Marham hosts royal flypast rehearsal
As the dots in the sky grew bigger, the distant rumble became an earth-shaking thunder as wave after wave passed overhead.East Anglian skies were filled with aircraft yesterday as RAF Marham staged a dress rehearsal for the Queen's Birthday Flypast.
As the dots in the sky grew bigger, the distant rumble became an earth-shaking thunder as wave after wave passed overhead.
East Anglian skies were filled with aircraft yesterday as RAF Marham staged a dress rehearsal for the Queen's Birthday Flypast.
All four of the Norfolk base's Tornado squadrons will be taking part in Saturday's display over Buckingham Palace.
Wing Cmdr Dave Waddington, whose aircraft will be leading the Marham formation, said: “Everyone taking part is very proud and privileged to be doing so. Everyone feels a little bit of pressure but immense pride in representing the Tornado force not just from Marham but from Lossiemouth too.
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“It takes a lot of effort from the engineers to get all these aircraft ready at the same time. We'll also have a couple of other aircraft airborne to cover eventualities.”
Yesterday nearly 50 aircraft assembled off the Suffolk coast, before returning to Marham in formation.
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Led by nine of the RAF's new multi-role Typhoon aircraft, the flight included a VC10, AWAC, C17, Nimrod and Tri-Star aircraft.
Sixteen of the 31 Tornados taking part are based at Marham and they brought up the rear in style as they flew over the base in inch-perfect diamond formation, their wing tips almost touching.
Among those stepping outside to watch the aircraft was Wing Cmdr Simon Ellard, RAF Marham's head of engineering.
“It's the first time we've had 16 aircraft in a diamond formation since the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, in 1990, when I was on my first tour as a junior officer,” he said.
Other aircraft from Marham will be standing by on the day to act as under studies, ready to step in if an aircraft taking part in the flypast has to pull out because of mechanical problems.
Air and ground crews from the base feel its prominent role in the 82-year-old Monarch's official birthday celebrations is a tribute to their work in maintaining the peace in Iraq, where II (AC) Sqn, IX (B) Sqn, XIII Sqn and 31 Sqn have all served tours of duty.
At present personnel from Norfolk are deployed both in a number of operational theatres including Iraq and Afghanistan.
As well as the Queen's Birthday Flypast, this weekend marks the start of a new chapter at Marham. Air Commodore Phil “Osby” Osborn OBE, who has commanded the station since November 2006, hands over to Group Capt Colin Basnett, in a brief ceremony at 1pm tomorrow.
Saturday will be Air Commodore Osborn's last flight for sometime, as he takes up a job in Whitehall.
The Queen's Birthday Flypast will take place over Buckingham palace, from 1pm on Saturday.