New 2020 Corgi Aviation Archive Catalogue Models !
New 2020 Corgi Aviation Archive Catalogue Models have just been announced and are available to pre-order at Flying Tigers today. If you want any of these models it is always safer to pre-order as quantities are limited.
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Flying Tigers will also consolidate your orders to save on postage costs across all brands !
In particular checheck out the BRAND NEW TOOLING of the Bristol F2B Fighter shown below !
The outbreak of the Great War placed a moral burden on the shoulders of a young Edward, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne. Desperate to do his duty and be seen alongside the thousands of troops heading for France, he was forbidden from joining his Grenadier Guards regiment at the front by Lord Kitchener, who was concerned about the potential damage his loss or capture would have on a nation at war. Nevertheless, over the course of the next four years, the Prince would regularly visit the trenches and was extremely popular amongst the fighting men of Britain. An early supporter of the aeroplane, the Prince is thought to have made several flights as a passenger whilst in France, however, an incident which reputedly occurred in September 1918 is quite astonishing. Whilst visiting No.139 Squadron in Italy, the Prince was taken on several flights in Bristol F2B Fighter D-8063 by celebrated Canadian ace and friend William Barker and on one such flight, it was reported that the Prince was taken close to the front lines, where he fired the aircraft’s Lewis guns on enemy trenches.
On hearing of this unofficial action, the King was said to be furious and chastised his son, telling him ‘never to be so foolish again’.Although the Bristol F2B Fighter would go on to be regarded as one of the finest fighting aeroplanes of the Great War, its combat introduction on the Western Front was inauspicious to say the least. Intended as a replacement for the much maligned Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c, the Bristol Fighter was rushed into service so it could take part in the Second Battle of Arras in April 1917 and demonstrate the advancement in Allied aircraft design. During its first operational sortie on 5th April, six aircraft from No. 48 Squadron RFC, led by famous VC winner William Leefe Robinson, were bounced by Albatros fighters of Jasta 11, led by Manfred von Richthofen. During the ensuing melee, four of the new fighters, including the one flown by Robinson, were shot down, with another suffering serious damage – VC hero Robinson was initially posted as killed in action, but later discovered to have been taken prisoner. Despite this, once the many qualities of the Bristol Fighter had been appreciated, pilots quickly learned that this large aeroplane could be flown extremely aggressively and was more than capable of taking on the German fighters. With a fixed forward firing Vickers gun for the pilot and Scarff ring mounted Lewis guns for the observer, the Bristol fighter would enable crews to score victory numbers equivalent to those claimed by single seat fighters.
The French and volunteer American pilots who patrolled the Reims sector of the Western Front during the Great War were only too familiar with the various German fighter squadrons which would enter their airspace, usually in support of the latest land offensive. Often referred to by the markings they carried, their aerial adversaries were simply known as ‘The Reds, the Checkerboards or the Greens’, but one unit which seemed to engage with them for longer than any other were the Albatros fighters of Jasta 19. With their lacquered plywood fuselages giving them an orangey appearance in the air, they were known as ‘Les Tangos’ byAllied airmen, who regularly fought them for control of their sector of the battlefield. Giving up a position as a flight instructor in Berlin, Martin Mallmann requested transfer to an operational unit and arrived on the Western Front in the Spring of 1917. By 19th January 1918, he stood on the verge of gaining the coveted ‘Ace’ status, with four victories already to his name, however, on that fateful day, he would fall to the guns of a young French airman who was himself looking for his fifth ‘Ace making’ aerial victory.
In combat with the Spads of Escadrille Spa 94’The Reapers’, Mallmann’s Albatros D.V 2111/17 was brought down north of Manre-Beine, the victory was jointly credited to Pierre Marinovitch and his squadron mate, American volunteer pilot Austen Ballard Crehore. Following the introduction of the Fokker Eindecker and the world’s first purpose built fighter aircraft, aviation developed at a dramatic rate over the next few years as the air forces of both the Allied and Central Powers understood the importance of air superiority. At that time, however, aircraft were still relatively primitive in design, with these aerial duels taking place less than fifteen years after the Wright Brothers had made their historic first powered flight. Using relatively low calibre machine guns and with little or no protection for airmen, the fighting in the clouds was a very personal affair, with luck playing a huge part in whether pilots went on to become an ace, or another name added to the growing casualty statistics.
The arrival of the Albatros series of fighters at units on the Western Front, gave the Luftstreitkrafte a significant fighting advantage which would last for several months, however, the pace of aviation development ensured that Britain and France were already close to introducing their own impressive new fighters. By the beginning of 1918, the period of Albatros domination was over and it would not be until the arrival of large numbers of the new Fokker D.VII fighter that the Germans had an aircraft capable of getting the better of Allied fighter units.
As he prepared for his first combat patrol, novice fighter pilot Wolfram von Richthofen was keen to impress his famous cousin, the famed ‘Red Baron’and the flight leader for the mission. Although suffering from fatigue and combat stress, Manfred von Richthofen was the consummate professional and the safety of his fellow airmen was of paramount importance to him.
As the Fokker DR.1 fighters of Jasta 11 climbed away from Cappy aerodrome on 21st April 1918, Wolfram had been given strict instructions to stay out of trouble should the formation encounter the enemy, staying on the periphery of the action and experiencing what the melee of a dogfight looked like.
As his comrades later engaged in combat with the Sopwith Camels of RAF No.209 Squadron, Wolfram did as instructed, but found himself under attack by one of the Camels, which had also been loitering on the edge of the fighting, an aircraft which was flown by the similarly inexperienced Wilfred ‘Wop’ May.
Taking immediate evasive action, the Camel sped past his Triplane, with the incident attracting the attention of his famous cousin – Manfred von Richthofen pursued the Camel which seemed destined to become his 81st victim. Wolfram von Richthofen would survive the encounter to become a fighter ace in his own right, however, this meeting of two novice pilots over the trenches of the Western Front would ultimately claim the life of the world’s most famous airman.
Having just led an attack against two British RE8 reconnaissance aircraft above the Somme battlefield, Manfred von Richthofen re-joined the rest of Jasta 11’s Fokker Triplane fighters, in time to lead a further attack against a formation of Sopwith Camels from No.209 Squadron RAF. Displaying all his legendary flying skills, the Red Baron attacked the enemy aircraft, whilst at the same time keeping an eye on his cousin Wolfram, a novice pilot who had been instructed not to engage in combat.
