Wing News

Birthday Parade Fly Past for the Queen

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Cpl Alex Bandiera, a cadet at 413 Aldershot Squadron, had the opportunity to be part of the flypast for the Queens Birthday Parade. Cpl Bandeira takes up the story...

At 8.45am, Sat 12th June I arrived at RAF Brize Norton after being selected to take part in the fly past for this years Trooping of the Colour. Along with over 170 other Cadets from across the country I had been chosen to fly in an RAF Tristar which would fly directly over Buckingham Palace in honour of the Official Birthday for the Queen. The Tristar aircraft is normally used to transport troops to and from Afghanistan amongst other places

Take off was scheduled for 11am, we boarded and collected our lunch ready for takeoff. Once seated the aircrew did final checks before taxiing towards the runway. We were all proud to have been chosen for such a special occasion. After becoming airborne we made our way towards RAF Marham. Here we collected three Tornado GR4s that were to escort us during the event.

We circled for an hour whilst the Tornados assembled and took their positions at either side and behind us. Then we headed off towards the Thames Estuary where we waited, circling, along with other aircraft that were involved until we were to make the fly past over Buckingham Palace which was scheduled for 1pm.

There was a lot of turbulence created by the circling aircraft in front and some Cadets unfortunately suffered with air sickness quite badly but still had a great time. The Pilot announced that we were about to start the fly past and we descended before flying over Buckingham Palace. We flew directly over The Palace and so we did not manage to see the Queen, but as we were flying so low over London, (under 2000 feet) I managed to get some really great photographs of London and the accompanying Tornados.

After the fly past we flew back to RAF Marham and the accompanying Tornado GR4s returned to their base. Then we flew back to Brize Norton, after landing we had group photos taken before returning to Hampshire.

It was an amazing day, I feel really lucky and privileged to have been chosen for such a fantastic opportunity. I have flown in a number of aircraft whilst in the Air Training Corps but never in a Tristar; it is thanks to the Air Training Corps and 413 (Aldershot) Sqn that I have had this once in a lifetime opportunity.