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Queen's 80th Birthday Flypast
June 14, 2006
I was lucky to be invited to the Queen's 80th birthday flypast rehearsal on June 14, 2006, which was using RAF Marham as a stand-in for Buckingham Palace. The proposed formation was to consist of nine elements totalling 49 aircraft. I was to fly in the Tristar, however it went 'tech' at the last minute and I was fortunately swiftly moved across to the VC-10 K.3 (ZA148 'G') of 101 Squadron.
Five minutes early we overflew RAF Marham, which you can see below the two 6 Squadron Jaguars GR.3s.

Element 1 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, 2x Hurricane, Lancaster and 2x Spitfire
Element 2 - 4x Typhoon
Element 3 - C-17 with 2x Typhoon and 2x Jaguar on each wing
Element 4 - Tristar with a Typhoon and Jaguar on each wing
Element 5 - Nimrod with 4x Tornado GR.4
Element 6 - E-3D Sentry with 4x Tornado F.3
Element 7 - VC-10 with 4x Jaguar from 6 Squadron
Element 8 - 9x Tornado GR.4 of 9 Squadron in diamond 9 formation. The Queen is Commander in Chief of 9 Squadron.
Element 9 - 9x Hawks of the Red Arrows with a Canberra PR.9 which is about to retire.
The formation gathered at the 'Southwold Hold' in Suffolk once in position we headed NNW for RAF Marham, overflying the airfield five minutes early at 12:55.
Left to right: 6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3s (XX723 'EU', XX117 'ES', XZ109 'EN' and XZ399 'EJ') join up over the North Sea off the East Anglian coast with our VC-10, 'EN' and 'EJ' moving across to the port wing.
6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3s (XX723 'EU' and XX117 'ES') over the North Sea.
Left to right: 6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3s (XX723 'EU', XX117 'ES', XZ109 'EN' and XZ399 'EJ') join up over the North Sea off the East Anglian coast with our VC-10, 'EN' and 'EJ' moving across to the port wing.
Left to right: XZ399 'EJ' and XZ109 'EN' were flying most with the sun, if there was any, behind them. 'ES' was always the furthest away but I still managed to get an unobstructed shot.
Left to right: 6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3s (XX723 'EU' and XX117 'ES') approaching Marham and flying through low patchy cloud the Norfolk countryside is fleetingly bathed in sun.
Left to right: 6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3s (XX723 'EU' and XX117 'ES').
Left to right: 6 Squadron Jaguar GR.3s (XX723 'EU' and XX117 'ES').