Today marks the end of an era. The Royal Navy Historic Flight, charged with celebrating and commemorating the heritage of the Fleet Air Arm by maintaining historic examples of the service’s aircraft, will stand down. This vital task will continue in the capable hands of the ‘Navy Wings’ charity, which has been working with the RNHF for several years now, but as of today, the Royal Navy’s direct running and funding of a unit equipped with historic aircraft will end.
I’ve been lucky enough to see the work of the Flight on numerous occasions over the years, visiting their base of operations several times, seeing maintenance and test flying, and interviewing personnel and volunteers including two Commanding Officers, Lieutenant Commander Ian Sloane and Lieutenant Commander Chris Gotke, for the aviation media. I’ve been able to attend events, including the recent celebration of the Fairey Swordfish, and a night photoshoot with the Flight’s aircraft. I’d like to thank all those from the Flight who have been so welcoming and helpful, including Chief Engineer Howard Read and especially Katie Campbell, the Flight’s display manager.
It’s difficult to encapsulate the work of the Flight in words, so I’ll let pictures do the talking. The first are some of the Flight’s leaders over recent years
The next set are from my visit at the Flight’s old WW2-era blister hangar in October 2012
The following photographs are from a visit to the RNHF in 2016, when they had moved to a new, modern hangar with much more space
Night photoshoot of the Flight’s aircraft organised by Navy Wings at RNAS Yeovilton in 2017
…And finally from the Navy Wings Fairey Swordfish event in 2018
Please consider supporting Navy Wings so they can continue the work begun by the RNHF. Their website can be found here