RAF100

Posted on July 10, 2018

RAF 100: Up To 100 Aircraft To Fly Over Buckingham Palace

Up to 100 Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft are set to fly over Buckingham Palace to mark 100 years since the force’s creation.

The RAF was founded on 1 April 1918.

Jets, helicopters and aeroplanes from a range of different eras across the RAF’s history, including Spitfires and modern state-of-the-art aircraft, are set to take part.

More than 1,000 military personnel will also parade through London and will perform a rifle salute.


The event will be live streamed on Forces TV (Sky 450, Freeview 96, Freesat 165, Virgin 277) and on Forces News’ Facebook page at 1pm.


The Queen will be joined by family members including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend a service at Westminster Abbey before watching the flypast from the balcony of the Palace.

Prince Charles, Princess Camilla, Prince William, Prince Harry and Princess Meghan will also meet veterans, personnel, charity representatives and those from the civil service in a reception after the spectacle.

Air-Vice Marshal Gerry Mayhew, the air officer commanding No 1 group and the senior responsible officer for the flypast, said the day is the “centrepiece” of the RAF’s 100th year.

“It is the high point for the capital, Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family,” he explained.

“And it is a great opportunity to look back and really celebrate our past, but to look forward is a really important thing for us as we look to the next 100 years.”

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said he hopes the flypast will make the public “proud of their Air Force”:

23 different types of aircraft are to take part in the flypast, with nearly 200 aircrew from 25 different RAF squadrons.

Weather and serviceability dependent, it is expected the new cutting-edge stealth fighter F-35 jets will feature.

The officer commanding 617 squadron, Wing Commander John Butcher, who is set to fly an F-35 during the spectacle, said: “That (Buckingham Palace flypast) will be the first that we will have flown it in a public environment since we landed back, so it is an exciting opportunity.

“Now we just need to make sure the jets are in a good place to fly.

“It is very early days for us, we are still learning to operate back at our main operating base, so there are many factors at play that could prevent us from doing it.

“But, I am still hopeful that we will be able to support it in some way. But the chance obviously still exists that we may not be able to.”

It is set to be the first public appearance for the RAF’s most advanced war plane since touching down at RAF Marham from the US in June (Picture: MoD/Crown Copyright).

Helicopters including the Puma, Chinook, Juno and Jupiter are expected to attend.

Aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight including the Dakota, Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire are part of the line-up, as are training aircraft including the Prefect, Tucano and Hawk.

The Chinook will be one of the aircraft taking part (Picture: MoD/Crown Copyright).

Helicopters including the Puma, Chinook, Juno and Jupiter are expected to attend.

Aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) including the Dakota, Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire are part of the line-up, as are training aircraft including the Prefect, Tucano and Hawk.

The Officer Commanding the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight said three Spitfires and two Hurricanes should feature in the flypast.

Squadron leader Andy Millikin said: “It is one of those jobs where even when I was at Coningsby I saw the BBMF – I was a pilot and eligible to go and apply for it, but it never occurred to me that actually it would happen.”It is one of those dream come true situations, and I still pinch myself every time I go out to fly one of those aeroplanes – it is wonderful.”

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over Buckingham Palace in 2005 (Picture: MoD).

The Hercules, Atlas A400M, C-17, BAe 146, Sentinel, Voyager, Shadow, Rivet Joint, E-3D Sentry, Tornado GR4 and Typhoon are also all set to take part.

Drawing the spectacle to a close will be the Red Arrows, who in traditional aerobatic style will stream red, white and blue smoke down the length of The Mall.

It is expected the flypast will begin to form up over Suffolk to the west of Ipswich at around 12.45pm, 10 July, before heading towards Colchester, and then Chelmsford.

The formation will continue over the M25, Stapleford Abbotts, Hainault Forest and on to central London – passing the Olympic Park, Hackney, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch before getting to The Mall at around 1pm.

More than £2.4 million of Libor funds grant from the Treasury has been allocated to the RAF to help the celebrate its centenary year, according to Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Mike Wigston.

He said: “We got a grant of just over £2 million from the Chancellor which we have been able to use to enhance our local engagement, to do many of the things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

“So I have to say the generosity of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with Libor funds has part contributed to the success that RAF 100 is.

“We have got to recognise the good stuff that the Treasury does with these fines – £2.4 million is what we applied for and we have used it.”

An RAF spokesman said RAF 100 activity will either be completed within existing resources or funded by a mixture of public funding and £2.43 million from Libor grants from the Treasury.

He added: “All RAF 100 activity costs will be subject to comprehensive scrutiny and audit.”

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