Tag Archives: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Special Colored RAF Typhoon FGR4 “GiNA” Returned to Operational Paint Scheme

Aviation Fans and Spotters Sad About Memorial Aircraft Being Repainted.

One of the most recognizable and popular demonstration aircraft in the world, a Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 registration ZK349 of the 29(R) Squadron, painted in a striking Battle of Britain commemorative camouflage paint scheme, has been returned to its original operational low-visibility tactical paint scheme.

The aircraft memorialized the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain celebrated in 2015. It has flown numerous airshow flight demonstrations around Europe since then.

Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 registration ZK349 of the 29(R) Squadron in its distinctive markings memorializing the WWII Hurricane of 249 Squadron’s Flt. Lt.James Brindley Nicolson. (Image credit: Paul Smith)

Typhoon ZK349, “GiNA” (from the G/NA designation around its roundel), was so popular she was voted the “Favourite Special Scheme” among airshow fans on the popular airshow forum “UK Airshow Review”. It won the vote by a large margin over other airshow performers. Fans of the aircraft started a “Save GiNA” campaign on Twitter with the hashtag “#SaveGina”.

News of the GiNA’s repainting was first seen in the Aviation Photographers closed group on Facebook.

A statement on the “Save GiNA” page read: “The campaign has been started with the intent of showing the RAF the weight of public opinion, so they can take that in to account when making any decisions to return the colour back to Grey or when deciding which aircraft to use. First and foremost the Typhoons are the UK’s most advanced fully operational Fighter Jets so we appreciate that priority must be given to their operational requirements which include defence of the Falkland Islands, their Quick Reaction Alert roles and current operations in the Middle East. However if the specific aircraft is available for the 2016 Display Season it is easy to see why the public would like to keep it in the unique colour scheme that little bit longer.”

News of GiNA’s repainting spread on Thursday around the world and was first seen in a post by Mr. Mike Grundy, a contributor in the closed Facebook group “Aviation Photographers”, a large international group of over 7,500 aviation photography fans.

The special colored Typhoon at RIAT 2015. (Paul Smith)

Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon ZK349 was originally repainted in 2015 to match the markings of a RAF WWII Hawker Hurricane belonging to 249 Squadron’s Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson. Nicolson was the winner of the Victoria Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross. This was the only Victoria Cross awarded to Fighter Command on Aug. 16, 1940.

Flight Lieutenant Nicolson was shot down in August 1940 by German aircraft over Southampton. He was seriously wounded when his Hurricane fighter was hit by enemy aircraft fire. He was about to bail out of his damaged, burning aircraft, but just before jumping he saw another German aircraft. Choosing to remain inside his burning plane and ignoring his grievous wounds, Flt. Lt. Nicolson aggressively pressed home a new attack and shot the additional enemy plane down. He received more serious burns over much of his body. When he did finally parachute to the ground, now even more gravely wounded, Home Guard volunteers who mistook him for a German pilot under his parachute mistakenly shot him in the legs.

In recognition of this heroic action and to commemorate the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAFBBMF) was formed. The flight is based at RAF Coningsby, a very busy Typhoon and fighter base in Lincolnshire. RAF Coningsby is also a very popular location for aircraft spotters and photographers from around the world. The fans and historians have grown a unique and constructive relationship with the base.

Night shot of “GiNA” on the ground at RAF Coningsby. (Paul Smith).

Mr. Paul Smith, 43, of Stourpaine was kind enough to share some of his excellent photos of the Typhoon affectionately known as “Gina” from her markings commemorating Flt. Lt. Nicolson’s Hurricane that wore the same G/NA designation around its roundel.

Paul Smith has traveled to airshows around the world, and we met him in person last year at Nellis AFB in the U.S. He told us this about Typhoon ZK349’s significance:

“In the run up to the 2015 airshow season there was a lot of speculation around what the RAF would do to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Britain’s finest hour. When I saw the first pictures of the aircraft rolled out of the paint shop I wasn’t disappointed! The Typhoon looks magnificent in the classic early wartime scheme of dark earth and green and I was particularly happy that they had chosen to represent the markings of a hurricane; the backbone of fighter command during the battle. We will remember all of ‘The Few’ and their extraordinary effort during the battle, but Flt Lt James Nicolson VC DFC is a fine representative of the many aircrews from all over the world who bravely took on the Luftwaffe in the battle for freedom from tyranny. Seeing the Typhoon put on such an excellent display with the iconic Spitfire was an incredible experience and the obvious difficulty of the routine with two such dissimilar aircraft was made to look effortless. (Editor’s note: Airshow demonstrations with the Typhoon were flown with a Spitfire, not a Hurricane, as Paul correctly notes here) I hope this project bodes well for the centenary of the RAF in 2018.”