On seeing that one of the Camels had attacked Wolfram’s Triplane, he broke away from the dogfight and went to his aid, quickly positioning himself on the tail of the Sopwith fighter. Clearly flown by an inexperienced pilot, the Camel was the mount of young Canadian airman Wilfred ‘Wop’ May, who realising his error, dived at high speed for the ground and the safety of Allied lines.
Flying perilously close to the ground and narrowly missing the church steeple at Vaux-sur-Somme, May knew that if he pulled up, he would fall to the guns of the ace pilot behind him, but as the high ground of Morlancourt Ridge approached, he had no option.
Miraculously, his aircraft was not peppered with bullets and the Triplane giving chase was seen to rear up and make a forced landing in a nearby field – although he didn’t know it at the time, May was being hunted by Manfred von Richthofen and whilst he had managed to escape with his life, the famous Red Baron had not been so fortunate and lay dead in the cockpit of his red Fokker Triplane.
As he climbed into the cockpit of his Sopwith Camel fighter at Bertangles aerodrome on 21st April 1918, Canadian Wilfred Reid ‘Wop’ May had no idea that this would be the most significant day in his life. Embarking on only his second mission over the Western Front, he had been instructed by his Flight Commander, the ace pilot Captain Roy Brown, to avoid combat if they encountered the enemy, simply to gain height and make for home. Over the River Somme, No.209 Sqn encountered several Fokker Dr.1s of von Richthofen’s Flying Circus and dived to attack – as instructed, May stayed at altitude, but when an enemy Triplane passed close by, he saw the chance of an easy victory. Misjudging his attack,he overshot the enemy aircraft and by the time he had regained his bearings, his Camel began taking bullet strikes on its wings – the novice hunter had become the hunted. His opponent was clearly an experienced pilot and May could not shake him from his tail – his only chance of survival was to dive for the ground and try to make it over Allied lines, hoping his enemy would not follow.
What he did not know was that he was being chased by the distinctive red Fokker Triplane of Manfred von Richthofen, the greatest air ace the world had ever known. Failing in his attempt to gain his first aerial victory, Wilfred ‘Wop’ May was now in a fight for his life, as he unwittingly struggled to avoid becoming the 81st victory of Manfred von Richthofen. With his guns jammed and unable to shake the German airman off his tail, May flew at tree-top height, almost hitting the steeple of Vaux-sur-Somme church, as he attempted to reach the potential safety of Allied lines. Displaying exceptional airmanship, his pursuer stayed on his tail, however, despite firing off the odd round, appeared to be having gun problems of his own. The chase had attracted the attention of Allied ace Roy Brown, who attacked the Triplane, but due to the speed and low altitude of the chase, was only able to fire a few bursts of deflection shot. Just as it seemed as if May would either hit the ground or appear large in the Triplane’s gunsight, the German aircraft reared up and immediately attempted to make a forced landing in a nearby beet field, ripping the undercarriage off on the rough ground. Mortally wounded, Manfred von Richthofen shut down the engine of his machine and cut off the fuel, before dying at the controls of his aircraft, the result of a single bullet wound. This historic victory was initially attributed (although not claimed) to Captain Roy Brown, however, subsequent research revealed that the fatal shot to von Richthofen’s chest was most likely fired from an Australian machine gun position on the Morlancourt Ridge.
For a man who stands as arguably the most famous fighter ace of all time, Manfred von Richthofen would begin WW1 as a cavalry reconnaissance officer, however, the advent of trench warfare soon had him searching for a more appropriate challenge. Attracted by the thrill of flying, he applied to join the Imperial German Army Air Service, initially as an aerial observer, but only because the training was shorter than that of a pilot, so he could get into the action more quickly.
As an armed observer, von Richthofen shot down two Allied aircraft, but neither were credited as both came down behind enemy lines and could not be verified. A chance meeting with the influential airman Oswald Boelcke on a train journey across France inspired von Richthofen to apply for pilot training almost immediately and on passing his final examinations on Christmas Day 1915, he was assigned to Kasta 8 on the Eastern Front.
Honing his undoubted flying skills whilst conducting reconnaissance flights over the trenches, von Richthofen would meet Boelcke once more during the summer of 1916, where he was invited to become one of the first dedicated fighter pilots of the Luftstreitkräfte and a member of the specialist Jasta 2 hunting squadron.
With influential airmen such as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke championing the use of the aeroplane as an offensive weapon during WW1, the arrival of the Fokker Eindecker at front line units would prove significant in the history of aviation.
The world’s first true dedicated fighter aircraft, the Eindecker introduced an effective interrupter gear system, which allowed the pilot to fire through the arc of the propeller and in his line of sight, making targeting of an enemy aircraft much easier. Its introduction led to a devastating period of aerial supremacy for the Luftstreitkräfte which became known as the ‘Fokker Scourge’, however, despite the horrendous toll the Eindecker took of Allied aircraft, its destructive impact could have been so much worse.
Initially, the German High Command would not allow their new aircraft to be flown near Allied lines, for fear the secrets of their new fighter would be discovered and resulted in many simply being used to chaperone reconnaissance aircraft. Also, the handling characteristics of the Eindecker could prove extremely challenging for the pilot, with its flight control systems having changed little from those employed by the Wright Brothers during their famous first flight of 1903 – it required a pilot’s undivided attention all the time.
A relatively fragile aeroplane, it would not be long before more robust and manoeuvrable aircraft ended the dominance of the Eindecker.
One of the early aviators who helped to establish the importance of military aviation on the battlefield, Rudolf Berthold learnt to fly by paying for his own flying lessons whilst serving in the pre-war Imperial German Army. At the start of the Great War, he was initially sent back to his Army unit for training, but quickly transferred to the Luftstreitkräfte and an initial posting as an aerial observer. By the beginning of 1916, Berthold was at the controls of a Fokker Eindecker and his first aerial victory soon followed – by the end of the year, he would be one of Germany’s first air aces, with eight victories to his name.
Serving throughout the Great War, Berthold earned the nickname ‘Iron Man’ due to the many serious injuries he received during combat, several of which saw him discharging himself from hospital so he could return to his unit. Incredibly, his final sixteen aerial victories were all gained flying the magnificent Fokker D.VII fighter and all whilst flying using just one hand. Injured during combat with SE5a fighters of No.56 Squadron RFC in October 1917, Berthold’s right arm was shattered so severely by a bullet which ricocheted into his cockpit, that amputation was seriously considered. Although avoiding such drastic surgery, the injury would trouble Berthold for the rest of his flying career, even though he would end the war with 44 aerial victories. Serving throughout the Great War, the combat flying career of Germany’s seventh most successful air ace Rudolf Berthold was interrupted by several lengthy periods of hospitalisation, having suffered some quite serious injuries in the course of executing his duties. As his victory tally continued to rise, his reputation was further enhanced by tales of his bravery and determination to return to the front line, often discharging himself from hospital before he had fully recuperated and only able to continue flying by using strong pain relief.
