In the United Kingdom (UK) on Saturday, May 6, 2023, Charles III was crowned King in a coronation watched by millions around the world.
To celebrate this monumental moment, a huge spectacle involving 68 aircraft was planned to flypast the newly crowned King while he stood on the balcony with his family at Buckingham Palace in London.
Unfortunately, the British weather lived up to its reputation and heavy rain meant the flypast was reduced to just a few helicopters and the legendary Red Arrows squadron.
However, the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force were determined to make it up to the new King.
On Saturday, June 17, 2023, King Charles III will celebrate his official birthday (not his actual birthday) by gathering his family and thousands of well-wishers for the Trooping the Colour parade.
Trooping the Colour is a tradition that dates back to the 17th century, with this year’s event involving over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians.
While a small flypast normally would be part of the tradition this year’s will be huge in comparison so the pilots and crews will finally be able to pay tribute to the King.
68 aircraft were planned to fly past Buckingham Palace in May 2023, but for the King’s official birthday this year a total of 70 will be involved.
The aircraft will take off from 15 different locations across the UK before joining up across the south-east of England and flying across the capital.
The event will feature a mix of aircraft ranging from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight dating back to the 1940s and the C-130 Hercules on its final ceremonial flight before retiring from service, to multiple Typhoon fighter jet aircraft and the Envoy IV CC1, making its flypast debut.
“We are very proud to be able to showcase our capabilities to our Commander-in-Chief, on this historic occasion for His Majesty the King. We have planned a fitting and appropriate tribute for our monarch, that should be a true spectacle for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth,” Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton said.
When will the flypast start?
The first aircraft will reach Buckingham Palace at 1pm UK time on Saturday, June 17, 2024, and the flypast will last for approximately six minutes.
What route will the aircraft fly?
The aircraft will take off from Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force air stations around the UK, joining holding patterns around the south-east of England before coming together in formation for the flypast. The aircraft will fly directly down the length of The Mall over Buckingham Palace.
For security reasons, the exact route the aircraft will take is not revealed, but if anyone in the UK wanted to catch a glimpse of the planes and helicopters as they set off from their bases, these are the areas they’d be most likely to see them:
Area A: North Sea and Norfolk Coast
Area B: Thetford, Norfolk and Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Area C: Ipswich, Suffolk
Area D: Colchester and Chelmsford, Essex
Area E: London
Area F: Croydon, London and Surrey
Area G: Reading, Berkshire, Swindon, Wiltshire and Oxford, Oxfordshire
Area H: Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire
Area I: Marlborough, Tidworth, Wiltshire
Which aircraft will be in the Flypast?
3x Juno HT1 helicopters
1x Wildcat Mark 2 helicopter
2x Merlin Mark 2 helicopters
1x Wildcat Mark 1 helicopter
4x Apache helicopters
1x Wildcat Mark 1 helicopter
2x Merlin Mark 4 helicopters
3x Chinook helicopters
1x Puma HC2 helicopter
1x Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
1x Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
2x Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
1x Phenom T1
4x Texan T1
3x C-130J Hercules
1x C-17 Globemaster
1x A400M Atlas
1x Poseidon MRA1
2x Typhoon FGR4
6x F-35B Lightning
18x Typhoon FGR4
1x Envoy IV CC1
9x Hawk – The Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team (The Red Arrows)