The Eighth Air Force
The United States formed the Eighth Air Force in 1942, which conducted heavy bombardment operations, from eastern England, against strategic targets in Europe, during the Second World War, using bombers such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator.
As the Eighth Air Force grew in size and experience they started pressing attacks deeper into Germany. The British bombers would attack the enemy by dropping bombs at night while the Americans conducted daylight bombing. The B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers, in a tight formation, and with their combined firepower, could defend against German fighters although the Americans did suffer considerable losses until long-range fighters such as the P-51 Mustang could escort the bombers to their targets and back.
The Eighth Air Force was called 'The Mighty Eighth' because of its size and strength during the Second World War. At its peak the Mighty Eighth could deploy more than 1,000 heavy bombers as well as fighters during a single mission.
Today, the Eighth Air Force, under 'Air Force Global Strike Command', consists of the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit strategic bombers.
80th Anniversary Flypast at Duxford and the Madingley Memorial (1st February 2022)
On Tuesday 1st February 2022, there was a flypast by a B-1B Lancer, two F-15E Strike Eagles and an RAF F-35B Lightning over Imperial War Museum Duxford and the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial (a World War II American military war grave cemetery) at Madingley in Cambridgeshire, UK. A Hawk T1 acted as the camera ship.
The 80th Anniversary Flypast formation also flew over RAF Marham in Norfolk, as well as the American bases:- RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall bases in Suffolk.
• 2x F-15 Strike Eagles
(USAF 494th FS, 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath) - 00-3004/LN & 91-0301/LN.
• 1x F-35B
(RAF/RN, 207 Sqn, RAF Marham) - ZM158/024.
• 1x B1B Lancer
(USAF 34 Bomber Sqn, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota) - 86-0129.
• 1x Hawk
(Camera ship - XX191).
The B-1B Lancer flew directly from South Dakota, across the Atlantic, to the United Kingdom and back for the 80th anniversary Flypast. Three B-1B Lancers took part in the mission but just one was able to complete the crossing to the UK and back.
The two F-15E Strike Eagles are based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk and the RAF F-35B Lightning is based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
Formation Transit by 7 MIL ACFT conducting Flypast at Duxford and Madingley Memorial Routing:
1. 525940N 0004020E BRANCASTER - 11.47am
2. 523936N 0003735E MARHAM AD - 11.51am
3. 522439N 0003328E LAKENHEATH AD - 11.54am
4. 521637N 0003405E VCY BURY ST EDMUNDS - 11.56am
5. 520543N 0000829E DUXFORD AD - 12.00pm
6. 520805N 0000210E VCY WIMPOLE HALL - 12.02pm
7. 521337N 0000323E MADINGLEY MEMORIAL - 12.03pm
8. 522209N 0002911E MILDENHALL AD - 12.07pm
Tuesday 1st February 2022. Formation plans to transit at 500-2000FT.
NOTAMS (All times are local (GMT). Timings and route may change due to weather or other requirements).
• Royal Air Force News.
80th Anniversary of the Mighty Eighth - Google Map of Route (based on NOTAMS):