Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton Air Day 2016 on Saturday 2 July will host a rare pair of restored WW2 fighters at the Royal Navy’s premier airshow. Joining RNAS Yeovilton’s resident historic naval aircraft, the UK’s only active Corsair and one of just three Seafires airworthy in the world will both perform solo displays and a joint flypast during Air Day’s five-hour flying display. Underlining naval airpower’s rapid evolution during WW2, these classic types will very much bring naval aviation heritage to life.
The powerful Corsair was in Fleet Air Arm (FAA) service between 1943 and 1947. Many examples equipped the British Pacific Fleet, the Royal Navy’s response to Japan during WW2’s final months. Painted to represent just such an aircraft, The Fighter Collection’s FG-1D Corsair will be making its first Air Day appearance in many years. Also in a British Pacific Fleet scheme, Air Leasing Ltd’s Seafire LFIIIc, which was originally built at the nearby Westland factory, is brand new to the show. Built in 1944 and, after a lengthy restoration, reflown in 2015, it is among the 2,000-plus ‘navalised Spitfires’ produced.
The Royal Navy Historic Flight based at RNAS Yeovilton will also be out in force at Air Day. Its Swordfish I, W5856, will perform in the flying display while its Swordfish II, LS326, plus its Sea Fury FB11, will be on static display. First flown in 1934, the Swordfish was already considered passé when WW2 broke out but on numerous occasions won its spurs on operations staged thereafter. With its ‘Bismarck 75’ theme, Air Day will acknowledge a landmark Swordfish engagement that took place 75 years ago during which examples helped sink the German Navy’s largest battleship at the time – Bismarck. W5856 – Air Day’s flying Swordfish – wears an authentic 820 NAS scheme that directly represents one of these Bismarck attackers.
It was a later conflict, Korea, that saw the Sea Fury rise to prominence. Introduced in 1945, the Sea Fury was the FAA’s ultimate piston-engined fighter. While not currently flying, the RNHF’s Sea Fury FB11 will be just one of the static highlights for Air Day’s expected 40,000 visitors.
Further display team, fast jet and historic aircraft participation news will be announced in due course. Discounted advance tickets can be purchased at www.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday