ONE hundred RAF aircraft will fly across England to celebrate the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary, with Buckingham Palace before being the centrepiece of the celebrations on Tuesday.
A formation of 100 aeroplanes, one for each year of the RAF, will fly over the palace at exactly 1pm on Tuesday, July 10.
The spectacular show will see a range of planes, from jet fighters to a Second World War Lancaster bomber, taking off from various RAF bases including Norfolk, Suffolk and Colchester.
At 1pm, they will pass over Buckingham Palace in London following an order studied over the last 11 months.
If everything will go according to plans, the final aircraft, the RAF’s nine Red Arrows, will fly over the palace and the Royal Family on the balcony, exactly nine minutes and 15 seconds later.
The flypast has been planned minute by minute by Wing Commander Kevin Gatland, chief of staff of the Tornado bomber force at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
The show he prepared will feature 17 different types of aircraft, including Puma and Chinook military helicopters, C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III transport planes and Hawk, Typhoon and Tornado fast jets.
And the F-35 Lightning, the RAF’s new stealth fighter flown from the US last month, will also fly over Buckingham Palace.
Mr Gatland’s biggest challenge has been to coordinate such different aircraft flying at different speed.
The helicopters that will lead the display and fly at about 100mph, while the fighter jets and strike aircraft towards the rear will fly at a whopping 350mph.
Such dissimilarities in speed needed careful planning to make sure they will be able to keep up with the schedule prepared.