Celebrated as Germany’s flying ‘Iron Man’, Berthold ended 1917 with a wound so severe that his flying days seemed to be over, but this did not stop him returning to the front line and helping to inspire his fellow pilots, who were by now battling against ever increasing numbers of Allied aircraft. The arrival of the new Fokker D.VII at the airfield saw Berthold taking a quick flight in the capable fighter, returning to remark, ‘It is so responsive, I could fly it one handed!’ He would go on to do just that over the coming months, using the Fokker D.VII to score a further 16 victories during 1918, bringing his total to 44. Less than two years after the war, Berthold was killed by an angry mob in Hamburg, during a period of civil unrest – his headstone inscription reads ‘Honoured by his enemies, slain by his German brethren’. As sad end for one of Germany’s leading Great War aces.
Trading the rural tranquillity of Esk, Queensland for the savage airborne battles above the Western Front, Roderic Stanley Dallas worked in a mine in order to earn money to finance passage to England and dreams of becoming an airman. Accepted for training with the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915, Dallas excelled in both the classroom and in the air and on gaining his pilot’s licence, he was posted to No.1 Squadron RNAS, initially flying the Sopwith Pup. His first aerial victory came in May 1916 and from that date, his score began to increase rapidly, as he earned a reputation as a fearless dogfighter, but one who did not take unnecessary risks – he also relished the extremely risky low level missions which many of his fellow pilots avoided and suffered several injuries whilst engaged in such sorties. By the time he was appointed commander of No.40 Squadron RFC in March 1918, Dallas has at least 30 victories to his name and traded his Sopwith fighter for the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a, an aircraft in which he would go on to score a further nine victories. Unusually, his aircraft was one of a handful of SE5a fighters which were given an experimental camouflage finish, thought to have been trialled on aircraft engaged in ground strafing operations. Australian Great War ace ‘Stan’ Dallas was officially credited with 39 aerial victories, which places him as the second most successful Australian ace of WWI, behind the 47 victories of Robert A Little. Post war research later revealed that due to the fact Dallas had a somewhat casual attitude to claiming victories, his actual total may have exceeded 50 victories, which would have seen him earning the title of ‘Australia’s most successful fighter ace’. A careful student of aerial fighting tactics, Dallas also earned a reputation as something of a prankster, a character trait which was clearly illustrated by an incident which is alleged to have taken place in early May 1918. During a lull in the fighting around Flanders, Dallas ‘shot up’ a German aerodrome in the sector, before dropping a pair of boots on the airfield – the attached message read, ‘if you are not going to come up and fight, your pilots might need these for their ground work’. Circling in the distant mist, he waited until troops came out to inspect the package, before returning to drop a couple of small bombs and to use up the rest of his ammunition. Although the flight was unauthorised, reports of the incident were thought to have caused great amusement amongst the most senior members of Allied military high command.
Only sixteen years of ageat the start of WWII, Pierre Marinovitch made no secret of his desire to do his duty and fight for his country. Still only seventeen, he enlisted in the27e Régiment de Dragoons,only to quickly change his mind and apply for pilot training, successfully gaining his wings in the spring of 1917.
Following a period of illness, he was assigned to Escadrille Spa 94 ‘The Reapers’ and by the end of 1917 already had three aerial victories to his name. Known as ‘Marino’ to his squadron mates, his flying style was not liked by all, with some questioning his flying ability and simply describing him as a good shot, however, nobody could doubt his bravery and aggression in the air.
As his victory tally continued to rise, he also aroused the attention of the French press, desperate to find heroes with which to inspire a population scarred by war and who proclaimed Marinovitch to be ‘The youngest ace’, by virtue of his tender years. Throughout the rest of 1918, ‘Marino’s’ victory tally would continue to rise and by the end of hostilities, he had at least 21 aerial victories to his name, the highest scoring ace in his squadron and the 12th ranking French ace of the war.
Continuing to fly after the war, Marinovitch was tragically killed in a flying accident on 2nd October 1919, only weeks after celebrating his 21st birthday. With the emergence of the aeroplane as an essential weapon of war during the savage fighting of the Great War, many of the world’s early aviators chose to embellish their aircraft with flamboyant paint schemes and distinctive markings, which seemed rather appropriate for these knights of the air.
Many of these emblems may have had their origins in the heraldic symbols of the past, or simply represent an individual pilot’s desire to stand out from the crowd, however, they quickly became an invaluable recognition aid for fellow pilots during the melee of a swirling dogfight. More readily associated with airmen of the Central Powers, one of the most distinctive markings adopted by an Allied unit during WWI was the ‘Grim Reaper’ carried by the fighters of Escadrille Spa 94 of the French Air Service, a particularly sinister sight in the skies above the trenches.
This certainly proved to be the case during the last year of the war, as the excellent Spad fighters flown by French and American airmen began to take a heavy toll of Luftstreitkrafte aircraft. Young French airman Pierre Marinovitch gained his ‘Ace’ status on 19th January 1918, with the shared destruction of Jasta 19 Albatros D.V 2111/17, flown by Martin Mallmann, north of Manre-Beine – interestingly, he shared the victory with American volunteer pilot Austen Ballard Crehore, Marinovitch’s best friend and regular flying partner.
As arguably the best loved historic aircraft in Britain today, Avro Lancaster B.I PA474 is one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world and the only one flying in Europe. Operated by the Coningsby based Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the aircraft serves as a flying memorial to almost 64,000 men of RAF Bomber Command who were either killed or injured during the Second World War and is a highlight act at any event which it displays.
Over the years, the aircraft has been presented in several different wartime schemes, marking the achievements of particular aircraft, aircrews or squadrons and following the completion of its 2016 winter maintenance schedule, it emerged in this attractive scheme which features the markings of two different Lancasters.
The port side wears the markings of W5005 AR-L ‘Leader’ of No.460 RAAF Squadron, including attractive nose artwork featuring a kangaroo playing the bagpipes, highlighting the international nature of the aircraft’s crew. The starboard side carries the codes VN-T, representing a Lancaster of RAF No.50 Squadron, one which was flown by F/O Douglas Millikin DFC on 27 missions of his first tour of operations – F/O Millikin was the grandfather of the Commanding Officer of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at the time of the Lancaster’s repaint. PA474 was still wearing these popular markings at the end of the 2019 Airshow season.
