in Aerospace / Events

BA celebrates centenary with the Red Arrows at RIAT

Posted 23 July 2019 · Add Comment

Flight BA100 - a British Airways jumbo jet specially decorated as part of the airline's centenary celebrations this year - led the display at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) on Saturday 20th July, flanked by nine Hawk jets belonging to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.


Courtesy British Airways / RAFAT


The special Boeing 747 has been painted in the airline’s predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery to mark British Airways’ centenary this year.

Senior First Officer Tom Perrins was at the controls, while Captain Richard Allen-Williams was in command of the aircraft. They were joined on the flight deck by Captain Simon Scholey and Captain Jonny Lutton.

Also on board was cabin crew member, Julia Lowes, whose brother Flight Lieutenant Dan Lowes is Red 9. Julia, who was in the cabin during the fly-past, waved to her older brother who was flying behind.

Julia Lowes said: “I only joined British Airways four months ago and this is Dan’s last year flying in the Reds so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Dan and I have both pursued our dream careers, but to fly together is something I’d never have imagined. It was fantastic watching Dan in action from the BOAC aircraft. Aviation is a very much a family affair as our Dad was a 747 Captain and our younger brother is a First Officer.”

Captain Richard Allen-Williams said: “We hope the sight of our BOAC liveried Boeing747 provided a wonderfully nostalgic moment for the Air Tattoo audience today. It was a huge honour for us to fly alongside the Red Arrows at RAF Fairford and to do so in our centenary year is even more special.”

Squadron Leader Martin Pert, Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said: “Flying alongside this British Airways Boeing 747 is an incredibly memorable moment for our pilots and those watching on the ground. The Royal Air Force’s own centenary celebrations – marked a year ago – demonstrated the importance of using these high-profile occasions to inspire the next generation and we hope this flypast did exactly that. It was a truly best of British flypast.”

The airline has a long history of displaying in the Air Tattoo and first joined the flying programme in 1985 when Concorde and the Red Arrows flew together in a dramatic display. In the early 2000s several British Airways 747s and 777s performed a fly past, and in 2013, the airline performed with the Red Arrows once again, to the delight of the large Air Tattoo crowd.

The BOAC 747’s appearance at the air show is one of a number of centenary initiatives organised by British Airways that are designed to look ahead to the next 100 years of aviation. The airline is also hosting BA 2119 - a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.

The airshow, whose theme for 2019 was Air & Space: Inspiring the Next Generation Air Force, attracted 170,000 visitors including British astronaut Maj Tim Peake. Maj Peake dedicated most of his visit engaging with young people in the critically acclaimed Techno Zone. He said: “It was satisfying to see the wonderful impact that the Techno Zone is having in promoting STEM and inspiring youngsters.”



Above: RIAT 2019.
Courtesy RAFAT

In total, 245 aircraft from 39 air arms representing 25 nations took part in the event, including the RAF Red Arrows, whose performance on Sunday marked their final UK public display this year before they depart on their Western Hawk 19 tour of North America.

Over the three days of the airshow, spectacular aerial set pieces were staged and NATO’s 70th anniversary was marked by a commemorative flypast by aircraft from a number of member nations including F-16s from Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. They were joined by three RAF Typhoons, F-15s from the US Air Force, a German Typhoon and a French KC-135.

Other set pieces staged during the three days included a joint flypast by the Red Arrows and French aerobatic display team the Patrouille France, plus a rare joint formation by an Airbus A400M and civilian aerobatic team The Blades.

Flying display highlights included the Romanian Mikoyan MiG-21, an icon from the Cold War that hasn’t flown at the Air Tattoo since 2001 and the Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-27, which performed an imposing and agile display. There was also a debut by the hugely popular Spanish Navy Harrier duo.

On the ground, visitors were able to see up close rarely seen aircraft including a giant Qatari C-17, the imposing USAF B-52 and rare F-4 Phantoms from the Turkish Air Force.

British and Swedish government ministers used the show to herald a new agreement to work together on a future fighter aircraft, the Tempest, further cementing the show’s growing role as a showcase for aerospace and technology.

Among the many senior military guests were Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee; General David Goldfein, US Air Force Chief of Staff, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force. Senior industry guests included Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence & Space.

Also at the airshow were HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade; Minister for Defence Procurement Mr Stuart Andrew, Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Mark Lancaster.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The past three days have been out of this world. We’ve seen an incredible display of aircraft from around the globe both in the air and on the ground as well as some memorable, unique joint flypasts.

“With the Air Tattoo taking place on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, we’ve also had the opportunity to inspire our thousands of young visitors who’ve been discovering some of the exciting ways space will play a part in their future.”



 

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