Archive for July, 2011

Defence Minister to Christen Voyager

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

A senior Government minister will be at RAF Fairford tomorrow (Friday) for the christening ceremony of the Royal Air Force’s largest and newest aircraft.

Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton will be at the Royal International Air Tattoo for the first official public appearance of the RAF’s future strategic tanker aircraft, the A330 ‘Voyager’.

Voyager is the longest and widest aircraft in the RAF’s fleet with an impressive wing span of more than 60 metres. It has been designed to carry a payload of up to 45 tonnes, which can include up to 111 tonnes of fuel, eight standard NATO freight pallets or 291 passengers. The aircraft will operate from RAF Brize Norton.

The A330 will be flown for air-to-air refuelling and air transport missions, but will also have an aeromedical capability, enabling it to carry up to 40 NATO stretchers and three critical care patients. The Voyager fleet, which will replace the VC-10 and Tristar, is based on the A330-200 commercial passenger aircraft with twin-engines, a wide-body and twin-aisles produced by Air Tanker.

AirTanker’s contract with the Ministry of Defence will see them provide 14 purpose-built A330 tanker and transport aircraft, as well as the associated support services, including training, maintenance, infrastructure, flight operations and ground services.

AirTanker has five shareholders who are also subcontractors for the programme. They are Babcock, Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce and Thales.

The name Voyager, follows the heritage of a number of RAF tanker aircraft, with the names beginning with V, specifically the Victor and the VC-10 Tanker aircraft.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “We are delighted that Dr Fox and Sir Stephen will be ‘christening’ an aircraft that will play a big part in the RAF’s future capability. The Air Tattoo has a proud history of showcasing new aircraft and we are delighted that we can now add to that list, the A330.”

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A thrilling start to the Flying Legends weekend at Imperial War Museum Duxford

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Thousands of visitors enjoyed a spectacular day of flying and forties nostalgia at the first day of the Flying Legends weekend, on Saturday 9 July.

The Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Lindy Hoppers danced up a storm on the Hangar Base, teaching visitors how to dance the ‘Lambeth Walk’.Living history groups brought the Second World War to life at Duxford’s historic airfield. Ops 1939-45 represented Battle of Britain-era pilots and ground crew and re-enacted Bomber Briefings, giving visitors a taste of the preparations for Bomber Command raids during the Second World War.

The 42nd Field Hospital portrayed US Army medical personnel from the Second World War, while the Screaming Eagles Living History Group represented servicemen who served with the 101st US Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Batallion, Easy Company during the Second World War.

A stunning aerial display commenced with seven Spitfires alongside a Hurricane and three Hispano HA-1112 MIL Bouchon aircraft in celebration of the aircraft of the Battle of Britain. This was followed by a display of US Navy aircraft, comprising a rare appearance by three Skyraiders, a Bearcat and a Corsair. B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B flew escorted by her ‘little friends’, six P-51 Mustangs. Two DH-84 aircraft, including the debut appearance by Aer Lingus’Iolar aircraft, flew alongside a de Havilland Dragon Rapide. The legendary Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster performed a majestic display, followed by the Fokker tri-plane. The German Luftwaffe were represented by a Junkers ju52 and a Jungmeister, and were followed by a display of Curtiss aircraft, comprising a P36 Hawk 74 and three P-40 aircraft.

A stunning display of Hawker bi-planes featured two Nimrods, a Hind and a Demon breezing around the Duxford skies. The heritage of the Royal Navy was represented by three Sea Fury aircraft and the Royal Naval Historic Flight’s Swordfish.

In their first appearance in the UK, and at Flying Legends, the Flying Bulls’ P-38 Lightning and F4U-4 Corsair wowed the packed crowds. In homage to the aircraft of the First World War, a Fokker dr1 and Nieuport 17 took to the skies. This was followed by a display by an Ms 406 accompanied by a Yak 9; two Dakota DC3s and the grand finale which is the traditional Balbo, comprising an encore display by many of the aircraft which presented such a stunning flying performance.