The original idea of forming a Historic Aircraft Flight of wartime piston engined aircraft began to take shape during 1957 at RAF Biggin Hill, as Wing Commander Peter Thompson DFC had access to one of the last Hawker Hurricanes in RAF service and wanted to preserve the aircraft for the benefit of the nation. Within weeks, the new Flight benefitted from the addition of three former Temperature and Humidity Flight Spitfires from RAF Woodvale and the nucleus of the Battle of Britain Flight was born.
To more accurately reflect the growing commemorative role the Flight was being asked to perform, the name was changed to its current Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and whilst the aircraft it has operated since inception may have changed, the affection in which they are held has increased with each passing year.
In November 1973, the Flight received a huge boost with the arrival of Avro Lancaster B.I PA474, an aircraft which since that date has been continually upgraded to as near wartime configuration as possible.
The aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are regarded as a highlight act at any Airshow at which they display and are in high demand throughout the year, performing a multitude of ceremonial and commemorative duties alongside their many Airshow commitments. Receiving numerous requests to perform flypasts each year, it is not uncommon for the BBMF to undertake several hundred flying appearances during a season, thrilling many millions of spectators and aviation enthusiasts in the process.
At the beginning of a year which would mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, a tragic wartime event which occurred at a public park in Sheffield on 22nd February 1944, would receive significant national media coverage and commemorate the sacrifice of the men of the US Eighth Air Force. The crew of B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Mi Amigo’ had just taken part in a bombing raid against the Luftwaffe airfield at Alborg in Northern Denmark and having come under sustained attack by flak and Luftwaffe fighters, fell out of formation and made for home. With several crew members injured and radio/navigational equipment not working, the aircraft struggled to find a relief landing airfield in low cloud and found itself over the city of Sheffield at low altitude and with damaged engines – they needed to put the aircraft down and quickly.
The bomber was heard to circle the area of Endcliffe Park for some time, before a change in engine tone immediately resulted in the aircraft plummeting to the ground, crashing on to a wooded bank at the far end of the park and the tragic loss of all on board. Nobody on the ground was injured in the incident and it has been reported that the crew were waving children playing on the park away from the area, fearful that they may be injured by the stricken bomber. What is certain is that the crew of ‘Mi Amigo’ averted what could have been a catastrophe for the city of Sheffield and paid the ultimate price as a result. One of over 12,700 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers built during WWII, 42-31322 would leave the production lines at Boeing Seattle in October 1943 and embark on a tour of several locations across the US, where various additional items of internal equipment could be fitted, prior to its journey to Britain and the European Theatre of Operations.
Travelling the hazardous Northern Route, which included stops in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and eventually Scotland, the aircraft eventually arrived with the 305th Bombardment Group at Chelveston on 30th January 1944. Once the bomber was assigned to a crew, they gave it the name ‘Mi Amigo’, meaning My Friend in Spanish, suggested by bombardier Lt. Melcher Hernandez, who had Spanish heritage and hoped the name would endow their aircraft with good luck – it met with the approval of the entire ten man crew. The crew had been assembled from right across America and following completion of their individual training programmes, came together at Geiger Field, Washington, for intensive training as a group, in preparation for posing overseas and war. ‘Mi Amigo’ would take its place in a concerted Allied bombing campaign intended to diminish Germany’s ability to wage war and specifically to prepare the way for the forthcoming Allied invasion of occupied Europe – D-Day.
A truly innovative aeroplane, the Gloster Gladiator is often described as the pinnacle of biplane fighter design and was the pride of the Royal Air Force when the first examples were delivered to No.72 Squadron at Tangmere in February 1937. Unfortunately, aviation history dictated that the undoubted qualities possessed by the Gladiator were largely forgotten, particularly as both the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire had both made their first flights by the time of its squadron introduction and indeed the first RAF Hurricanes were delivered later in 1937. During the Battle of France, two squadrons of Gladiators were sent to support the British Expeditionary Force, but suffered badly at the hands of the Luftwaffe, as the age of the fast, monoplane fighter had already arrived. Mainly withdrawn to secondary roles, one RAF squadron did famously use the Gladiator during the Battle of Britain, as they were sent to operate from Roborough airfield, to protect the naval dockyards at Devonport. Wearing the standard Royal Air Force day camouflage scheme of the period, No.247 (China-British) Squadron flew many standing patrols over their assigned area, but did not see actual combat with the Luftwaffe during the battle. On Christmas Eve 1940, the squadron finally traded their Gladiators for new Hawker Hurricane fighters.
With the Gloster Gladiators of RAF No.247 Squadron providing fighter cover for the Devonport dockyards during the Battle of Britain, the unit enabled Fighter Command to deploy its Spitfires and Hurricanes where they were needed most, challenging the Luftwaffe in a desperate struggle for aerial supremacy over southern England. The closest the RAF Gladiators came to actual combat during the battle came on 25th September 1940, when a force of 24 Dornier bombers escorted by 12 Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighters flew across the English Channel, heading for Plymouth. Four of 247 Squadron’s Gladiators were sent to intercept the formation, however, Hurricanes from No.601 Squadron Exeter were first on the scene and broke up the raiders formation. The Gladiators did give chase to several of the enemy aircraft, however, they did not have the speed to catch them and returned to base reporting no contact. In 1990, the world famous Shuttleworth Collection marked the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain by repainting their unique, airworthy Gloster Gladiator in a distinctive camouflage scheme and operating it on the UK Airshow circuit in this configuration for the next six years. The markings chosen for this tribute were previously worn by Gloster Gladiator Mk.II N2308 HP-B, one of the few Gladiators which flew with No.247 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a N3200 was constructed at the Vickers Armstrong works at Eastleigh, near Southampton during 1939 and delivered to RAF No.19 Squadron at Duxford in April the following year. Wearing the codes QV and the distinctive black and white underside recognition markings synonymous with RAF fighters of the day, the aircraft embarked on its first operational sortie from Duxford on 27thMay 1940, in the hands of Squadron Leader Geoffrey Stephenson, as part of the significant RAF response to the emergency situation at Dunkirk and the evacuation of the stranded British Expeditionary Force. During a day of savage dogfighting, Stephenson managed to down a Luftwaffe Stuka, before his Spitfire sustained damage to its engine, causing it to seize almost immediately.
