Keep your eyes to the skies as spectacular flypast soars over region
- Credit: Archant
A spectacular flypast of aircraft spanning the history of the RAF will cross the skies of Suffolk today to mark the RAF’s 100th anniversary.
Up to 100 aeroplanes, helicopters and jets will soar though the clouds - from wartime Hurricanes and Spitfires to Typhoon and Tornado jets.
Aircraft will take off from their respective bases and fly into a holding pattern before joining the flypast.
People in Suffolk are being advised to keep their eyes to the skies as the flypast begins to form to the west of Ipswich at around 12.45pm.
They will then swoop to the south of the town before heading to Colchester.
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It was 100 years ago on April 1, 1918, that the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to create the RAF - the world’s first independent air service.
Britain’s cutting-edge stealth fighter jet, the F-35 jet, will also join the flypast, the first time the aircraft has flown as part of a public event since touching down on UK soil.
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The officer commanding 617 squadron, Wing Commander John Butcher, is set to fly an one of the high-tech jets during the spectacle, and said for him personally it is “very important” for the jets to feature.
“That will be the first that we will have flown it in a public environment since we landed back, so it is an exciting opportunity,” he said.
“Now we just need to make sure the jets are in a good place to fly.”
Aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial flight (BBMF) will include the Dakota, Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire as well as training aircraft including Prefect, Tucano and Hawk.
Set to fly in one of the fighters during the centenary year celebration, Squadron Leader Millikin said it is an “amazing privilege”.
“It is one of those dream come true situations, and I still pinch myself every time I go out to fly one of those aeroplanes - it is wonderful,” he said.
The Tornado GR4, Typhoon, the Hercules, Atlas A400M, C-17, BAe 146, Sentinel, Voyager and Shadow aircraft will also be among the stunning display as will a host of helicopters including the Puma, Chinook, Juno and Jupiter.
And of course the iconic Red Arrows will be there - streaking the skies with red, white and blue trails.
Where to watch
Scores of aircraft will soar over Suffolk and Essex today - but where should you stand to get a good view?
For security reasons, exact timings and locations to see the flypast can’t be released however as a rough guide, it should fly over Ipswich at around 12.45pm.
It will then pass to the north of Colchester heading towards Marks Tey and Kelvedon before flying to the north east of Chelmsford.
Alan Powell from the Martlesham Heath Aviation Society gave his advice on where to see it in Ipswich.
“It would seem that the flight follows the path of the A12 and I believe a popular local spot in the past has been at the Toys R Us roundabout’.
“Simon Parker, who photographs fly-pasts, said: “Usually they come tight over the centre of Ipswich and south along the A12 from the Copdock interchange.”
Other suggestions from readers based on previous flybys included Pinewood and Hawthorn Drive areas of town.