Thanks to Mr. Paul Smith for his excellent photos and to our friends in the Facebook group Aviation Photographers for their assistance with this feature.

 

This epic video shows RAF pilot recreating Battle of Britain moves in a vintage Spitfire

Ever wondered what it was like to fly in a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain? This  video will give you an idea.

The video below will bring you aboard a vintage Spitfire recreating classic Battle of Britain moves over the English Channel, in order to give an idea of how intense flying against Luftwaffe fighters in 1940 really was.

The display footage was filmed on Sep. 10, at the Guernsey Air Display in RAF BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Mk V Spitfire AB910. The legendary fighter was flown by Wg. Cdr. Justin Helliwell, flying along with another iconic aircraft, the Hurricane Mk II PZ865 piloted by Sqn. Ldr. Dunc Mason.

The Channel Island displays at Guernsey and Jersey were part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and both air shows have been very special given the Island’s occupation during WWII.

Gorgeous cockpit video of the last Vulcan bomber flying in formation with the Red Arrows for the last time

The last flying Vulcan Bomber, XH558, flew with the Red Arrows one last time at the Southport Air Show.

After taking part in air shows for eight years, the last flying Vulcan bomber will perform its final flights today taking part at Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon and at Shuttleworth Uncovered Air Show, which will end Old Warden Collection airshow season.

Avro Vulcan XH558 (carrying civil registration G-VLCN), is the only airworthy bomber of a fleet of 134 Vulcan V bombers operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 2

The aircraft made its maiden flight in 1960 and was retired from active service in 1984, then it continued to fly with the RAF’s Vulcan Display Flight, performing until 1992.

Its display career restarted in 2008, after the Vulcan To The Sky Trust was able to bring the bomber back to airworthy condition the previous year, but on May 15 this year it was announced that 2015 would have been the delta-winged aircraft’s final flying season.

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 3

To salute the iconic plane, the Red Arrows display team performed a flypast with the mighty Cold War bomber for the last time during Southport Air Show on Sept. 19.

Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, remarked that “It was a great honour to lead a formation flypast with the Vulcan, particularly as the aircraft type was once based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – now home to the Red Arrows.”

Vulcan Red Arrows RAF cockpit 4

In the following beautiful video, taken from the cockpit of the bomber, you can join the Vulcan aircrew who flew with the Red Arrows for the final time.

This epic video shows a WWII Spitfire helping out a Cold War Vulcan bomber during nose wheel emergency

One British classic aircraft from WW2 helping out its Cold War compatriot at Scottish airshow.

This video was filmed on Sept. 5, at Prestwick airport, during the Scottish Airshow 2015 and it shows the last flying Vulcan bomber experiencing a nose wheel failure before landing.

As you can see in the interesting footage (that includes also radio comms on the Tower frequency) the Vulcan performed a flyover then initiated a right hand turn to land on runway 30. However, the nose gear did not extend fully and the V-bomber performed a second flyover before starting orbiting to the north of the airfield.

That’s when a Spitfire of the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) came to help: the WWII plane called up on the radio and asked if there was anyway he could help by giving the Vulcan a closer look from underneath the aircraft.

As the bomber slowed down to below 170 knots, the Spitfire formed up on its right wing and confirmed that the nose wheel was not properly extended.

In an attempt to unblock the gear the Vulcan performed some aggressive turns that eventually freed whatever was holding the nose wheel from extending allowing the Vulcan (preceded by the Spitfire) to perform a safe landing.

Well done to everyone involved in the emergency!

H/T to Alistair Moir for the heads-up!

 

Join a RAF Typhoon jet as it forms up with a Spitfire during RIAT air display

The “synchro pair” as seen from the cockpit of the “Battle of Britain” Typhoon.

The following video was filmed with different GoPro cameras from aboard the RAF Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 from 29 Sqn based at RAF Coningsby that was given a retro WWII era paint job as part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The footage was shot as the “Battle of Britain” Typhoon was taking part as “synchro pair” with a BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Spitfire in the Royal International Air Tattoo underway at RAF Fairford, airbase, UK.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is a cool shot taken by our contributor Tony Lovelock, of the Typhoon ZK349/GN-A landing at its homebase in May.

ZK349 Typhon FGR-4. 29 Sqd._3_2