Flying Legends proved yet again why it is one of the world’s finest warbird air shows.

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Typhoon Test Pilot in Rare ‘Weapons’ Display

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

A RARE display of the Eurofighter Typhoon’s agility and engine power with a full weapon load, will be one of the highlights of next weekend’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

The BAE Systems’ development aircraft IPA 5 (Instrumented Production Aircraft), is one of five production standard aircraft fitted with instruments for dedicated flight testing and further systems development. The UK-based IPA 5 is helping develop air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons integration.

Most air displays are achieved by reducing fuel and weapon loads, however with this display, BAE Systems Chief Test Pilot for Combat Air, Mark Bowman will demonstrate IPA5’s significant weapon carriage and manoeuvrability whilst still able to show carefree handling.

In addition to the demonstration, a full scale replica of the world’s most advanced, new generation multi-role combat jet, including full weapon display, will be available for general public access. The RAF will also have a Typhoon on display in the static aircraft park.

IPA 5 will fly in a swing-role configuration, including four Paveway II laser guided bombs, two 1,000 ltr fuel tanks, four AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles) and two ASRAAMs (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles) and will highlight the Typhoon’s agility regardless of weapon load.

Test pilot Mark Bowman said: “I am looking forward enormously to displaying at the Air Tattoo next week. The aim is simply to demonstrate the Typhoon’s power, performance and presence in a truly representative combat load. Different than most other ‘clean aircraft’ displays, I hope the observer will get a real sense of why Typhoon is not only at the forefront of world combat aviation, but also acknowledge the role of European technology, engineering and ingenuity in producing this ‘awesome’ aircraft.”

An Air Tattoo spokesman said BAE Systems’ decision to display their prized demonstration aircraft at the airshow showed the significance of the event in the eyes of the company.

He said: “To have such a formidable aircraft displayed by BAE Systems’ chief test pilot for combat air is something special and will be appreciated and eagerly anticipated by the knowledgeable Air Tattoo audience.

“Having such an experienced pilot at the controls will ensure visitors to the Air Tattoo will get to see the aircraft’s full capabilities. We are extremely grateful to our title sponsor BAE Systems for agreeing to display the aircraft at the Air Tattoo.”

This summer’s Air Tattoo will be marking its 40th anniversary and hosting a gathering of specially-decorated ‘Tiger’ aircraft from the NATO Tiger Association. ‘Tiger’ aircraft come from NATO squadrons that have a Tiger or Big Cat in their emblem and their association marks its 50th anniversary in 2011. The ‘operational’ spotlight STAR 11 will focus on aircraft and equipment involved in the roles of Strike and Reconnaissance.

Tickets are available by visiting or calling 0800 107 1940. All tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.

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Lancaster flying display set to be a highlight for large model aircraft show

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

16-17 July 2011

Tickets available in advance or on the gate

Flypast 2.35pm on Saturday 16th July (subject to weather and operational requirements)

Visitors at the Large Model Aircraft Rally, taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 16-17 July, will be treated to a flying display from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster – scheduled for 2.35pm on the Saturday (subject to weather and operational requirements).

This famous air show in miniature is an absolute must see for any aviation enthusiast. Last year the show attracted in excess of 12,000 visitors over the weekend, with hundreds of scale models of iconic aircraft taking to the skies during the two-day event.

The main theme of this year’s show will be the 75th Anniversary of the first flight of the Spitfire. Taking place twice each day, there will be a mass Spitfire scramble consisting of 15 models – possibly the largest number of model Spitfires flying together ever seen at a model air show.

Last year saw a large scale model Vulcan and Victor flying together for the first time in formation. This year all three of Britain’s V-Bombers; Vulcan, Victor and Valiant will be flying together in model form, in an exclusive for Cosford.

During the course of the show there will be a display of aircraft from both World Wars including the largest ever formation of the Dawn Patrol WWI fighter team, approximately two waves of 20 aircraft each including air combats within the display. In addition to this, several WWII Fighter and Bomber display teams will be performing.

