The Royal Air Force display aircraft includes the Typhoon FGR4, Tornado GR4, Hercules C-130J, Merlin HC3, Chinook HC Mk II, Hawk T1, Tucano T1, and Grob Tutor T1.
The RAF Falcons are the Royal Air Force's parachute display team.
Changes in how the RAF display their aircraft in 2007/2008 are detailed at the bottom of this page which includes the new muti-role demos along with some photos.
The Typhoon is an agile, single seat, multi-role aircraft optimised for high altitude supersonic air combat but also capable of operating at much lower levels in the air-to-ground roles. It is built by a four-nation consortium comprised of companies from the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. The state-of-the art aircraft is set to be the RAF's major front-line type for many years to come, replacing the RAF's Tornado F3 fighters and Jaguar fighter-bombers in front-line service.
Flt Lt Noel Rees from 29 (Reserve) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby will be the 2014 RAF Typhoon Display pilot.
2014 Typhoon Pilot:
Flt Lt Rees takes over the role of display pilot as part of his duties at RAF Coningsby in 2014.
Tornado GR4 Display Dates/Venues
There will not be a Tornado Role Demo for the 2013 season although there will be a flypast of the BBMF Lancaster with a pair of 617sqn Tornado GR4 aircraft at Waddington, RIAT, Leuchars and Jersey airshows.
The Tornado GR4 is the latest version of the RAF's primary attack aircraft. Capable of supersonic speeds and flight at low-level, the aircraft is one of the most potent in the world today. A major feature of the Tornado is its 'Swing wings' (variable geometry) which when swept fully forward can fly slowly ideal for landing on short runways, or when swept back (68 degrees) can fly supersonically. Another innovative feature of the Tornado is the ability to use thrust-reverse to shorten landings.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is the most numerous transport aircraft in the West and has been in production longer than any other aircraft in history. The prototype flew in August 1954 and since then over 60 nations have ordered the Hercules. Those in use by the RAF are C-130K versions (known as Hercules C1 and C3), and the new second-generation C-130Js (known as Hercules C4 and C5). The Hercules C4/C5s are optimised for economical operation by the introduction of new Allison turboprop engines, 6-bladed composite propellers and a digital engine control system which increases take-off thrust by 29% and is 15% more efficient.
Unfortunately the RAF Merlin HC3 display has been withdrawn from the airshow circuit again for 2010 but will still appear in the static display at various airshows.
The Merlin HC3 is the first of the next generation of medium support helicopters for the RAF. Twenty-two of the aircraft have been delivered and all serve with No 28 Squadron at RAF Benson.
The aircraft can be armed with two general purpose machine guns mounted in port and starboard cabin windows, and can be equipped with a wide variety of role equipment, including a rescue hoist and a roller floor to assist loading cargo via the rear ramp.
The Merlin HC3 display helicopter is from No.28 (Army Cooperation) Squadron based at RAF Benson.
Display Crew for 2007 include: Pilot - TBC, Co-Pilot - Flying Officer Kev Harris, Crewman - Sergeant Steve Thomas, and Sgt Dave Bryson, and Display Manager is Flight Sergeant Gareth Attridge.
See Merlin 2007 Display Article .
See Team Merlin website & on-line shop.
2007 Merlin HC3 Crew: Display Pilot:
To be confirmed shortly. Display Co-Pilot:
Joining the team this year is 26 year old Flying Officer Kev Harris, who originates from Southampton. After joining the RAF in 2001 and completing Initial Officer Training he was posted to RAF Church Fenton for Basic Flying Training. Upon completion, he was streamed to the Rotary fleet and arrived at RAF Shawbury in early 2003. Kev received his Pilots Wings in November 2004 and then joined the Merlin Operational Conversion Course on 28 (AC) Squadron. Since then he has achieved over 700 hours on the Merlin and during this period he has been involved in many different exercises in the UK and abroad. More recently he has completed several overseas detachments including Operations in Iraq. Crewman:
One of the Crewmen on the team this year is 29 year old Sergeant Steve Thomas, who returns for a second season after his stint on the team in 2005. Originating from Liverpool, he joined the RAF in 2000 and after training at DHFS Shawbury, he joined 28 (AC) Squadron in 2003 and converted to the Merlin Mk3. In this period of time has managed to accumulate over 1300 hours including tours in Bosnia and recently in support of Op Telic in Iraq. Steve is currently a Crewman Trainer on one of the Squadron’s Operational Flights. Crewman:
Sharing the duties of the Crewman is 37 year old Sgt Dave Bryson. Originating from Stranraer, Scotland, Dave joins the team for the first time this year. After joining the RAF in 1999 as an Air Loadmaster, he was one of the last crewmen to be trained on the Wessex helicopter where he served with 72 Squadron based at RAF Aldergrove. Following the retirement of the Wessex, he joined 28 (AC) Squadron in 2002 and has currently achieved over a 1000 hours on the Merlin Mk3. This has included several overseas detachments including Bosnia and more recently the Gulf region. Dave is a Qualified Helicopter Crewman Instructor (QHCI) on the Operational Conversion Flight. Display Manager:
