircraft profile for the Newcastle Festival of Flight is Team Raven who are returning to Newcastle for the 3rd year..

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 5th August!

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

Check back on Monday for another aircraft profile!



Newcastle Aircraft profile day 3 – Lauren Richardson – Pitts Special

Day 3 of our Newcastle Festival of Flight aircraft profile is an exciting debut in Newcastle, and I believe it will be the pilots first ever display in Northern Ireland, Lauren Richardson and her fantastic Pitts Special.

Lauren is one of the top aerobatic display pilots in the UK and unlike a lot of the pilots you will see in Newcastle next weekend she did not come from a family with aviation roots making her story even more unique.

Beginning flying lessons at 19 and getting her licence Lauren Richardson had never even considered aerobatic flying until she first flew in the Pitts S2A. Taking aerobatic lessons she soon won her first tournament and in 2012 became the British Female Aerobatic champion before attaining her display authority in 2013 allowing her to display at airshows. Since then she has become one of the top displays on the airshow circuit.

The Pitts Special she flies is a Pitts Special S1-S registered as G-BKDR with a fantastic Red and White paint scheme.

First thought up by Curtis Pitts in 1943-1944. The Pitts Special has been continuously refined and modified since the first flight in 1945 and is known as one of the best aircrafts for competitive aerobatic flying dominating competitive flying in the 60s and 70s and still a firm favourite for airshows to this day.

Designed and built for serious aerobatics, Lauren’s machine, G-BKDR, has over the years received a few modifications to increase its performance and strength beyond that original design – over-sized control surfaces (ailerons, rudder and elevator) mean that she rolls blisteringly fast, flick rolls even faster and performs almost any conceivable aerobatic manoeuvre with style and aplomb.

With only one seat in this version of the aircraft it is very lightweight and strong providing very powerful displays and a very easy flow from one manoeuvre to another.

It will be great to see Lauren Richardson make her debut in Newcastle! It is sure to be a brilliant display. Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile as we get closer to the 2017 Festival of Flight.

Info from Lauren Richardson’s website and other various sources and photo from

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