RAF Centenary Fly-past Seen in Wandsworth

Mass formation of Typhoon planes pictured flying over Wandsworth Park

Formation of Typhoons above Wandsworth Park

Wandsworth and Putney residents watched RAF typhoons, Spitfires and fighter jets and other military aircraft fly overhead this Tuesday (10 July) afternoon. The planes were seen from 1pm to 1:20pm as they returned from commemorating the centenary of the RAF.

The formation pictured above over Wandsworth Park was the largest ever formation of Typhoon aeroplanes consisting of 22 of these aircraft which had earlier formed the number 100 in the air in a feat that was only possible with extensive simulation training and practice one hundred miles out over the North Sea to maintain absolute secrecy and ensure ample space for manoeuvring.

The event was begun by the Queen delivering a speech recognising the "remarkable contribution to defence” the RAF has provided over its distinguished service. She spoke as both a citizen who witnessed the RAF’s gallant behaviour during the battle of Britain and as the daughter of King George VI who was a fully qualified RAF pilot. After her speech, the aircraft flew over Buckingham Palace began and were headed by RAF helicopters such as the Chinook and Puma.

The formation consisted of 100 aircraft with 25 different models in the largest concentration of military aircraft seen over the capital in living memory. The spectacle also included the RAF’s latest purchase, the F-35 stealth fighters, in the first public appearance of these £92 million pound planes as well as historical aircraft such as the Spitfire and Lancaster bomber.

The event also entailed a service in Westminster Abbey with over 2200 people packed into the church including members of the royal family and key political figures such as the prime minister, defence secretary and Labour party leader. During the proceedings the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, praised the RAF and its importance in maintaining Britain’s defences as well as highlighting the role his family had played as many had served as airmen in the organisation.

The fly-over was rounded out with a flight from the famous Red Arrows which were the last planes to fly in their iconic arrow formation ending the celebration of the 100 years of the RAF 100 days after its birthday on the 1st April.

Aidan Coyle

July 10, 2018