Everything you need to know about the RAF 100 flypast
PUBLISHED: 19:30 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:42 05 July 2018
A “once-in-a-lifetime” flypast of historic and modern aircraft will pass over Suffolk and Essex to mark the RAF’s 100th anniversary.
The RAF 100 flypast will take place on July 10 and will be the largest concentration of military aircraft in recent memory.
Up to 100 jets, aeroplanes and helicopters from across a range of different eras of RAF history are expected to take part - including Spitfires and modern state-of-the-art aircraft.
Here are some of the questions surrounding the event.
When and where?
The fly past will take place on July 10 and will begin to form over Suffolk to the west of Ipswich at around 12.45pm.
It will then skirt to the south of Ipswich travelling in a south-westerly direction towards Colchester.
The formation will then pass to the north of Colchester, heading towards Marks Tey, Kelvedon and Witham before passing to the north and east of Chelmsford on its way to London. The formation will continue over the M25, Stapleford Abbotts, Hainault Forest and on to central London - passing the Olympic Park, Hackney, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch before getting to Buckingham Palace and The Mall at around 1pm.
Where can I see it in Ipswich?
For security reasons exact timings and locations to see the flypast can’t be released.
However, Alan Powell from the Martlesham Heath Aviation Society, gave his advice he said: “It would seem that the flight follows the path of the A12 and I believe a popular local spot in the past has been at the “Toys R Us” roundabout.”
Simon Parker, who photographs flypasts, said: “ I have photographed the flypasts before but reading the route for this one it is a bit vague for the Suffolk area as I read it as joining the route to the west of Ipswich. Usually they come right over the centre of Ipswich and south along the A12 from Copdock Interchange.”
Readers made suggestions based on previous fly-bys they said Pinewood, near the Copdock Interchange, and Hawthorn Drive.
Will 100 aircraft fly on the day?
The weather across the holding areas where the aircraft take off are key and may affect the numbers involved.
If the weather is bad or unsuitable in any of these areas, some aircraft may not join the flypast or it could be cancelled altogether.
Wing Commander, Kev Gatland said operational commitments of the aircraft are another reason why they might not take part, as is the serviceability of each one.
Which aircraft will take part?
Weather and serviceability dependent the line-up includes the new cutting-edge stealth fighter F-35 jets as well as helicopters including the Puma, Chinook, Juno and Jupiter.
Aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight including the Dakota, Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire are also part of the line-up. As well as training aircraft including the Prefect, Tucano and Hawk.
The Hercules, Atlas A400M, C-17, BAe 146, Sentinel, Voyager, Shadow, Rivet Joint, E-3D Sentry, Tornado GR4, Typhoon and Red Arrows are also all set to appear.
How will it all happen?
The aircraft will take off from where they are based and fly into their designated holding areas - this is where they will circle and move into their formations until it is time to join the flypast.
What speeds will the aircraft be doing?
Wg Cdr Gatland said: “The front aircraft, the helicopters, are doing 90 knots, so about 100 miles an hour, the back aircraft, which will be the Red Arrows, are doing about 300 knots - just over 300 miles an hour.
“They obviously compress, they are at their tightest when they go over Buckingham Palace with a 30-second spacing in between.
“At that point we need to geographically deconflict them all safely using height, track lines away from each other and timing to keep them all clear.”
How high will the aircraft be flying?
Wg Cdr Gatland revealed that they will be between 1,000ft and 1,200ft above the ground. He said their heights are alternated “through wake turbulence” and to provide space if the aircraft “happen to get too close”.
What happens after the aircraft have passed over Buckingham Palace?
Wg Cdr Gatland said the dispersal, or what is known as egress, is where the aircraft then head back to their bases, and is one of the most important aspects.
He said there will be a “bomb burst” of up to 100 aircraft once they have passed over the royal family in Buckingham Palace and a packed Mall.
The three sections of the flypast will head into different directions, with the larger, heavier aircraft including the Sentinel and Voyager heading towards Runnymede.
The training aircraft will head towards Hendon and the fast jets including the Typhoon and Tornados will pass over Heathrow, Windsor and Maidenhead before going back to their bases.
How has it been planned?
The event has been planned using what Wg Cdr Gatland called “fantastic” and “very accurate” software in which speeds, routes and locations are entered and worked out.
They have also conducted flights over the planned route to check for obstructions - including new tall buildings and cranes on top of buildings that are being erected.