The Team Manager is 36 year old Crewman instructor Flight Sergeant Gareth Attridge. Hailing from Middlesex, this is Gareth’s third year on the team. He joined the RAF in 1990 as an Air Loadmaster and after completion of training was posted to the C130 Hercules Wing at RAF Lyneham. He spent six years on 47 Squadron before transferring to the Support Helicopter Force. This was followed by four years on the Puma helicopter with 230 Squadron in Northern Ireland before moving across to his current position at RAF Benson. He is a Qualified Helicopter Crewman Instructor (QHCI) on one of 28 (AC) Squadron's Operational Flights. During his career so far, he has been on operational tours in Northern Ireland and the Balkans and more recently in the Gulf. Currently Gareth has achieved 4500 flying hours on both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
The RAF operates the largest fleet of Chinook support helicopters after the US Army. The Chinook Wing, which forms the heavy-lift element of the Joint Helicopter Command, is based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire. Odiham supports three operational squadrons, No 7 Squadron, No 18 Squadron and No 27 Squadron, and the Operational Conversion Flight (OCF). Two aircraft are also flown by No 78 Squadron from Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands on support helicopter tasks.
2013 Chinook HC2 Crew:
The captain for 2013 will be Flight Lieutenant Paul Farmer. This will be his second year with the Display Team. This year’s Co-Pilot is Flight Lieutenant Gareth Allen, the Display Manager Flight Lieutenant Kyle Thomas and the Rear Crew are Sergeants Andy Caldwell and Steve Jones.
The RAF Chinook Display this year will be flown by crew members who have recently served in Afghanistan. Members of the team, made up of personnel from 18 and 27 Squadrons, arrived back from Op Herrick as recently as December 12.
In the current RAF training programme, the Hawk T1 is the first jet aircraft that a student pilot will fly. An advanced, and very successful trainer, Hawk is used to teach operational tactics, air-to-air and air-to-ground firing, air combat and low-level operating procedures. Hawks are also flown by 100 Squadron from RAF Leeming in a wide variety of very specialised roles such as target facilities and specialist electronic warfare training. The Joint Forward Air Controller Training and Standards Unit (JFACTSU) (also based at Leeming) use Hawks for their training requirements, as well as by many test establishments and the Royal Navy.
2012 Display Hawk T1 pilot:
Flight Lieutenant Philip Bird, aged 32, was born at RAF Hospital Ely. Phil attended Farmor’s Secondary school, Fairford and joined the Air Training Corps at RAF Brize Norton. He was awarded both RAF and Air League Flying Scholarships which together enabled him to gain his PPL aged 17. He studied Economics at the University of Manchester and flew with Manchester and Salford University Air Sqn where he completed Elementary Flying Training.
Phil joined the RAF in 2002 and after completion of Initial Officer Training he was selected to be a fast jet pilot and posted to the Tucano at RAF Linton-On-Ouse. He completed Advanced Flying Training on 208 Sqn at RAF Valley before undergoing Tactical Weapons Training on 419 Sqn in Coldlake, Canada with the NATO Flying Training Program. On return to the UK Phil was selected to fly the Tornado F3. After completion of the Operational Conversion Unit on 56(R) he was posted to 43(F) Sqn at RAF Leuchars, Scotland. There he played an active role in the air defence of the UK and Falkland Islands as well as participating in large scale exercises across the UK, Europe and Middle East and became an Electronic Warfare Instructor. In 2009 he was posted to 19(F) Sqn to instruct the Tactical Weapons Course at RAF Valley, a role he now performs on 208 Sqn.
Phil’s interest in flying was sparked by his Father John, also an RAF pilot, and he has wanted to fly from a very early age.
In his spare time Phil enjoys skiing, surfing, SCUBA diving and backpacking around the world with his wife Lucie. Phil completed his second London Marathon this year, this time with the Hawk Display Team in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Phil and the Team look forward to meeting you during the 2012 season and hope that you will support them in their efforts to raise money for the RAF Benevolent fund.
The Tucano was selected in 1985 to replace the RAF's Jet Provost basic flying training aircraft which had been in service since 1955.
Some seventy percent cheaper to operate than the Jet Provost, the Tucano used by the RAF differs from the version originally developed by Embraer of Brazil and used by many air forces across the globe. The main difference is the engine - the RAF choosing a Garrett turboprop over the standard Pratt and Whitney powerplant.
