UK: Yeovilton Air Day 2012 Officially Launched in Somerset

Yeovilton Air Day 2012 Officially Launched in Somerset

Award-winning Yeovilton Air Day – the main public showcase for naval aviation in 2012 – has been officially launched in Somerset, with this year’s event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands.

The show, which takes place on Saturday June 23, is one of the largest one-day events in the South-west, and returns this summer with an action-packed day out for all the family.

Air day typically attracts more than 30,000 visitors and aircraft not just from across the UK, but across the world. Last year’s show was awarded Silver at the South-west Tourism Excellence Awards in the ‘Event of the Year’ category.

This year’s Falklands 30 theme will be spearheaded by the mighty Avro Vulcan B2 CH588 – a genuine veteran on the 1982 conflict, making its third appearance at the show.

Every single RNAS Yeovilton based Naval Air Squadron participated in the conflict: in all, the Somerset base supplied a total of 126 aircraft and more than 1,400 personnel flying and supporting them.

Royal Navy participants at this June’s show will include Merlins from RNAS Culdrose and home-grown talent in the form of the Black Cats Lynx display team, whose intricate and fast paced display is always an Air Day highlight.

The world’s only airworthy De Havilland Sea Vixen is another regular Air Day participant and will give a sweeping display reminiscent of the Fleet Air Arm of the 1960s.

It will be joined by a Douglas Skyraider, appearing at Air Day for the first time since being repainted into an attractive new US Navy scheme.

The Red Arrows, this year in a seven-jet formation, will lead the RAF’s contribution, joined by the RAF Tornado GR4, the ever-popular Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, plus Hawk and Tucano trainers, the latter presented this year in a vibrant scheme honouring the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Army Air Corps will supplement its planned involvement in the commando assault with a rare Lynx MK9 solo display.

A number of foreign fliers hope to participate in the show and, while final confirmations are still to be confirmed in many cases, the Saudi Hawks –the Middle East’s equivalent of the Red Arrows –will be making only their second ever UK appearance at this year’s air day.

Equipped, like the Red Arrows, with BAE Hawks, they’re a world record-breaking and award-winning six-aircraft team painted in the vibrant green and white colours of the Saudi Arabian flag.

The day will close with the ever-impressive commando assault with explosions, and helicopters flying in armoured vehicles and troops.

“It will be a vivid reminder of some of the work Royal Navy helicopters did as all-rounder workhorses during the Falklands War,” said air display director Cdr Neil Thompson.

“There will be pyrotechnics aplenty when the newly-formed Red Star Rebels team of Czech-built Aero L-29 Delfin jet trainers ‘attack’ the airfield in a Cold War themed finale of a kind never seen before.”

Yeovilton’s Commanding Officer Commodore Paul Chivers OBE added:

“It promises to be a spectacular day and we’re hoping to build on the silver award in the South West Tourism Excellence Awards from last year. The Falklands 30 commemoration is proving to be a popular theme.”


Naval Today Staff , April 20, 2012; Image: royalnavy