Saturday 13 July will see RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset open its doors for Air Day, returning to its traditional slot between Waddington and the Royal International Air Tattoo. Despite a couple of high profile cancellations, the sort that seem to have plagued the show in recent years, Air Day promises to be one of the shows of the year, with a full and varied line up of military, classic, warbird and civilian types amounting to more than five hours of flying.
The main theme for Air Day is teamwork, and this will be evident in many of the displays throughout the day, no more so than in Yeovilton’s showpiece Commando Assault, a spectacular thirty minute set piece. In the air, the usual gaggle of ‘Junglie’ Sea Kings and Lynx of the Commando Helicopter Force and Hawks of the 736 NAS will be complemented by an Apache and Wildcat from the AAC in supporting the multitude of troops and vehicles on the ground.
Further evidence of teamwork will come courtesy of the Maritime demonstration, featuring the locally based Lynx helicopters and outlining the range of roles they undertake on a day to day basis. Yeovilton has become famous for its liberal use of pyrotechnics, and both displays promise plenty of fireworks!
Headlining the international participation will be the Czech pair of L-159 ALCA and JAS-39C Gripen, supported by a Casa CN 295. It will be the first time both jets, and the Czech Republic itself, have appeared at Air Day, with both displays promising plenty of noise and flares. The Gripen will be particularly eye catching in its vivid new Tigermeet colours.
Belgium is a regular supporter of Air Day, returning in force this year with the A109BA and the ever impressive F-16 solos. Again, expect plenty of flare releases from both. Support for these will come in the form of a Hercules, which will take its place in the static park.
Rounding off the international flying participants are the stalwarts of Air Day that are the Royal Jordanian Falcons. Further foreign aircraft are planned for static display in the form of a pair of PC-7 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, a pair of Lynx and a Do 228 from the German Navy and a single M-28 Bryza, courtesy of the Polish Navy.
Air Day has a number of unique flypasts planned. Joining the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s Swordfish will be the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft, the Wildcat, in a formation that will represent 80 years of Naval air power. The Wildcat’s Army counterpart will be joined by its predecessor, the Lynx AH.7, for a present and future flypast, the latter performing its own stunning solo display. The RNHF Sea Fury T.20 is expected to perform a flypast with Kennet’s Skyraider before each completing their own solo routines.
Naturally, Royal Navy support is strong, with the aforementioned displays supplemented by the Black Cats’ solo Lynx and a rarely seen Merlin HM2 in the air, with a full range of the Fleet Air Arms finest, past and present, on the ground.
Not to be outdone by the dark blues, the RAF is supporting Yeovilton en-masse. The Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will offer further support of the teamwork theme, complementing the Tucano, Typhoon and Chinook solo displays, and a rare opportunity to see an RAF C-17 Globemaster III perform a flypast. On the ground, Air Day will be treated to a final appearance from a VC-10, which will be joined by an additional Typhoon and MerlinHC.3/A.
The Empire Test Pilots’ School from nearby Boscombe Down will be making a rare appearance at Air Day, bringing along their smart looking A109 and RJ100, whilst Hawker Hunter Aviation will send one of their Hunters to join them in the static display.
Leading the line for civilian operated participants is Vulcan XH558, which will once again operate from Yeovilton for the show. It is hoped she can be joined by another classic jet, the stunning Sea Vixen, although there is some doubt whether it can achieve a display authority in time. We shall see!
Making their Yeovilton début will be the Red Star Rebels, flying a pair of L-29 Delfins; once again, expect plenty of pyrotechnics. Another duo in the form of the RV8tors will perform their precise routine of formation aerobatics. A rather unusual performer at Air Day will be an Eastern Airways SAAB 2000. It’s unclear quite what to expect from the display, but it’s always interesting to see a large airliner type thrown around the sky.
Completing the warbird action will be Richard Lake’s Buchon and Spitfire Mk.XVI, whilst Peter Teichman will return to Yeovilton once again at the controls of his P-51D Mustang Jumpin Jacques. In addition to the Skyraider, Kennet Aviation will also display their T-6 Texan, a regular visitor to Yeovilton.
With something for everyone, Yeovilton promises to be a season highlight. Gates open at the traditional time of 09:00, with the flying scheduled for an 11:00 start. Tickets on the gate are priced at £25 per adult and senior, £10 per child.
Win tickets to the show!
If you haven’t already got a ticket for the airshow, with many thanks to the team at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day, we’ve got a pair of tickets up for grabs for Saturday’s show.
Simply answer the question below with ‘Yeovilton Tickets’ as the subject and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org:
This year, Air Day is commemorating the 70th anniversary of which battle of the Second World War?
Closing time for entries is midnight tomorrow, Tuesday 9 July, so that tickets can be posted on Wednesday 10 July.
The prize is for a pair of tickets only – no travel or hospitality is included and entries received after the deadline will not be included in the draw.