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A Tale of Two Royal Flypasts

04 May 2023

A Tale of Two Royal Flypasts

The Royal Family of Britain has always had a close relationship with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and with the King's Coronation only around the corner, the Royal Air Force have another memorable flypast lined up to celebrate the day.

Flypasts, where aircraft fly in formation overhead, have become a significant symbol of the Royal Family's relationship with the Royal Air Force and we decided to look back at two of the most famous flypasts in history, which took place over London, one in 1953 and the other in 2022, both in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • The Queen's Review of the Royal Air Force in 1953

In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II had just ascended to the throne, and the country was celebrating her coronation. The Queen's Review of the Royal Air Force was a significant event that marked the first public appearance of the new monarch.

The Queen arrived at RAF Odiham, where she inspected over 300 planes and met with the pilots before they flew to London. She was particularly impressed with the fighter planes, including the Gloster Meteor, which was the first operational jet-powered aircraft used by the RAF.

Over 600 aircraft participated in the flypast, including fighters, bombers, and transport planes which will likely never be matched again, such was the size of the RAF's fleet post World War II.

The Queen stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the flypast and was impressed by the display of military might.

The flypast included several formations, including a "V" formation of 36 Vickers Valiants, which were the first nuclear bombers in the RAF's fleet at the time. The "V" formation was designed to represent the Roman numeral for five, which symbolised the five operational squadrons of the Valiant aircraft. The flypast also featured a "Diamond Nine" formation of the Hawker Hunter fighter planes, which left a trail of coloured smoke in the sky.

  • The Flypast Over Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Jubilee Celebration in 2022

The next flypast was only last year, during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70 years on the throne. While Prince Louis, the Queen's great-grandson, may have stolen some of the Royal Air Force's limelight with his enthusiastic reactions and playful behaviour, there was also a lot going on up in the sky.

The flypast over Buckingham Palace, which featured over 100 aircraft, including helicopters, fighters, transport planes, and drones was a tribute to the Queen's unwavering commitment to the country and her role as a symbol of national unity.

The planes flew in several formations, including a "100" formation made up of 22 Typhoon fighter planes that flew over the palace, forming the number "100" in the sky.

There was also another display of the "Diamond Nine" formation made up of nine Eurofighter Typhoon fighter planes, mirroring the formation displayed in 1953. The flypast also included the historic Lancaster Bomber, which flew over the palace as part of a formation with a Spitfire and Hurricane.

In conclusion, flypasts have been a significant part of the Royal Family's relationship with the Royal Air Force. These flypasts will be remembered as symbols of national unity and the close relationship between the Royal Family and the RAF.

We are excited to see what the Royal Air Force comes up with to celebrate the dawn of The King's new reign. In the meantime, you can book for our Vintage Flying or Spitfire Flight experiences to enjoy some time in the air in equally iconic military aircraft with us here at FlyDays.

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