2014 Display Tucano T1 pilot:
Flt Lt Dave Kirby was born in Leicester in Sep 1971, He was schooled in Leicester, at Rowley Fields Community College and then Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth Ist VI th form college.
Dave joined the RAF as a direct entrant in May 1990 as a Navigator and after completing Initial Officer Training at RAFC Cranwell went on to Navigator Training at RAF Finningley in South Yorkshire. 'Kirbs' graduated as a Navigator in June 1992 and was posted to the Tornado GR1. He completed a tour of duty at RAF Bruggen in Germany during which he flew operational sorties over Iraq on Operation Southern Watch. During the tour Kirbs was also selected to attend TLP at Florrennes in Belgium, and flew a mission lead on Exercise Red Flag as well as participating in numerous overseas exercises. In Mar 1997 Dave was posted to XV(R) Sqn at RAF Lossiemouth as an Instructor Navigator and completed the Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) course, winning the trophy for best crew. He continued to instruct on XV (R) Sqn until Aug 1999.
Dave started his second career in the RAF in Sep 1999 when he was posted to 1 Sqn RAF Linton-on-Ouse to undertake pilot training. He completed the basic phase of flying training, during which he won the Navigation & Leadership Trophies, and was posted to RAF Valley. Dave withdrew from training at Valley in May 2001 and was posted to 3 FTS RAF Cranwell to undergo Multi Engine Conversion. Dave was posted to the C130J as one of the first pilots to fly the C130J with no previous Hercules experience. During his tour as a Co-pilot Dave was on the first TacAT course and was qualified to drop the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team. Dave attained Captaincy after 3 years on the C130, then took on an instructional role on Tactical Training Flight shortly after that. Flt Lt Kirby was the Hercules display CoPilot for a season in 2006, and flew as the C130J Role Demo Captain in 2007. After 6 years at RAF Lyneham Flt Lt Kirby was appointed to Station STANEVAL, responsible for standardising all 65 C130J crews on station. During his 8 years at RAF Lyneham Kirbs completed numerous operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Flt Lt Kirby was ‘promoted’ to the Professional Aviator spine in Sep 09, and posted to RAF Linton on Ouse as a QFI. Kirbs currently instructs student pilots on the Basic Fast Jet Training course and was recently awarded above average A2 staus as a Qualified Flying Instructor. Kirbs was the Display Manager in 2013 and has now moved into the Display Pilot seat for 2014.
Grob Tutor T1
Grob Tutor T1 Display Dates/Venues
The Grob Tutor T1 replaced the Royal Air Force's fleet of Bulldog primary training aircraft from 1999 onwards. Ninety of the new aircraft are used by University Air Squadrons and Air Experience Flights at 14 locations around the country. But unusually, the aircraft are not owned and maintained by the RAF, but carry civilian registrations and serviced under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Bombardier, the contractor, will own and maintain the aircraft, and at some sites also provide such essential flying support services as air traffic control and fire cover, saving the MoD an estimated £30 Million over the life of the 10 year contract.
2012 Grob Tutor T1 pilot:
Flt Lt Shaun ‘Kimbo’ Kimberley joined the RAF as an Airman in 1988. During his time as an Avionics Technician he worked on the Tornado F3 & GR1, VC10 and Tristar. He was commissioned from the Ranks in November 1997.
Upon completion of Fast Jet flying training he was posted to the Jaguar at RAF Coltishall. Following the Jaguar he was posted to the Tornado GR4 at RAF Lossiemouth and onto 12(B) Squadron in May 2002. During his time on 12(B) Sqn he completed numerous overseas detachments and exercises and four operational tours over Iraq, including Operation Resinate South and OP Telic. He was awarded a Mention-in- Dispatches for his role during the early missions of the second Gulf War in March 2003.
Flt Lt Kimberley then became a QFI at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in 2005 and amassed over 1000hrs on the Tucano. In 2008 he was selected for the RAAF CFS Exchange at RAAF East Sale in Australia, arriving there with his family in Sep 08. During his time in Australia Flt Lt Kimberley flew multiple aircraft types, including the CT4B Piston trainer, Pilatus PC-9 Turboprop, Hawk 127 Advanced Jet Trainer and the F/A-18 Hornet fighter. Returning to the UK, Flt Lt Kimberley was posted to CFS Tutors at 115(R)Sqn, RAF Cranwell, where he trains qualified service Pilots to become QFIs. During his service career he has flown over 2600hrs in 12 different aircraft types with over 800 instructional hours.
Flt Lt Kimberley is also a Champion Hang Glider pilot, having started aged just 16. He has been British Open Champion, Forces Champion and he finished 3rd in the UK National Championships in 2006. Flt Lt Kimberley has represented Great Britain in many international competitions throughout Europe.
Flt Lt Kimberley lives Near Nottingham with his wife Tanya and their three children.
