Air Show Success


Impressive displays by some of the world’s best military and civilian pilots drew thousands to RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2012. This year’s theme was the 30th Anniversary of the Falklands War in 1982, when over 1,400 personnel and 126 aircraft from the base deployed to the South Atlantic. Visitors were able to see some of the aircraft that took part.

The show, consisting of a comprehensive five hour flying display, plus a diversity of static displays was an outstanding success. Visitors of all ages enjoyed a thrilling day out, with a range of family-themed attractions on the ground complemented by the airborne excitement. The traditional Royal Marines Village, supported by CHF, was popular. It allowed extra chances for spectators to get up close and personal with current military vehicles and aircraft, as well as the Sailors and Marines who operate them.

The Royal Navy Historic Flight, celebrating its 40th anniversary, provided powerful reminders of the service’s achievements, with displays from the Fairey Swordfish and the Sea Fury. Contributions also included the Royal Navy Black Cats, who put their two Lynxes through their paces in an intricately fast-paced and re-choreographed routine.

Unique to Yeovilton was the spectacular Commando Assault. The multi-layered role demonstration, blended flying assets, armoured vehicles, troops and explosions in an all-action set piece, illustrating the vital contribution to the preservation of global stability made by the Royal Navy both 30 years ago, during the Falklands War, and the present day.

Also on the ground in the specially designed Arena were the exciting Field Gun competition and the Band of HM Royal Marines, fresh from their involvement in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Meanwhile the RAF Chinook Display Team were scooping up awards for their display at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford. They picked up the Steedman Trophy for the Best UK Flying Display and Best Flying Display at RIAT 2012. The second award was presented by the RIAT Park and View Team, a group of unofficial enthusiasts who attend every year. The high energy display includes manoeuvres carried out by the Chinook on operations. For the last 30 years the Chinook has been continuously deployed, starting with Op CORPORATE in the Falklands and continuing to this day on Op HERRICK. The 270 degree quickstop in the display originates from the 180 degree quickstop that is frequently used in Afghanistan to rapidly decelerate the aircraft and get it into a landing site during routine tasking. The Gornji manoeuvre (the vertical climb whilst turning through 360 degrees) was named after the airbase Gornji Vakuf, Bosnia, where Chinooks operated from during Op GRAPPLE.

This year’s Chinook Display team is made up of three pilots and two crewmen from 18 and 27 Sqns. Between them they have completed 26 Operational deployments of Afghanistan (2½ month dets). All team members arrived back from theatre earlier this year.  The Team is made up of Flt Lts Paul Farmer, Justin Shaw and Andrew Scrase, with crewmen MACR Bob Ruffles and Sgt Dan Temple operating in the back. The Team’s commentator is Flt Lt Kyle Thomas, a fellow Chinook pilot.

Flt Lt Farmer said “It has been a very exciting and memorable weekend for the whole team. To come home with two awards has been fantastic and represents all the hard work put in by everyone on the team, especially the engineers at Odiham to get the aircraft ready for the weekend.”

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