He managed to successfully land his aircraft on a beach at Sangatte, to the west of Calais and was able to exit the downed fighter without sustaining injury but was captured by German forces. The Spitfire lay damaged and partly buried in the sand and became something of an attraction for German troops stationed in the area, with many posing for pictures with the vanquished British fighter. The Spitfire disappeared beneath the shifting sands, but not before she had been stripped of many parts by souvenir hunters. The notoriously shifting sands on the beach at Sangatte held on to their wartime Spitfire secret for many years after the end of WWII, lost from sight and just a distant memory for those who were aware of its story. Following a particularly violent storm in 1986, the parts of the Spitfire wreckage became visible once more, attracting plenty of local interest and resulting in plans being drawn up for a recovery operation. Later that same year, the remains of Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a N3200 were removed from the beach and displayed in a French military museum, as recovered, where it would remain for the next ten years.
Attracted by the provenance of this famous Spitfire and having seen wartime photographs of it lying in a forlorn state on the beach at Sangatte, it was acquired by a UK based group in 2000 and earmarked for restoration. Once returned to the UK, this complex and lengthy restoration would be placed in the capable hands of Historic Flying Limited and in March 2014, marking the end of an ambitious 14 year project, Spitfire N3200 took to the skies once more. To add even more significance to this occasion, her first post restoration flight took place at Duxford airfield, the same airfield it had operated from some 74 years earlier, whilst embarking on its first fateful combat mission.
Having been forced to endure the horrors of the surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the American people found themselves dragged into a war they had tried so hard to avoid, now determined to avenge this day of infamy. Their long fightback began with victory at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, but for the men of the USAAF 347th Fighter Group, their chance to inflict a huge psychological blow against the Japanese nation and specifically against man who had planned the Pear Harbor attack would come in April the following year. US Navy intelligence code-breakers had been monitoring Japanese communications for months and discovered that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto planned to fly from Rabul to troops stationed in the Solomon Islands, to boost their morale in the wake of the Midway defeat. Flying in one of two Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ bombers and protected by six Zero fighters, the formation was intercepted by sixteen US Lockheed P-38G Lightnings, whose pilots had made the long flight from Guadalcanal with one specific aim – vengeance. In the ensuing dogfight, P-38G ‘Miss Virginia’ piloted by Rex T. Barber, slipped in behind the bomber carrying Admiral Yamamoto and unleashed a torrent of bullets from his .50 calibre machine guns, sending it crashing into the jungle below. ‘Operation Vengeance’ had been successful and one of America’s most deadly enemies had been eliminated. In what proved to be one of the most significant aerial engagements of the Second World War, ‘Operation Vengeance’ was the ambitious plan to intercept an aircraft carrying Japan’s most accomplished military tactician and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, Isoroku Yamamoto.
The mission was entrusted to brilliant US aviator Major John Mitchell, who would have to plot a course far enough away from islands inhabited by Japanese spotters and low enough to avoid detection by enemy radar, whilst ensuring his fighters intercepted the enemy formation at exactly the right moment. With only a map, his watch and a highly accurate compass borrowed from the US Navy installed in his fighter, the mission had only a slim chance of success, but was a risk they had to take. The only aircraft capable of undertaking this perilous 1000 mile round trip was the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and even then only by using drop tanks containing additional fuel – indeed, due to short supply, each aircraft was fitted with a single large 330 gallon drop tank, as well as a smaller 150 gallon tank. As the sixteen Lightnings took off from Kukum Field, Guadalcanal at 7am on 18th April 1943, they had no idea of the size of the enemy force they would be facing, or if indeed they would manage to intercept them. In a feat of exceptional airmanship, the Lightnings arrived at the anticipated interception point just one minute behind schedule and to a shout of ‘Bandits’ from one of the American pilots. In the ensuing dogfight, ‘Operation Vengeance’ would strike a huge blow in the fortunes of the Pacific War and highlight that America would accept nothing less than total victory.
Regarded by many of his contemporaries as the most naturally gifted fighter pilot ever to take to the air, Hans Joachim Marseille would make the clear blue skies of North Africa his hunting ground and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter ‘Yellow 14’ his feared mount. Claiming 158 victories from 382 sorties flown, 151 of these were scored over the deserts of North Africa, making him the top scoring Luftwaffe ace in the Mediterranean theatre, gaining more victories against Western Allied airmen than any other pilot. Tragically, as was the case with so many of the young men who fought during WWII, the ‘Star of Africa’would not survive the conflict and indeed would not live to see his 23rd birthday.
On 30thSeptember 1942, Marseille was leading his Squadron on a mission to support a flight of Stukas when his new Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 fighter developed engine problems. With the cockpit filling with noxious fumes and unable to see out of the canopy, he relied on his wingman to guide him over friendly lines, before he could attempt to bale out. Once over German held territory, with the effects of smoke inhalation now causing disorientation, he turned the fighter on its back and rolled out of the cockpit. With the aircraft now adopting a nose down attitude, Marseille struck the tail of the Messerschmitt, probably killing him instantly and sending his lifeless body tumbling to the desert floor – the‘Star of Africa’had fallen.
A significant turning point in the career of Hans Joachim Marseille occurred in early 1941 when he was posted to North Africa, well away from distractions which had previously brought him so much trouble, now coming under the guidance of Commander Eduard Neumann. Neumann saw something special in Marseille and encouraged him to train himself to be a better fighter pilot and realize his combat potential – his style of man management seemed to suit Marseille, who began a regime of physical exercise and careful diet, strengthening his legs and abdominal muscles to better withstand the forces impost on a pilot during dogfighting. Unlike many of the other pilots of JG27, Marseille would never wear sunglasses during sorties, as he wanted his eyes to become accustomed to the harsh lighting in the desert. Significantly, he began to take a keen interest in his aircraft, preferring to spend much of his free time with his crew chief, or studying the art of deflection shooting, ensuring that he was better prepared for his next meeting with the enemy. With ever increasing regularity, these meetings would result in Marseille recording more victories and displaying exceptional flying ability and split second tactical awareness in the process – the ‘Star of Africa’ was beginning to shine.
The death of Hans Joachim Marseille was a terrible blow for the pilots of JG27 and indeed the entire German nation, who had started to think that the charismatic Marseille was invincible in the air. Facing increasingly superior numbers of Allied fighters in North Africa and with Rommel and his Afrika Corps now very much on the retreat, the Luftwaffe would never regain superiority of these desert skies again and it would not be long before the fighters of Jagdgeschwader 27 were redeployed to Northern France.