Chairman of the Large Model Association, Dave Johnson says:

“At present we already have over 150 aircraft booked in and we’re still counting, so it’s sure to be a real busy display as always. Many of the aircraft on display cannot be seen flying in full size form anymore, so a real pull for aircraft enthusiasts everywhere.”

Events and activities on the airfield include trade stands selling modelling and non-modelling related items, food stalls, and access to the RAF Museum and full size aircraft displays, plus there will be a fun fair to keep the youngsters entertained throughout the day.

Large Model Association organisers are hoping this year’s event will prove just as popular and are now offering the chance to beat the rush and buy tickets early on at a discounted rate. Advance tickets for the Large Model Aircraft Rally at the RAF Museum Cosford are priced at just £9 for adults, £5 for children and £7 for senior citizens with a family ticket of 2 adults and up to 2 children retailing at £20, saving £5 on the gate price. Gates open at 8.30am.

On site camping including entrance to the show is only £45.00 for the weekend when booked in advance. Contact Dave Bailey for more details on camping at or call 07827 675665.

For further information on how to purchase advance tickets and for on the gate prices, please call the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit the Museum website at

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UK Debut for Eye-in-the-Sky Prototype

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

A state-of-the-art surveillance aircraft that flew for the first time last month will make its UK debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo next week.

The C295 Airbourne Early Warning and Control (AEW) demonstrator, which made its maiden flight on June 7 from Seville in Spain, will offer air forces a cost-effective advanced radar system to support a variety of operational activities including coastguard and homeland security. The turbo prop aircraft will arrive at RAF Fairford with a mushroom-shaped rotodome demonstrator on its roof, part of on-going flight trials to test the aircraft’s aerodynamics. The aircraft will go on static display.

A spokesman for the manufacturer Airbus Military said: “We’re delighted to give the C-295 AEW demonstrator its UK ‘premiere’ at the Air Tattoo. The aircraft is aimed at providing nations with a new and very cost effective, high quality 360° surveillance solution in the so far uncovered medium size market. It is based on the proven, rugged and versatile C295 platform and is to be equipped with the IAI/ELTA Systems’ 4th Generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar with integrated IFF.”

An Air Tattoo spokesman said: “Our airshow has long had a tradition of presenting new aircraft for the first time at a British event and the C295 AEW demonstrator is an exciting example. It is rare for demonstrators to attend airshows – especially those that have only just completed their maiden flight. We are extremely grateful to Airbus Military for allowing this rare aircraft to take a break from its test programme in order to join us for our 40th anniversary.”

This summer’s Air Tattoo will be marking its 40th anniversary and hosting a gathering of specially-decorated ‘Tiger’ aircraft from the NATO Tiger Association. ‘Tiger’ aircraft come from NATO squadrons that have a Tiger or Big Cat in their emblem and their association marks its 50th anniversary in 2011. The ‘operational’ spotlight STAR 11 will focus on aircraft and equipment involved in the roles of Strike and Reconnaissance.

Tickets are available by visiting or calling 0800 107 1940. All tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.

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A Special Day for Sally B

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

B-17 Preservation and Imperial War Museum Duxford are delighted to present Sally B and Friends Day on Sunday 31 July 2011.

A celebration of B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF Sally B, in her 66th year, this special event offers 1940s nostalgia, fantastic flying and the opportunity to hear from the pilots and ground crews who keep historic aircraft in pristine condition for the enjoyment of future generations.

Duxford’s historic airfield will revisit the evocative days of the Second World War, with living history groups representing different aspects of Britain at war. Rangers Re-enactors represent the ‘Friendly Invasion’ of the United States Forces into wartime Britain, while the Pitsford Home Guard present demonstrations and displays in appreciation of the real ‘Dad’s Army’, the Local Defence Volunteers who were the first point of defence against invasion on British soil.

Fabulous forties music is provided by Room 21, a 21-piece Big Band who will be performing instantly recognisable Swing and Big Band classics from the wartime period.

