Wednesday, June 9, 2010

News from the Media Launch of this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo


THE ONLY airworthy Battle of Britain Hurricane still in existence flew in to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire today for the media launch of this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

At the event, the RAF will be staging its flagship public commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the Hurricane R4118, together with its Battle of Britain pilot Wg Cdr Bob Foster, DFC, played a starring role at today’s media event.
After watching the iconic wartime aircraft touch down, Wg Cdr Foster said: “It’s wonderful to see her flying again. I first saw R4118 nearly 70 years ago, in August 1940. After October 1940, when she was badly shot up, I didn’t see her again until she was brought back to England as something of a wreck in 2001. Now she’s restored to flying condition and it’s just wonderful, and very nostalgic, to see her in action.

“I’d love to have another go in her,” he added, “but I doubt they’d let me!”

Wg Cdr Foster joined the RAF in 1939 and was posted to 605 Squadron. During the Battle of Britain he flew Hurricane R4118 on several missions, including one in which he damaged two JU-88s and shared one kill.

He also saw action in the Pacific arena, helping defend the Darwin area of Northern Australia from Japanese attack throughout 1943, and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. Returning to the UK he took up an RAF public relations assignment, being sent to Normandy within three weeks of the D-Day invasion, and eventually was one of the first RAF officers to enter Paris with the liberating French army, taking part in General de Gaulle’s triumphant procession down the Champs-Elysees.

His Hurricane was sent to India as a training aircraft in 1943 where it remained until being discovered and returned to England in 2001.


ACTOR AND dancer Ricky Whittle flew into RAF Fairford today to help kick-off the media launch for this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo on July 17 and 18.

He made up one half of a father-and-son team publicising the July event which draws aviation fans from all round the world, and which features over 300 aircraft. Ricky’s dad Harry is now a civilian helicopter crew instructor, having joined the RAF in 1977 where he worked on Puma, Chinook and Wessex helicopters, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, the Lebanon, the Falkland Islands and Bosnia.

Having supported his son all the way through last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, today marked Harry’s turn to be supported. Ricky flew in with him aboard a Griffin helicopter, from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire, to highlight the Air Tattoo’s operational theme of Training 2010.

Harry said: “I work at RAF Shawbury training aircrew on helicopters with basic tactics. I’ve come back into training relatively recently and so I’ve seen the progress that’s been made with new equipment and modern technology: it’s all about dealing with the next threat.”

Ricky added: “I always wanted to be in the RAF, inspired by being brought up in the RAF family as my dad was posted to Hampshire, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. In fact, Top Gun was one of the first films I ever saw and that really inspired me – I really did want to be Maverick!

“But my dad has been a massive inspiration all along, so it’s great to fly in with him – and a bit of a novelty as this is the first time we’ve actually flown in the same aircraft – and to be a part of the Air Tattoo launch. Bumping into so many of dad’s old friends, who all remember me when I was little with an Afro, really brought home to me the family culture of the RAF.”

While at RAF Fairford, Ricky had time to join in the World Cup theme, donning an England shirt and posing for photos with Forces’ Sweetheart Nell McAndrew. The celebrities both posed beside a giant football alongside pilots Capt Calvin ‘Quake’ Peterson from the USAF and the RAF’s Flt Lt Jim ‘Woody’ Woodward. With England’s opening World Cup match against the States looming on Saturday, the pilots joined in the fun, posing for photos in front of the RAF’s most potent front-line fighter, the Typhoon, and its US counterpart, the F-15.

This summer’s Air Tattoo will be staging the RAF’s flagship public commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the launch also featured the only airworthy Battle of Britain Hurricane, which flew in to be reunited with its Battle of Britain pilot Wg Cdr Bob Foster, DSO.
  • This year’s Air Tattoo takes place from July 17 to 18 at RAF Fairford, when more than 160,000 visitors are expected to view around 300 aircraft from across the world.
  • The event is staged in support of its parent charity, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, which provides financial support to a wide variety of RAF-related projects and initiatives within the RAF family. Since 2005 it has gifted over £1.3 million to worthy causes.

FORGET Peter Crouch & Co, when it comes to a display of aerial firepower there's only one team to turn to – the Royal Air Force. And Britain's best airmen turned out today (June 9), bringing an impressive Top-Gun strikeforce - a Typhoon, Tornado and a Harrier - to kick-off the media launch for this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo, at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
The pilots were backed up by celebrity guests Forces' Sweetheart Nell McAndrew and Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle. Both stars were on top sporting form at the United States Air Force Base at Fairford, donning England shirts and posing for photos beside a giant football with pilots from the RAF and the USAF.  <<complete article>>
The Royal International Air Tattoo is famous for its long history of fast and furious displays from the world's greatest pilots and this annual aviation extravaganza is a showcase of the skills needed to fly modern and historic aircraft. It is with great pleasure that Air Tattoo organisers welcome the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Champions, Team Bonhomme to this summer's airshow. ...

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