Eduard Neumann said of Marseille “As a fighter pilot he was absolutely supreme. Above all, he possessed lightning reflexes and could make a quicker judgement in a bigger orbit than anyone else … Marseille was unique.”
Adolf Galland, himself one of the most celebrated Luftwaffe fighter aces of WWII, described Marseille as “An unrivalled virtuoso among the fighter pilots of World War 2. His achievements had previously been regarded as impossible and they were never excelled by anyone after his death.”
One of the most mysterious episodes of the Second World War occurred over Northern Britain on the night of Saturday 10th May 1941, as the Chain Home radar network picked up an unidentified raid approaching the coast of Northumberland. Crossing the coast near Alnwick, the Royal Observer Corps identified the raid as a single Messerschmitt Me110 fighter which continued flying inland in the direction of Glasgow and was tracked until it hit the west coast of Scotland. With a Defiant nightfighter now on its tail and with fuel reserves running low, the intruder was seen to turn back inland, before crashing at Bonnyton Moor, Eaglesham, near Glasgow at 23.09pm. The lone pilot was observed parachuting to earth and was promptly detained by a pitchfork toting farmer, who when inquiring if the airman was German, was surprised by the excellent English of his prisoner, who went on to give his name as Hauptmann Albert Horn. Collected by the Home Guard, the prisoner was later interviewed by an Observer Corps Major, who almost immediately recognised the airman as none other than Rudolf Hess, senior Nazi Party official and Deputy Fuhrer of Germany. Why had such an important political figure made such a hazardous, one-way flight and what were his intentions? Taking off from the Messerschmitt factory airfield at Augsburg-Haunstetten in Bavaria at 17.45 UK time on 10th May 1941, Nazi Party official Rudolf Hess had a long and dangerous flight ahead of him. Even though his unarmed Me110 fighter was carrying additional fuel, this was always going to be a one-way flight and it is unclear what his intentions were – surely, capture by the British would be the best possible outcome. During later interrogation, it is reported that Hess planned to land by parachute on the estate of Scottish nobleman, the Duke of Hamilton, a man he had previously met at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and someone thought to be politically influential in trying to muster support for a negotiated peace with Germany. A fascinating incident which has been the subject of a great many conspiracy theories over the years, Hess’s true intentions have never been definitively ascertained, however, the flight did coincide with Germany’s decision to launch a massive offensive against the Soviet Union, in addition to Hess being somewhat side-lined in the Nazi Party hierarchy. Hitler was reported to have been enraged on hearing about the actions of his trusted deputy and described him as having lost his mind. This incident did highlight the invaluable contribution of the Royal Observer Corps during WWII, as once a hostile aircraft had reached the British mainland, radar was of no use and tracking information was provided by this impressive network of vigilant volunteers.
As the four man crew of KG26 Heinkel 1H+JA boarded their aircraft at Westerland airfield on the Island of Sylt on the morning of 20th October 1939, they knew that a long and dangerous sortie lay ahead of them. Their task was to perform a long range armed reconnaissance flight over the Glasgow area and on to photograph gun emplacements and naval vessels in the Firth of Forth, a heavily defended area of Britain. During the sortie, improving weather conditions over Scotland made the Heinkel clearly visible from the ground and as well as coming under fire from anti-aircraft batteries, patrolling Spitfires from Nos 602 and 603 Squadrons were quickly on the scene. Attacking the aircraft from the rear, the Spitfires quickly silenced the intruder’s defensive fire, before mounting repeated attacks, peppering the Heinkel’s wings and fuselage with .303 machine gun bullets. With the pilot sustaining injury and both of the aircraft’s engines damaged, the Heinkel rapidly lost height, with a crash landing the only option available to the two surviving crew members. Striking moorland near the village of Humbie in East Lothian, the aircraft demolished a drystone wall before coming to rest on a slight incline, breaking the Heinkel’s back in the process. The aircraft had the notoriety of being the first German aircraft to crash relatively intact on British soil during WWII.
Constructed as a late model B-25J Mitchell, 44-30934 was assigned to the 499th Bombardment Squadron (‘Bats Outta Hell’) at Clark Field, Philippines, one of the squadrons which made up the 345th Bombardment Group, the famed ‘Air Apaches’.
Flying dangerous, yet devastatingly effective low altitude bombing and strafing missions against Japanese targets across the Pacific, the unit earned a fearsome reputation for aggressively carrying out their missions, using heavily armed B-25 Mitchell gunships. Even though ‘Betty’s Dream’ only saw action in the Pacific Theatre for a relatively short period, the aircraft was afforded a unique and historic honour at the end of the war, in recognition of the unit’s significant contribution to eventual Allied victory.
She was one of two B-25 Mitchells sent to rendezvous with an official Japanese surrender delegation which was flying from a base in Japan and to escort the aircraft to the US airfield at Le Shima, on the island of Okinawa. The Japanese officials were flying in two G4M2 ‘Betty’ bombers, which had been hastily overpainted in a distinctive white scheme, with their national insignia replaced by green crosses, intended to avoid being shot down by US forces.
Once the Japanese officials arrived at Le Shima, they were transferred to a USAF C-54 transport aircraft and flown to Manila, where representatives of the victorious Allied nations were waiting to formalise the terms of the Japanese Empire’s surrender. Earning a reputation as one of the most effective medium bombers of the Second World War, the B-25 Mitchell would also be used as a hard-hitting, low altitude attack aircraft, fighting across the South West Pacific and helping to drive the Japanese back to their home islands.
Around 800 of the B-25J variant were produced specifically for this task, replacing the greenhouse nose of the bomber version with a solid nose housing eight .50 calibre machine guns and incorporating additional fuel tanks to allow long distance strike missions to be undertaken. Targeting airfields, shipping, supply dumps and troop concentrations, these extremely hazardous missions were usually flown from an inland direction, breaking away out over the sea, to give them the best chance of avoiding enemy defensive fire.
With groups of two or three aircraft attacking in waves at tree top height and from different directions, strafing with up to fourteen guns each and dropping parafrag bombs as they came, being on the receiving end of an ‘Air Apache’ attack must have been a terrifying experience.
Helping to establish the fearsome reputation of these attack Mitchells, many of the 345th BG aircraft were embellished with aggressive looking nose artwork, such as the ‘Hell Bat’ featured on 1st Lt. Charles ‘Pop’ Rice Junior’s ‘Betty’s Dream’, an aircraft which would have an important escort role to perform in the days after the end of the Second World War. It was charged with escorting the Mitsubishi ‘Betty’ bomber carrying the only official copy of Japan’s surrender terms, as it headed for an airfield near Tokyo on 21st August 1945.