There will also be a display of wartime military vehicles.

Duxford’s Wing Co Joe’s Cafe will be bedecked with victory bunting and propaganda posters, with a special wartime menu on offer – ration books not required!

Why not get into the Blitz spirit and arrive dressed in your 1940s finery? We’d love to see visitors in wartime uniforms or forties frocks, really becoming part of this special celebratory day! While this event is not an air show, there will be moments of superb flying during the afternoon of Sally B and Friends Day.

Sally B will fly three set pieces to the atmospheric sounds of Glenn Miller and Vera Lynn. She will fly a solo display and then will be joined by her ‘little friends’ – the North American P-51 Mustang, which escorted Flying Fortresses on their outward bombing missions from the East Anglian airfields, and the iconic Supermarine Spitfire IXB, the quintessential British wartime fighter aircraft.

Two de Havilland Dragon Rapides will display, representing the airliners of the golden age of air travel.

The SWIP Team of Peter Wells and Guy Westgate will perform stunning aerobatic routines in their graceful and agile Twister SA1100 aircraft.

A Douglas Dakota DC-3 and Beech 18 Expediter will perform a duo display, representing the United States transport aircraft of the Second World War. They will then join Sally B for a very special salute to the Sally B Supporters Club, without whom it would not be possible to keep Sally B flying.

Two T-28 Trojan aircraft, used by the US Navy for training purposes, will fly simultaneously, followed by aerobatic master Mark Jefferies in the Extra 330SC.

The grand flying finale will feature Sally B with the SWIP Team in their Twister SA1100 aircraft – a display that has never been previously performed!

Visitors can find out more about the passion and commitment needed to keep historic aircraft flying. Pilots and ground crew of the Sally B, together with representatives of many of the historic aircraft on display at the Sally B and Friends Day, will be available to chat to visitors about their individual roles in historic aviation.

There will be fun family activities on offer, with science and technology experiments in AirSpace and the opportunity to experience the 1940s Home Front with costumed characters and hands-on craft activities in Hangar 4: Battle of Britain.

There will also be tours of the American Air Museum, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the United States Army Air Force Bombing Campaign during the Second World War.

Join us to celebrate Sally B’s 66th year, and her 36th display season – an incredible achievement for an iconic aircraft that delights air show crowds and is a favourite with IWM Duxford visitors all year round.

Sally B and Friends Day is included in standard admission to the Museum. Children aged 15 and under go free when accompanied by an adult.

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Ray Winstone takes a flight in a P-51 Mustang at Imperial War Museum Duxford

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Yesterday, film and TV actor Ray Winstone visited The Fighter Collection at Imperial War Museum Duxford to absorb the atmosphere prior to Flying Legends, one of the world’s largest warbird air shows, which will be held on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July. Flying Legends features classic Second World War-era propeller-driven aircraft in an amazing aerial display.

A keen historic aviation fan, and a particular fan of Second World War aircraft, Ray Winstone enjoyed a flight in a P-51 Mustang which was piloted by Steve Hinton, a Reno Air Race Champion. This was accompanied by two other P-51 Mustangs, one flown by Stevo Hinton (Steve Hinton’s son) who is the youngest ever Reno Air Race Champion.

With only days to go until Flying Legends on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July, The Fighter Collection and Imperial War Museum Duxford are delighted to announce that over 55 aircraft will be participating in this year’s warbird spectacular, with three Second World War Hispano HA_1112 MIL (Buchon), a debut by the Aer Lingus DH-84 Dragon Iolar, a rare air show appearance of three Skyraiders, The Horsemen, the world’s only P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic team, displaying as a two-ship with pilots Dan Friedkin and Ed Shipley showcasing the aircraft that made America great, and The Flying Bulls’ Lockheed P-38 Lightning reg. N25Y and Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair reg. OE-EAS. On the ground there will be fun activities and a 1940s atmosphere with dancing, music and living history groups.

For further information go to

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