Trooping the Colour – the flypast we didn’t get on Coronation Day

To Stratford and the Olympic Park, again.

On the day of the Coronation last month it was too wet to safely fly all the aircraft of the anticipated flypast at low level over highly populated London. Readers with an interest will remember that I didn’t haul myself out of my armchair to rush to our favoured spot on the Olympic Park but watched the helicopters and the Red Arrows on TV.

There isn’t usually a full flypast over London after the Trooping the Colour ceremony to celebrate the monarchs birthday (whenever they were actually born the official celebration is early summer – a good chance of better weather) but this was an excellent opportunity for the abandoned event from Coronation Day.

I haven’t got a photograph (or a decent one) of every aircraft; and if aircraft are not your interest I do understand.

The helicopters were first.  I had the benefit of a list issued by the RAF which I printed from the Military Airshow UK website. It’s good to be a nerd.  The Juno led, then various Wildcats, Merlins, Apaches, a Puma and Chinooks.


Two of the Merlins, followed by my favourites, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The Flight operates six Spitfires, two Hurricanes, a Lancaster, a C47 Dakota, and two Chipmunk aircraft; today we saw the Lancaster, the two Hurricanes and one of the Spitfires.

The Spitfire is in D-Day colours. Note the eliptical wings. Both these photographs above were taken by my husband. My photographs were not good enough.

I’m not displeased with the photographs following.

Then a Phenom and 4 Texans used for training,

then, sad moment, three Hercules aeroplanes on their retirement appearance.  They, as you will know, are American made and have been used by the RAF since 1966. My husband jumped out of them many times in the 1970s.  Considered a solid, reliable aircraft and held in affection by many.

Next a long-range, heavy lifting Globemaster which I did not photograph to my satisfaction.

The next aircraft were a Voyager, which is a transporter and air to air refuelling tanker and an A400 Atlas.

This particular Voyager is named Vespina and she is customised as airbus transport, and suitable for VIPs when required. She isn’t for the exclusive use of the Prime Minister but is the nearest we have to the US Airforce One.  The Atlas, which has replaced the Hercules was in close formation behind.

Then a Poseidon and two Typhoons, and 6 Lightenings.

18  Typhoons in the formation CR, Charles Rex. Last year, for the Platinum Jubilee of the late Queen they formed the number 70.

Finally the Red Arrows RAF display team led by an Envoy IV, which I have never seen before. Envoy IV is so new I had to look it up. The Envoy III was a light transport plane of WWII. The two new planes named Envoy IV are also light and fast transport and look to have similar duties to Vespina, for smaller parties.

The Red Arrows were at the white smoke stage. As they approached The Mall ready to fly over Buckingham Palace the outer planes change to red and blue smoke.  We were not high enough or near enough to see them do this.

It’s a nice evening; I’m going to leave this as a happy piece for aircraft enthusiasts.

Photographs E Weatherwax and Long-suffering Husband. . East London, June 2023.

3 Responses

  1. Esmirelda
    Glad you enjoyed the flypast with husband. Many thanks for posting these photos.

    Sadly, caption for 5th picture is wrong. The picture shows a Voyager followed by an A400 Atlas (not a Globemaster followed by a Voyager).

    Melvyn POUND

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