Having the distinction of being one of final two RAF squadron’s to operate the Panavia Tornado, No.31 squadron were determined not to allow their long association with this exceptional aircraft go unheralded. During November 2018, Tornado GR.4 ZA548 emerged from the paint shop at RAF Marham wearing a distinctive new disbandment scheme, which marked 35 years of Tornado operations for the squadron and featured the silhouette of a Tornado on the tail of the aircraft, with the unit’s famous ‘Goldstar’ emblem placed on top of it. The black spine of the aircraft also carries the wording ’31 Squadron Tornado 1984-2019′ and marks 35 years of Tornado operation, initially from bases in Germany, right up until the final days at RAF Marham. The gold star, which appears on the squadron’s crest is a representation of the ‘Star of India’ and marks No.31 Squadron’s heritage as the first military unit to fly in India. Tornado ZA548 would go on to undertake a series of high profile national flypasts and official RAF events during the final months of the Tornados service career, helping to give this Cold War warrior the fitting send-off it deserved. This scale representation of the aircraft is taking its place in the Aviation Achieve range alongside the other two specially presented disbandment Tornado models (AA33619 and AA33620) released earlier this year, with the trio making a fitting diecast tribute to an aircraft which served the Royal Air Force with such distinction. Even though the ground attack/reconnaissance variant of the Panavia Tornado was charged with performing some of the most demanding roles carried out by Royal Air Force aircraft, often acting as either an aviation peacekeeper, or hard hitting enforcer, the announcement of the aircraft’s impeding withdrawal at the beginning of 2019 was greeted with an outpouring of affection by aviation enthusiasts, in addition to aircrew past and present. Thankfully, the last two squadrons operating these hard working aircraft were allowed to mark the final few months of RAF Tornado operation in some style, which included presenting no fewer than three of the remaining aircraft in special commemorative schemes and allowing them to undertake a national farewell tour. With three aircraft flying three different routes on three consecutive days, the formation overflew RAF stations and locations associated with the Tornado during its long service career, with many thousands of people lining the route to catch one last look at this aviation classic. Unfortunately, due to aircraft serviceability issues, these flights were not undertaken by all three of the specially presented aircraft at the same time, however, a previously arranged RAF photoshoot featuring the illustrious Tornado trio produced a series of iconic images, which will help to commemorate almost 40 years of exceptional service by this aircraft.
One of the most distinctive military aircraft ever to take to the skies, the mighty Avro Vulcan provided Britain with a high-profile nuclear deterrent during the period known as the ‘Cold War’, as the second of Britain’s famous V-Bombers to enter RAF service. Continuing a proud heritage of Avro bomber types which began with the twin engined Manchester, the Vulcan was a highly advanced tail-less delta design which possessed the ability to effectively deliver either nuclear or conventional weapons, including the fearsome ‘Blue Steel’ standoff nuclear missile. Operating at higher altitudes, the first Vulcan’s in RAF service were finished in an overall white anti-flash scheme, intended to protect the aircraft in the seconds following detonation of a nuclear device, however, advances in Soviet anti-aircraft missile defences brought about a significant change in the aircraft’s attack profile. Moving from high to low altitude strike operations during the early to mid 1960s, Vulcans retained their white undersides, but were given a striking grey and green camouflage on their upper surfaces, markings which really suited the huge delta shape of this magnificent aircraft. Although moving to low-level bombing operations, retention of the white anti-flash undersides clearly illustrates the Vulcan’s continued role as a nuclear armed strategic bomber.
Lincolnshire’s RAF Waddington base will always be inextricably linked with the operation of the Avro Vulcan bomber, with the station welcoming the first Vulcans to enter RAF service with No.83 Squadron in 1957 and going on to serve as home to the last flying Vulcan (XH558) of the Vulcan Display Flight until its disbandment in 1992. At their height of operations, the Vulcans of the Waddington Wing must have made for an impressive sight, particularly when performing a four-ship scramble, with these mighty bombers, which possessed fighter-like performance, blasting into Lincolnshire skies, one after the other, in a high-profile demonstration of Britain’s aerial might. Avro Vulcan XM575 was the second B.2 Blue Steel equipped aircraft to be fitted with the upgraded Olympus 301 engines and would go on to see service with Nos.617, 101, 50 and 44 Squadrons, as part of both the Scampton and Waddington Wings during its career. She was one of three Vulcans which took part in the Falklands Victory Flypast over central London in October 1982, but was retired from RAF service the following year. Her final flight would be to East Midlands Airport and a new career as the much loved centrepiece exhibit of the East Midlands Aeropark, where she can still be admired to this day. She is displayed wearing the colours of RAF No.44 Squadron, the unit in which she was operating when this icon of the Cold War was withdrawn from service.
The aviation product of a 1960s Anglo-French collaboration, the SEPECAT Jaguar was a highly effective tactical strike/attack, close air support and reconnaissance aircraft, which went on to see service with the Royal Air Force for an impressive 33 years. Featuring a high set wing and long undercarriage, the Jaguar was capable of being operated from grass airfields and roughly prepared landing strips, an ability which was famously demonstrated in front of the British press on 26th April 1975. Flying from the nearby British Aircraft Corporation airfield at Warton, second production Jaguar GR.1 XX109 made a parachute assisted landing on the carriageway of the soon to be opened M55 motorway at Weeton, near Blackpool. BAC test pilot Tim Ferguson made a familiarisation pass over the landing area, before bringing the Jaguar in low over a motorway bridge and impressively slamming it down on the carriageway, as part of the Jaguar’s ongoing operating trials programme. Once landed, the aircraft was taxied back to a semi-concealed position under the motorway bridge, where it was fitted with four bombs by armourers, to represent a full tactical weapons load for the aircraft. With the carriageway clear, the Jaguar blasted into the air once more, clearly demonstrating the operational flexibility of the RAF’s new strike jet, with the pilot later describing the thrilling events as posing him ‘no problems’ and not being beyond the capabilities of the squadron pilot. Although the nuclear capable SEPECAT Jaguar’s ability to operate from rough ground and motorways undoubtedly enhanced its operational effectiveness, this attribute was never actually called upon during its service career, with the M55 motorway landing in 1975 proving to be the most highly publicized demonstration of these impressive capabilities. With a number of TV cameras recording the momentous occasion, these videos not only show the Jaguar being operated in spectacular fashion, but also many members of the public appearing to be standing perilously close to the action at the side of the motorway, something which would certainly not be allowed in these current health and safety conscious times. The thrilling aviation events which took place on the M55 back in 1975 have also been beautifully captured by talented award winning aviation artist Simon Mumford, whose painting entitled ‘Motorway Trials’ was part of the 2019 Guild of Aviation Artists annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. It shows the moment Jaguar XX109 came in for its landing on the M55 motorway, passing only feet from a bridge and seconds before its landing parachute was deployed. Spending most of its career as a trials aircraft, SEPECAT Jaguar XX109 is now one of the prized exhibits at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, where she can be seen wearing a smart RAF No.54(F) glossy scheme.
