Dozens of RAF aircraft have completed rehearsal flights ahead of the major 100 aircraft flypast over The Mall to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force – one hundred days after the RAF’s official 100th birthday.
A wide range of in service RAF types from a number of RAF bases formed up to practise their formation flights for the centenary flypast, passing over RAF Cranwell.
The RAF’s rotary assets were represented by the force’s Chinooks and Pumas as well as the new rotary trainers, Jupiter and Juno. Tucanos, Hawks and the new Grob Prefect also took part and represented the fixed-wing training squadrons.
Front line aircraft – Typhoons and Tornados – were joined by one of new F-35B Lightnings, ahead of what will be that type’s flypast début over the capital since its official arrival to 617 Squadron’s newly rebuilt Marham home. The RAF’s strategic assets were represented by the E3-D Sentry as well as aircraft from the transport squadrons – the BAe 146, C-17, Atlas, and the iconic Hercules.
However, the main event promises to be even larger. Sentinel, Voyager, Rivet Joint, Shadow are other types, together with the Red Arrows, expected to participate on 10 July. The aircraft will join with the BBMF over the Olympic Park and then will fly down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace, depending on the weather and serviceability.
Additionally, more than 1,000 servicemen and women will take part in a parade on The Mall in the centrepiece event to celebrate the RAF Centenary. Her Majesty The Queen will present a new Queen’s Colour to the Royal Air Force at a ceremony to mark its centenary on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. The parade will then be followed by the historic flypast, expected for 1:00pm.