RAF's Centenary Flypast

The Story Behind the Event that Marked 100 Years of the Royal Air Force

Kevin Lee Gatland

Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
Air World
Illustration :
150 color illustrations & diagrams
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526788405
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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On 10 July 2018, exactly 100 years and 100 days after the formation of the world’s first independent air force, 103 aircraft of twenty-four types from twenty-five squadrons flew over London in the largest formation of military aircraft seen over the capital of the UK in nearly thirty years.

Involving over 250 aircrew and operating out of fourteen military and two civilian airfields, with nineteen back-up aircraft and a standby air-to-air refueling tanker, the Royal Air Force put on a unrivaled display to mark the centenary of its creation on 1 April 1918, in the closing months of the First World War. Exemplifying that long and proud history, was the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dakota of the Memorial Flight, as well as the enduring Hercules, with the newly acquired F-35B Lightning displaying the RAF’s continuing global importance.

This book reveals how the flypast was conceived and examines the detailed planning involved in the event, written by someone who would know – the project manager and coordinator. The composition and size of the flypast was truly momentous, comprising virtually every type of aircraft that the RAF operated at the time.

As Chief of Staff at the Tornado GR4 Force Headquarters operating from RAF Marham, and an experienced Tornado GR4 Navigator, Wing Commander Kevin Gatland had the task of pulling together all the necessary components, both military and civilian required to produce an unrivaled aerial display. This involved considering the feasibility of assembling so many varied types of aircraft, all with different speeds and capabilities, in addition to concentrating them into a tight schedule to produce a virtually continuous stream of aircraft over central London, with elements breaking off to pass over the northerly runway at Heathrow Airport, the RAF Memorial at Runnymede, Windsor Castle and the RAF Museum at Hendon.

Beautifully illustrated with glorious color in-flight photographs of the magnificent aircraft of the current RAF as well as the briefing and planning session, this book demonstrates the enormous range of factors that had to be taken into consideration to produce the amazing spectacle that was witnessed by the Queen from Buckingham Palace and the thousands who gathered in The Mall – an event captured in the pages of this fascinating book.

About The Author

Wing Commander KEVIN GATLAND OBE, MA, joined the Royal Air Force in May 2000. After completing fast jet navigator training, he served on Nos 12(B), XV(R) and 617 Squadrons at RAF Lossiemouth and No.31 Squadron at RAF Marham. Completing a number of tours in Iraq during Operation Telic, Afghanistan in Operation Herrick and Iraq, again under Operation Shader, he also instructed new and returning Tornado aircrew and completed the Qualified Weapons Instructor Course. Promoted to Squadron Leader in 2010 he was posted to MoD Abbeywood as the Tornado Requirements Manager. After returning to frontline duties, and running the Tornado Standards Unit, he was promoted to Wing Commander in 2015 and, having completed the Advanced Command and Staff Course, he became the Tornado Force Headquarters Chief of Staff. Post the RAF 100 Flypast, his final roles were to programme manage the Tornado Force disbandment activities and coordinate the D-Day 75th anniversary flypast at Southampton, as well as the NATO 70th anniversary flypast at Fairford.

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