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Your guide to the Queen's Birthday flypast - and how the wind may affect the formation

08 June, 2019 - 09:13
Eyes to the sky - the Queen's Birthday flypast   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Eyes to the sky - the Queen's Birthday flypast Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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This weekend all eyes will turn to the sky as the Red Arrows, as well as a host of Battle of Britain veteran aircraft including a Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster, will pass over Suffolk en route to Buckingham Palace.

Try and spot these planes flying over for the Queen's Birthday flypast  Picture: ROYAL AIR FORCETry and spot these planes flying over for the Queen's Birthday flypast Picture: ROYAL AIR FORCE

And here is your guide to the Royal Air Force aircraft that will be taking part in the Queen's birthday flypast on Saturday, so you can become an amateur plane spotter.

The planes and helicopters will muster over Southwold, fly directly over Ipswich, then pass close to Colchester and Chelmsford before entering London south of Stapleford Aerodrome.

There are no official timings for when the planes will pass over Suffolk but it is only likely to take a matter of minutes to get from East Anglia to the Capital.

The aircraft will reach the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace at 1pm, and from there the Red Arrows will fly south for another display while most of the remaining planes will continue past Northholt and Wendover, before parting ways in the RAF Brize Norton area.

Squadron Leader Ben Smy, the lead planner of the flypast, said: "This is a complex mission for our aircrew to fly and requires our pilots to have a good handle on maths. By the time the formation reaches Buckingham Palace, each wave of aircraft will be just 30 seconds apart and flying between 1,000 and 1,200 feet high.

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"However, given the flying speed differences between our modern jets and our World War Two propeller driven aircraft, the pilots have to plan their run-in down to the second in order to achieve this spectacle for Her Majesty."

Winds of up to 50mph are predicted for Saturday and Mr Smy said: "The weather forecast is suggesting it could be windy which may mean some last-minute changes to which aircraft can participate. We never compromise on safety with something like this so fingers crossed the weather is kind."

The planes which plan to take part, weather permitting, include a Dakota from RAF Coningsby. This is part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and is identifiable by the black and white stripes towards the rear of the main aircraft. It will lead the aerial parade.

The Puma HC2 will follow - the first helicopter you will see - while the ChinookHC6A from RAF Benson is easy to spot, it is twin-engined and has a tandem rotor.

The Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire will follow with the smaller Spitfire and Hurricane flying either side of the larger Lancaster. All three will be wearing traditional wartime livery.

The more modern Voyager from RAF Brize Norton will be towards the rear of the procession. It is by far the largest of the aircraft taking part and easily identifiable.

Four Typhoons FGR4 3(F) will be the penultimate craft that pass over before the famous Red Arrows bring the aerial display to a colourful climax.

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