The Lynx was a favorite helicopter of mine in my teens. It was in service with both the Royal Navy and the British Army in substantial numbers. We used to see them a lot as they often flew past our home on the seafront in Cowes moving between the Navy bases at Portland and Portsmouth. The Lynx has gone from UK service, replaced by the Wildcat. I hadn’t seen any Wildcats before RIAT so was glad to see them from both the Army and the Navy (not that they look that different unliked their predecessors). Old style Lynxes were still represented though. The German Navy had an example visiting. They are not going to be around for much longer, though. They will be replaced early in the 2020s.
The British Army display of the WAH-64D Apache is one I have seen plenty of pictures of but I haven’t had much of a chance to shoot it myself. The majority of the display is pretty standard stuff with them maneuvering tightly in front of the crowd, much like the US army’s display of the similar type. They do use a little bit of pyro during the display but the finale is a wall of fire. I was a bit concerned about my position compared to theirs as they positioned for the big moment as the background looked like it might not be all fire. However, things turned out well enough and I got the sort of shot I was hoping for.
The Sikorsky Black Hawk is a ubiquitous helicopter. They are in service around the world and Sikorsky has a second production facility getting established in Poland. What is not so well known, though, is that Westland attempted to become a license producer of the helicopter for the UK and other markets. They went as far as to build an airframe from a knocked down kit. Meanwhile, another airframe was converted to with what was then the Rolls Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft engine for testing purpose. Together, these two airframes were demonstrated at Farnborough. The Westland derivative was not ordered by anyone and both airframes were ultimately converted to other configurations and sold on to other operators.
Another flashback post today. This one is an old Farnborough airshow and it included a rather large flying contribution from the Royal Navy. I don’t now recall exactly why the Navy was so committed to this show. This wasn’t even on the public show days when the display is often modified for the public from the format used for the trade days.
The main element of the display was six Sea Harriers. These were FRS1 models prior to the F/A2 upgrade program. The aircraft took off in groups of three and included a formation hovering routine with the jets arrayed along the runway providing a jet in front of most of the viewing crowd. Some fast flying was also a part of the display of course.
Helicopters also contributed to the display and the low speed capabilities of the Harrier meant that it was possible to combine the fixed and rotary elements together in one formation. The whole thing made quite an impression as a recall. The sound of six hovering Harriers was certainly enough to give the eardrums a workout!
The end of the line has come for another UK military type. The Sea King HC4 has come to the end of the line for the Royal Navy. The Navy operated many Sea Kings in the anti-submarine role and for search and rescue before the Commando role was taken on. The Wessex fleet was aging and Westland had already come up with an assault version for the export market. Distinguished by its lack of radome and sponsons, the RN decided to use them as the replacement for the Wessex. I have seen them on many occasions. Living near Portsmouth as a kid, they frequently flew by. I also saw them at Navy Days. However, I have far fewer shots of them than I expected. They were not big airshow regulars.
The Junglie name had come from operations before their time and will, I suspect continue with their replacement in service, the Merlins that have been transferred from the RAF. With over 30 years of service, I guess they have done their job well.