Planning is well underway for one of the Royal Navy's premier public events – the International Air Day at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset. As the Royal Navy's only air show, it will now be known as the Royal Navy International Air Day and will take place on Saturday 13 July 2019.
The Royal Navy has been at the forefront of technological innovation in Maritime Aviation for over 100 years. This is destined to continue with the first landing, this autumn, of an F-35B Lightning II on HMS Queen Elizabeth - the world's first aircraft carrier designed around operating a fifth-generation fighter jet. The subtle but significant name change reflects this but also the aspiration to build on the growing reputation of the airshow by attracting further participation by foreign naval air arms and maritime aircraft.
Commodore Nick Tindal, Commanding Officer, RNAS Yeovilton, states that:
"The Royal Navy International Air Day will celebrate modern and historical Air Power in its many forms not least its central role for Maritime Capability and for the capabilities of our sister services, the Army and Royal Air Force.
It is also an opportunity to welcome our NATO, European and other close Allies and Partners from across the globe underlining the importance of international cooperation and the international nature of Royal Navy and UK military operations."
RNAS Yeovilton, the spiritual home of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, will open their gates to up to 40,000 visitors to enjoy the magnificent five hour flying display, meet our Armed Forces personnel and see their equipment up close. There will also be a huge array of educational ground attractions from interactive Service displays to engineering fairs and state-of-the-art defence technology exhibitions. Families will also be able to enjoy trade stalls, arena displays, helicopter pleasure flights, simulators and fairground rides. Further information on tickets will be announced in due course.
Smoke on! The world-class Red Arrows will lead the Royal Air Force's centenary involvement at this year's RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day on Saturday 7 July. The RAF has had the Red Arrows as its official aerobatic team for over half its lifespan. Flying their nine red-painted BAe Hawk T1 jet trainers, 2018's Red Arrows are led by a new 'Red 1', Squadron Leader Martin Pert. The team's all-action routine is sure to be an Air Day highlight once more, peaking with the Synchro Pair's breath-taking crossing manoeuvres.
Joining the RAF convoy are a pair of Supermarine Spitfires, from the Royal Air Force's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby. A landmark RAF type, the immortal Spitfire is among the most famous of WW2 fighters. Also inbound is Dakota III ZA947: the flight's example of US manufacturer Douglas' ubiquitous twin-engine transport aircraft. In its No. 233 Squadron D-Day markings, the BBMF Dakota adds further RAF100 flavour to the show.
Bring the noise! The Typhoon FGR4 will be showcasing the sharp end of the RAF. A true multirole combat aircraft, the Typhoon's taskings include UK QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duties, air-to-air combat, air policing and peace support. Demonstrating the type's outstanding performance capability will be Flight Lieutenant Jim Peterson, this year's RAF Typhoon Display Team pilot.
The uniquely airworthy Bristol Sycamore will also be delivering some RAF100 zest to the show. Entering RAF service ahead of all other British-designed helicopters, the Sycamore was a real rotary pioneer. It was first flown in July 1947, barely two years after the end of WW2. Less than a dozen Sycamores now remain and this one, as the world's only flyer, brings distinction and rarity to Air Day.