As Britain’s aviation enthusiasts finally came to terms with the fact that the Panavia Tornado GR4 had been withdrawn from RAF service during March 2019, many will have been pleased to note that one of the final Tornado squadrons was to immediately re-equip with the Eurofighter Typhoon. As one of the two final RAF Tornado squadrons, No.IX(B) Squadron is one of the oldest units in the Royal Air Force and one which had been associated with the Tornado since the aircraft first entered service back in 1982. Its distinctive ‘Green Bat’ emblem had adorned the tail of one of the specially presented Tornados during the final months of the aircraft’s service and on the day No.IX Squadron surrendered their Tornado GR4s at Marham, they immediately re-formed at RAF Lossiemouth, this time equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon.
During the transitional period, the RAF mounted an iconic photo sortie where the IX(B) Squadron retirement Tornado GR4 ZG775 flew over RAF Lossiemouth in formation with Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 ZJ924, with both aircraft proudly displaying the unit’s famous ‘Green Bat’ motif and confirming this interesting aviation development. Relinquishing their strike and reconnaissance roles, No.IX(B) Squadron will now serve as an air defence unit, providing Northern QRA cover for the UK, with an additional responsibility for providing air-to-air aggressor support for other fast jet units throughout Europe, simulating the tactics of potential adversaries. Situated on the beautiful Moray coastline in north-eastern Scotland, RAF Lossiemouth is now the most northerly of the remaining Royal Air Force bases and is certainly one of the most active.
Scheduled to welcome the first of the RAF’s new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in 2020, Lossiemouth is also home to no fewer than four Typhoon fighter squadrons, including No.IX(B) Squadron, which only arrived at the station in April 2019, having relinquished their long association with the Panavia Tornado. Equipped with some of the RAF’s early Tranche 1 Typhoons, in addition to undertaking vital air defence duties, No.IX(B) Squadron will also undertake the fascinating aggressor role, where these aircraft will provide air combat training support for other fast jet units by adopting tactics used by potential adversaries. This role has previously been undertaken by the Hawk T.1A trainers of No.100 Squadron, so the Typhoon will offer a significant upgrade in role capability, with their services being in high demand. It remains to be seen if any of these aircraft will be given distinctive new schemes to resemble those found on Russian aircraft, which will immediately make these Typhoons favourites with aviation enthusiasts. In recognition of the illustrious wartime history of No.IX Squadron, Typhoon ZJ924 carries the codes WS-J on its tail, which refer to Lancaster Centurion W4964 ‘Johnnie Walker – Still Going Strong’, one of only 35 wartime Lancasters to complete 100 operational sorties or more.
The unrivalled versatility and load carrying capabilities of the Boeing Chinook helicopter has ensured that this mighty twin rotor heavy lift machine is now one of the most famous aircraft to see post war Royal Air Force service. Equally at home on the battlefields of the Middle East as it is dropping ballast sacks to prevent a dam burst a little closer to home, the Chinook has now been in RAF service since 1980, with the latest variant of this magnificent machine enhancing its already legendary operational flexibility still further. As well as being one of the most important aircraft currently in service, the Chinook is a consummate Airshow performer and a real crowd favourite wherever it performs, with the RAF’s Chinook Display Team having the privilege of demonstrating the aircraft’s power and manoeuvrability to tens of thousands of people every summer.
Retaining their fully operational status at all times, the team must balance normal training requirements with practicing for their dynamic display routine and even though a Chinook is scheduled to take part in an Airshow near you, it could be called away on deployment at a moment’s notice. If it does display, there is nothing quite like the experience of seeing this huge helicopter being hurled around the sky, with a Chinook’s iconic ‘blade slap’ being a definite Airshow highlight.
During the summer of 2016, no less than three of the RAF’s Chinook helicopters received attractive special centenary schemes, to commemorate the individual anniversaries of their parent squadrons. The first of the three aircraft to emerge from the paint shop was No.18(B) Squadron’s ZA712 in April 2015, resplendent in its handsome red and black scheme, which included a large poppy on its front rotor housing. Originally formed at RAF Northolt in 1915, the squadron has a rich service heritage, which includes claiming more than 200 enemy aircraft destroyed by the end of the Great War and mounting the operation to drop a replacement artificial leg for famous RAF ace pilot Douglas Bader , following his capture in the summer of 1941.
During more than 55 years as a helicopter unit, No.18 Squadron famously provided the only Chinook support during the Falklands War, as ZA718 ‘Bravo November’ was the only one of four of these mighty helicopters to survive the Argentine double Exocet missile attack on the Atlantic Conveyor container ship, requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence in support of the conflict. Commemorating the squadron’s centenary, Chinook HC4 ZA718 wore these distinctive markings during a high profile official photoshoot, featuring the other two centenary Chinooks and also performed a number of displays during the 2015 Airshow season, to the delight of UK enthusiasts.
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Hobbymaster Updated Photo Gallery.
Check out the latest photos from Hobbymaster that have now been added to the Flying Tigers website. Please click on the image of your choice to go straight to the model page.
Calibre Wings New Model Announcement
Calibre Wings have just announced their latest F-14 Tomcat and it is now available to pre-order at Flying Tigers today. If you want one, this model will be highly limited as usual so don’t delay in ordering. Please click on the image/link below to go straight to the model page.
Modelsvit 1/72nd scale model kit (VERY LARGE KITS)
THESE ARE VERY LARGE MODELS ! WINGSPAN APPROX 40 AND 48 INCHES LONG.
Please note this model is made of high quality fibreglass main body and normal plastic sprues for the rest of the model.
This is one time offer ! Orders must be confirmed by close of business Friday 17th January. Call me if you want to pay by installments 01604 499034.
That is all for this week.