The World famous Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the "Black Arrows", received a Royal guest at their Wattisham, Suffolk, base Mar 29.
The World famous Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the "Black Arrows", received a Royal guest at their Wattisham, Suffolk, base Mar 29. The Duke of Edinburgh presented them with the Britannia Challenge Trophy for 1959 - awarded by the Royal Acro Club for the year's most outstanding achievement in aviation. This was the first time the trophy has been awarded to a RAF Squadron.
Arriving by helicopter, Prince Philip, wearing the uniform of a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, hoped to see a thrilling display by the Squadron. He was disappointed. A few minutes before his arrival, Squadron Leader P. A. Latham, the Squadron Commander, decided the weather - low cloud and driving rain - was too bad.
Part of 'front-line' No. 111 Squadron, aerobatics are to them just a "sideline". Flying Hawker 'Hunter' jet fighters, the "Black Arrows" gave more than 50 major performances of breathtaking precision flying in six countries last year. More than three million people saw the team in action. Fan mail letters arrive in large quantities from all parts of the world.
In Norway last year they caused a 30-mile traffic jam around an airfield when people flocked to see their display. In Portugal the team left smoke trails in the sky forming a gigantic "M" over Lisbon, as a tribute to Britain's Princess Margaret who was attending a trade fair there. At Le Bourget, France, in June they outclassed displays by other national air force teams. But the year's highlight was reserved for Britain's annual Farnborough Air Show. There they demonstrated their newest and most thrilling manoeuvre..the "Bomb Burst".
Screaming heavenwards - trailing smoke - in a wingtip-to-wingtip formation of nine aircraft, the "Black Arrows" peel off one by one to leave the impression of smoking shrapnel hurtling on its destructive way after the bomb has exploded.