Beech King Air B200
King Air B200 Display Dates/Venues
There will not be an RAF King Air B200 display in 2013 but it may return in 2014.
The Beech King Air B200, the newest training aircraft in the RAF inventory, is a twin-engine turboprop monoplane, which first entered RAF service in 2004. It is used as an advanced, multi-engine pilot trainer by No 45(R) Squadron, which is part of No 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire. It is a well liked aircraft by it's crews and trainees.
No 45 Squadron formed at Gosport on 1st March 1916. During it's history it served in France during the first world war, Egypt and Iraq between the wars and the western desert and far east during the second world war. After the second world war the squadron stayed Asia seeing action in Maylaya. The sqaudron then reformed back in the UK with Hunters in 1970 before moving on to the Jaguar and Tornado.
In 1992, the squadron plate moved on the Jetsream multi engined training aircraft at Cranwell before converting onto the King Air in 2004.
See Beech King Air B200 webpage.
See 45 Sqn webpage.
See King Air 2009 article.
The Beech King Air B200 made its display debut in 2008. The King Air display is flown by Qualified Flying Instructors (QFIs) from 45(Reserve) Squadron based at Royal Air Force Cranwell in Lincolnshire. The 2012 display pilot is Flt Lt Ian Birchall who takes over from Leon Creese who has displayed for the past four display seasons.
AIRCRAFT AND ROLE INFORMATION
The Beechcraft King Air B200 is a twin-engine turboprop which entered RAF service in 2004. It is used as a multi-engine advanced pilot trainer by No 45(Reserve) Squadron, which is part of No 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. Prior to flying the King Air, students who have been streamed to fly multi-engine aircraft at the end of elementary flying training undertake survival training and personal development training to prepare them for the rigours of operational service. They then join No 45(R) Squadron where they complete an additional 30 hours training on the multi-engine lead-in (MELIN) course, flying Firefly M260 aircraft. During the MELIN course, students are taught crew co-operation and procedural flying skills to prepare them for their advanced flying training on the King Air.
King Air students learn essential multi-engine techniques such as general handling, asymmetric flying, emergency handling and radio-aids navigation, and consolidate the multi-crew skills acquired on the MELIN course. As the course progresses, the emphasis shifts towards developing captaincy, crew resource management, and managing the King Air's advanced avionics systems. Students also learn advanced skills such as formation flying, low-level flying and airways navigation, and are expected to plan and manage composite missions involving several aircraft. On completion of the course students are awarded their coveted pilot's wings, and then undertake conversion to their frontline aircraft type at an Operational Conversion Unit. A variety of shorter King Air courses is available, with students' previous flying experience determining which course they undertake; this experience can be as little as 100 hours for a student arriving straight from elementary flying training, to several thousand hours for a qualified pilot transferring to the multi-engine role from fast jets or helicopters.
The King Air has performed extremely well throughout its first five years in RAF service, and has proved popular with students and instructors alike. In addition to its flying training role, the King Air can be used to carry up to 6 passengers or freight. Its combination of a well-proven airframe with advanced cockpit and systems make it an ideal training platform for the new generation of multi-engine aircraft entering RAF service. In 2008, the fleet of seven King Air B200s was augmented by two B200GTs which feature improved high level cruising performance and a fully electronic 'glass cockpit'. These can be identified by the red line on their fuselage side.
The Royal Air Force Falcons are renowned as the UK's premier military parachute display team. Each year, from May through to September they perform their unique and colourful aerial display at numerous venues nationwide. All the Falcons are selected from the RAF's qualified Parachute Jumping Instructors. Team members receive further intensive training to ensure that together, they are abe to perform the highly skilled freefall and canopy manoeuvres that culminate in the Team safely landing, in quick succession, in front of the spectators. The RAF Falcons are primarily supported by the C130 Hercules aircraft and crews from RAF Lyneham but have also used the BBMF Dakota, Chinook, and Puma.
The Falcons are the RAF's Parachute Display Team which are made up from 3 officers and 10 senior NCOs who are all Physical Training Instructors from the Physical Education Branch at RAF Brize Norton.
Team for 2013:
Flt Lt Jon Conner (Officer Commanding & Team Leader), Flt Lt Chris Bailey (Dep. Officer Commanding), WO Andy Dearlove (Team Manager), FS Wayne Clayton (Falcons Team Coach), Sgt Jon Parkhurst (Falcon 2), Sgt Gary Nicholson (Falcon 3), Cpl Carl Harris (Falcon 4), Sgt Dave Worboys (Falcon 5), Cpl Rob Priestley (Falcon 6), Cpl Liam Lyons (Falcon 7), Sgt Scott Garrett (Falcon 8), Cpl Kris Williams (Falcon 9).