Typhoon jets spell out 100 formation during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

News Photography – RAF 100 Centenary Flypast

“Not since the coronation has there been as many aircraft taking part than in the RAF 100 Centenary Flypast”

When you see a headline like that, as a photographer you’ve got to go & capture a small piece of history. The RAF 100 Centenary Flypast had been publicised in the press & online that 100 aircraft would take part. After Buckingham Palace reports said the flypast would split in 3 directions. One route would go pretty close to my house on transit over Windsor Castle… but which aircraft would take which route? Only one way to be sure, I had to be on The Mall….quite a few other people had the same idea!!!

crowds in the mall during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The Mall is full towards Buckingham Palace

Over 1000 Servicemen & women marched from Horse Guards Parade, down The Mall to the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Once they were in place, security opened up the road for the public to find a place ready for the flypast. On the dot of 1:00pm the first aircraft, well helicopters actually, came into view over Admiralty Arch.

The Fly Past….

helicopter fly past during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Puma HC2, Juno H135, Jupiter H145 & Chinook HC4 helicopter flight

These were followed by a series of aircraft from WW2 & the Battle of Britain Flight,

WW2 Battle of Britain flight during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Avro Lancaster Bomber, Spitfires & Hurricans from WW2

Dakota DC3 during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

De havilland Dakota DC3 trooper transport aircraft

trainer aircraft during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Tucano T1 & Prefect T1 trainer aircraft

hawk trainer aircraft during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Hawk T1 & T2 Trainer aircraft (….they fooled a few in the crowd who thought it was the Red Arrows!!!)

Transport & Surveillance aircraft were then followed by more modern day fighter jets

Hercules C130 & the Airbus A400M during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Hercules C130 & the Airbus A400M military cargo aircraft

Sentinel during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Sentinel

Rivet Joint RC-135W Jet during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Rivet Joint RC-135W Jet

Sentry AEWS during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

E-3D Sentry …Airborne Early Warning System

Tornado GR4 jets during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The ever dependable Tornado GR4 fighter bombers

Lighning jets during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The RAF brand new Lighning Jets…seen for the first time in a public display

Typhoon jets spell out 100 formation during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Typhoon FGR4 Fighter Jets spell out 100 formation

But no Flypast would be complete without our fantastic world famous RAF Red Arrows…… Smoke ONNNN!!!

The red Arrows over the mall during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The Arrows Arrive in Big Battle formation over the crowd

Red Arrows during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Red White & Blue

Red arrows over Buckingham Palace during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

The Red Arrows depart over Buckingham Palace

No sooner had the last of the smoke cleared so did most of the crowds….

So it was chance to walk around with the trusty Nikon & see what else could catch my eye. I looked around it was now clear to see there were blue uniforms everywhere. The Mall was filled with serving members of the RAF, retired veterans & young RAF Cadets about to start their careers. All could say “The RAF Centenary 100 flypast, in 2018…. I saw that, I was there!”

cadets pose for photos during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

Proud day for young RAF Cadets

RAF cadets Buckingham Palace during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

RAF Cadets in front of Buckingham Palace

As with my wildlife photography, it’s often better to find a good spot & then wait for the images to come to you rather than chase them. People everywhere were having a great day & really got into the spirit of the celebration!!

man with union flag during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

…a lot of patriotic fans in the crowd, but non more so than this man!

man in 100 T shirt during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

…great T shirt

My eye caught this RAF pin badge forgotten & left on top of a bollard. As I framed up this shot, to my right I heard police motorbikes firing up…

Well, it was too good an opportunity to miss as I was in a great spot for a different angle. So into the middle of the road I went….” Are you going to pull out in full CHiPS formation (showing my age there) or one behind the other?” I shouted across to an officer as he put his helmet on….”I’ll be happy if I stay on it with you being there ready to catch the shot!!” he replied laughing.

Police rider pull outduring RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

CHiPS…. I’m showing my age there!!!

Police motorcycle rider during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

J Patrol

Police motorcycles during RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

….Straight on lads

And then it was gone, all over. The Mall returned almost to normal, the crowds had left, the road being cleared. Ready for the trucks to arrive with the traffic lights to be refitted.

The mall after RAF 100 centenary fly past news photography by Ian Skelton Photography

….& then they were gone!!

There’s always a story to be told & photo to be taken everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes open & be ready to grab the moment…. oh & try not to get run over!!!