Europe's largest military flying display -- the International Air Tattoo -- was opened to newsmen at the Greenham Common Royal Air Force base in England on Thursday (21 June).
Europe's largest military flying display -- the International Air Tattoo -- was opened to newsmen at the Greenham Common Royal Air Force base in England on Thursday (21 June). The 1979 Tattoo began with a re-enactment of the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by Alcock and Brown 60 years ago.
SYNOPSIS: The Tattoo has attracted over tow hundred and fifty of the world's most famous aircraft, and is a unique military flying spectacular. The plane used for the re-enactment of he trans Atlantic crossing was a supersonic RAF Phantom also crewed by en named Alcock and Browne. The first non-stop crossing in a converted Vickers Vimy bomber took nearly sixteen and a half hours -- the Phantom's flight just over five.
World War Two fighter ace, Sir Douglas Bader, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Beetham, were on hand to congratulate the modern-day Alcock and Brown when they touched down at Greenham. The Vickers Vimy could only manage an average speed of one hundred and twenty miles per hour, but the Phantom covered the route at over five times that speed. But unlike the 1919 heroes, the Phantom refuelled midway across the Atlantic -- courtesy of an old Victor bomber converted to the vital role of tanker.
Squadron Leader Tony Alcock is the nephew of the record-maker, Sir John Alcock, and carried his uncle's lucky black cat during the flight.
Most of the other aircraft stay on the ground, but there are also flying displays by many national Air Forces.
This year also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Lockheed Hercules, whose enormous capacity has been used by countless operators -- both military and civilian -- throughout the world.
The Lockheed company has produced over fifteen hundred models of the plane which has been called the workhorse of the jet age. Around nine hundred have been delivered to the U.S. Air force alone, and production is still continuing. The Hercules is familiar in both war and peace time, and is often used to ship food and medical supplies to the scene of major natural disasters.
The Tattoo opens to the public for two days from Saturday (23 June).