On 10 July 2018, exactly 100 years and 100 days after the formation of the world’s first independent air force, 103 aircraft of twenty-four types from twenty-five squadrons flew over London in the largest formation of military aircraft seen over the capital of the UK in nearly thirty years. Involving over 250 aircrew and operating out of fourteen military and two civilian airfields, with nineteen back-up aircraft and a stand-by air-to-air refuelling tanker, the Royal Air Force put on a unrivalled display to mark the centenary of its creation on 1 April 1918, in the closing months of the First World War. This book reveals how the flypast was conceived and examines the detailed planning involved in the event, written by someone who would know – the project manager and coordinator.
The composition and size of the flypast was truly momentous, comprising virtually every type of aircraft that the RAF operated at the time. As Chief of Staff at the Tornado GR4 Force Headquarters operating from RAF Marham, and an experienced Tornado GR4 Navigator, Wing Commander Kevin Gatland had the task of pulling together all the necessary components, both military and civilian required to produce an unrivalled aerial display. This involved considering the feasibility of assembling so many varied types of aircraft, all with different speeds and capabilities, in addition to concentrating them into a tight schedule to produce a virtually continuous stream of aircraft over central London.
This book reveals the story behind the the amazing spectacle that was witnessed by the Queen from Buckingham Palace and the thousands who gathered in The Mall or who watched at home.