RAF wows Swansea as Wales Airshow returns
The RAF was back with a bang in the skies over Swansea this weekend as the Wales Airshow returned for the first since 2019.
Over two days, crowds lining the waterfront were treated to stunning air displays, interactive ground activities and family entertainment.
The World-famous RAF Red Arrows wowed as always, including a special formation to honour the Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year. This is called the Jubilee Present and features all seven jets turning in front of the crowd with patriotic red, white and blue colours trailing.
Squadron Leader Tom Bould, Red 1 and Team Leader, said: “As a team, the Red Arrows were thrilled to perform at the Wales Airshow. We always receive such a warm and enthusiastic response to our display here.
“Swansea Bay provides a brilliant, natural amphitheatre and it’s very satisfying to know as a display pilot that tens of thousands of people – many of them families – are lining the bay and enjoying the flying.
“Those at the event saw the Red Arrows’ new, exciting display for 2022 – featuring a special formation to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
“This show is a demonstration of teamwork, with months of preparation by our dedicated air and ground crews alike needed to ensure the display can go ahead.
“Some of these highly-skilled colleagues from our support team were also at the show in Swansea, with members of the public able to meet them and learn more about the RAF by visiting the branded Red Arrows tent.”
Other air displays included the RAF Chinook helicopter display team, who are also part of a fully operational squadron. They demonstrated the skill of the pilots and the capability of the aircraft.
Flight Lieutenant Matt ‘Schmitty’ Smyth, Chinook Display Captain, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that the Chinook Display Team was back in Swansea this year. It is always a highlight of our season. It’s also made special this year as one of our team members, Sergeant Scotty Morris is Welsh born and bred, with his family watching on the Sunday.”
Chinook display crewman, Sergeant Scotty Morris, said: “Having grown up in Blackwood, it is fantastic to bring the Chinook Display to Wales, as it was the first time I have had the chance to fly in front of my family in my 13-year career in the RAF. It is a privilege to fly for my son Quinn.”
Current aircraft training were represented as well by the Tutor, an aircraft used to train pilots and flown by the University of Wales Air Squadron at MoD St Athan.
Historical inspiration in the air was provided by the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the iconic sounds of the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster.
Paris Pratley-Gomez, of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, said: “It’s great to be back at Wales Airshow this year. Swansea Bay provides a beautiful setting and a great opportunity to wow the Welsh crowds once again!”
The story of the part played by Wales in the Battle of Britain is being told by an exhibition touring Wales, which is currently in Conwy and due to visit Swansea in the autumn. Created by the RAF’s Air Historical Branch and Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams, it has appeared at several venues across Wales since its launch at Cardiff last September.
Air Commodore Adrian Williams, said: “It was great to see the Wales airshow back in the 2022 calendar. The RAF really looked forward to the weekend, with lots of excellent displays for the Welsh public, both in the air and on the ground. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. “
It wasn’t just in the air that the Air Force was represented. In the RAF Village visitors were able to meet members of the RAF Regular and Reserve Forces and Cadets, to ask questions of the Red Arrows engineers and experience some of the equipment for themselves.
Swansea Council Cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “It was a fantastic weekend for Swansea. As the city’s reputation grows as a top class venue for big events, the annual Wales Airshow was a huge success.
“The show was also able to host the local leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, celebrating Birmingham’s forthcoming Commonwealth Games.”
Lead image: The BBMF (Battle of Britain Memoirial Flight) Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire. (Image: AS1 Anna Harris. / RAF)
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