This year’s Yeovilton Air Day event on Saturday 26th July takes ‘Carrier Aviation’ as its main theme. The theme highlights the development of airpower deployed at sea, which has played an important part in protecting the nations interests in the past, present and will continue into the future. Participants include some of the most famous types to have operated from the Nation’s aircraft carriers, joined by modern day fast jets, historic aircraft and aerobatic display teams.
Air Day 2014 take place in the same month that the largest warship in Royal Navy history is officially named on 4th July. The HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier naming ceremony is the inspiration for the Air Day’s ‘Carrier Aviation’ theme and a large number of aircraft flown from ships’ decks will assemble at RNAS Yeovilton for the event. Bringing the Carrier Aviation story right up to date, Air Day 2014 will present the Royal Navy’s brand-new Wildcat HM2 and the upgraded Merlin HM2 helicopters.
A Wildcat HM2 has also been added to the Royal Navy Black Cats helicopter display team to reinstate its two-ship routine in a new pairing with the Lynx HMA8. Three more Lynx HMA8s will carry out a Maritime Role Demonstration while, as ever, the awe inspiring Commando Assault will merge Commando Helicopter Force Sea King HC4s, armoured vehicles, troops and intense pyrotechnics into an all-action set piece, illustrating how these air and ground assets would combine in reality on the frontline.
Other based contributions comprise the restored aircraft of the Royal Navy Historic Flight (RNHF). A regular Air Day contributor, the flight hopes this year to have its Sea Fury FB11 airworthy in time for the show, with the two-seater Sea Fury T20 allocated in its place if the FB11 is not available. Similarly, efforts are underway to ensure that the flight can display two airworthy Fairey Swordfish together. A contemporary of the Swordfish was the Supermarine Seafire – the Spitfire’s navalised derivative andthe only Seafire now flying in Europe will make its first Air Day appearance since 2010; its inclusion is especially timely given the type’s involvement in the D-Day landings of 70 years ago.
In the post-war jet age, one of the most iconic types tasked with the fleet air defence role was the Phantom FG1. While long out of service, the type will be represented at Air Day by a static airframe. Probably the most famous of the Fleet Air Arm’s fast jets, the Sea Harrier, will also be present with two static examples of the Vertical Short Take Off and Landing (V-STOL) FA2 strike fighter on show.
Making their Air Day debut are a fine pair of post war military jet designs in the private hands of the Midair Squadron. Their recently restored Canberra and Hunter will be a very welcome addition to the flying display. Another privately operated classic British jet, the hugely popular Avro Vulcan is also on the attendance list.
From the Army Air Corps, the Lynx AH7 will again put on a very agile and dynamic helicopter display while the British Army’s own version of the Wildcat is another participant in the Commando Assault, with further examples as part of the static display.
The RAF’s contribution includes the show stopping and award winning Chinook display, an incredible sight. From our NATO partners, the Belgian Air Component F-16 and the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet will perform noisy, energetic and smoke enhanced solo flying displays. Both displays will include spectacular flare releases, a sight seen at few other UK airshow locations besides RNAS Yeovilton. Further NATO involvement is currently in negotiation and details of any other contributions secured will be announced in due course.
This year marks the centenary of World War One and in acknowledgement the Great War Display Team’s replica WW1 aircraft will help us remember the intrepid men and machines of a century ago. The team’s fleet includes a Sopwith Triplane, one of the earliest types employed by the Royal Naval Air Service. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Dakota will appear in tribute to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, while Air Day stalwarts the Royal Jordanian Falcons will return to give yet another immaculate formation aerobatic sequence. Defence research organisation QinetiQ’s AgustaWestland A109, an Embraer ERJ 135 regional jet from BMI Regional and members of the brand new Gazelle Squadron Display Team will be among the static display’s stand out items, alongside numerous historic aircraft and examples of today’s Royal Navy aircraft types.
A standard entrance ticket on the day is priced at £25 for Adults and £12 for Children Under 16. Savings are available with advance tickets priced at £20 and £6 respectively. Children Under 5 gain entry free of charge. There are also special packages covering entrance to the Grandstand, Flightline Enclosure or Swordfish Enclosure. Details of these, along with the latest aircraft participation information, can be found at www.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday or by calling the Ticketline 08445 781 781.
AeroResource would like to thank Tracey Clempson, Public Relations Officer at RNAS Yeovilton for the invitation and fulfilling our request to be able to attend the media day.