IT TOOK nearly a year of late nights and negotiations to organise, but last night Wing Commander Kev Gaitland said the stage is set for “the largest and most powerful display of airpower” Britain has seen.
On Tuesday 100 aircraft, ranging from Second World Spitfires and Lancaster bombers to helicopters, cutting edge F-35s fast jets and the Red Arrows will reach for the skies in a dramatic air display to commemorate the RAF’s 100th anniversary.
The 30-minute spectacular will form up just west of Ipswich, Suffolk, at 12.45pm and aircraft will fly at different speeds south-west across Colchester and Chelmsford before crossing the M25 and sweeping in for a dramatic climax over Buckingham Palace at 1pm.
Speaking last night Wg Cdr Gaitland – at 36 one of the youngest in the RAF – told of the moment, 11 months ago, when RAF top brass chose him for the task.
“I had experience because I organised the Queen’s birthday flypast the year before, though it was much smaller. Of course I was incredibly honoured and privileged that I got the nod, but at the same time fully aware of the scale of the task ahead.”
The first challenge of the flypast, he said, was assessing which of the RAF’s heavily deployed aircraft would be available for the biggest show since the Queen’s Coronation review in 1953.