Aircraft illustrating RNAS Yeovilton’s earliest days and Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland’s hi-tech future will underline Air Day’s two main anniversary themes. Separated by decades of history, each type will have a starring role in Air Day’s five-plus hour flying display on Saturday 11 July.
Exactly 75 years ago, on 18 June 1940, RNAS Yeovilton was commissioned as HMS Heron. Hawker Sea Hurricanes were among the first aircraft to be subsequently based here and a very rare surviving example is set to take part in the flying display at Air Day. The Shuttleworth Collection’s Hawker Sea Hurricane 1b Z7015 was built in 1939 and equipped the Royal Navy’s 801 and 880 Naval Air Squadrons between 1941 and 1942. Both of these squadrons were based at RNAS Yeovilton during that same period, making Z7015 a very likely former resident. Its involvement in Air Day will represent a homecoming for one of the UK’s display scene’s most cherished warbirds. Besides the Sea Hurricane, other historic fixed wing naval aircraft helping Air Day celebrate RNAS Yeovilton’s past 75 years include the Avro XIX, Swordfish, Seafire, Sea Fury, Sea Vixen, Phantom and Sea Harrier.
AgustaWestland was founded in 1915 as the Westland Aircraft Works and thus celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2015. The firm’s state-of-the-art AW609 TiltRotor will perform for the very first time in the UK at a public military airshow as part of Air Day’s AgustaWestland centenary line-up: a real Air Day coup. The AW609, the world’s first civil tiltrotor aircraft, can hover like a helicopter and fly as fast and high as a fixed wing turboprop aircraft due to its tilting rotors and is set to revolutionise the rotorcraft market.
Additional AgustaWestland anniversary participants will include preserved examples of the Wasp, Scout, Sioux, Whirlwind and Gazelle, plus QinetiQ’s A109E research helicopter. Air Day will also offer one last opportunity to see the Westland-built Sea King helicopter’s Commando and search and rescue variants in action over RNAS Yeovilton before their forthcoming retirement.
A full list of participants, further information and discounted advance tickets are available from www.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday