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RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day 2012 to remember Falklands Campaign

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: June 22, 2012

  • The award-winning Royal Navy Black Cats put their two Westland Lynx through their paces

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The 1982 Falklands Campaign took all of RNAS Yeovilton’s Naval Air Squadrons to the South Atlantic, with 126 aircraft and more than 1,400 Royal Naval personnel involved.

Now, 30 years on, their aerial supremacy will be remembered at Saturday’s Air Day.

At the sharp end of the Fleet Air Arm’s contribution were its Sea Harrier FRS1s, only recently pressed into service.

While the FRS1 is now long-retired and, so too, the upgraded FA2 variant that replaced it, Air Day will feature in its static display a unique trio of preserved Sea Harriers.

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Only at this event will the British public be able to see, up close and personal, these legendary V-STOL aircraft, once a common sight in the South West.

Also included in the static display will be a recently-repainted Westland Wessex HU5, with more than 50 of this type of helicopter having participated in the conflict.

Other helicopters involved in the Falklands Campaign included Westland Lynx and Westland Sea Kings and, as ever, these will take a prominent part in the flying display, most notably in the commando assault finale.

Unfortunately, due to recent engine damage, the Avro Vulcan B2 XH558 will not be participating in this year’s Air Day.

The future of the Royal Navy will again be represented by the Lynx Wildcat and, for the first time, the new Merlin Mk2, which will be in the static display alongside current in-service Royal Navy Merlin HM1s and an RAF Merlin HC3.

Unique to Air Day, the Royal Navy’s spectacular commando assault blends aircraft, armoured vehicles, troops and explosions in an all-action setpiece.

Another highlight will be the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s RNAS Yeovilton-based fleet, which supplies a powerful reminder of the service’s achievements during the Second World War.

Its involvement in Air Day 2012 includes Fairey Swordfish LS326 – of the type used in sinking of the German battleshipBismarck and the Battle of Taranto Harbour – and the Sea Fury T20 – a two-seat trainer version of one of the most potent piston-engined fighters ever built.

Other Royal Navy contributions will include the award-winning Royal Navy Black Cats, which will put its two Lynx through their paces in an intricately fast-paced and newly re-choreographed routine.

Kennet Aviation are sending their pounding Douglas Skyraider and the Hunter Flying Academy, whose Jubilee-schemed Hawker Hunter T7 will make one of its first appearances in its revised colours.

The Hunter will be joined by another vintage jet in the shape of the Classic Aircraft Trust’s recently-restored Meteor T7, which is the world’s oldest operational jet aircraft.

Air Day’s foreign contingent is spearheaded by the Royal Saudi Air Force’s Saudi Hawks display team, which is launching its 2012 UK tour at the show.

Never before seen at RNAS Yeovilton – and in only their second ever UK show – the team’s six Hawks will give an extremely polished and high-precision performance.

The RAF Red Arrows, reduced this year to a seven-aircraft formation, lead the RAF’s contribution alongside the deeply-nostalgic Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, all fresh from their recent involvement in the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

An impressive sight not to be missed in the arena will be the field gun competition between HMS Heron and their rivals HMS Seahawk.

Fresh from its recent involvement in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, the Band of HM Royal Marines will perform in the arena, while there will also be an impressive quota of classic cars and motorbikes, simulators, a funfair and a host of trade stands.

RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day is one of the biggest one-day events in the South West. Gates open at 9am with displays running from 11am to 4.30pm.

Click here to find out the latest RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day 2012 information.

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