So far this year the weather has been, quite frankly, rubbish! First we had all that snow and now we are getting a combination of cloudy days or rain. With that in mind when I saw the forecast for Tuesday 23rd March as promising sun I had to jump at the chance.
RAF Coningsby had the best forecast and it would give me a chance to catch up on the Typhoons delivered since my last visit and hopefully a marked up 6 Sqn Typhoon (they are due to stand up at the start of next month and three air frames already have 6 Sqn tail codes but no squadron markings flying).
No such luck with the 6 Sqn Typhoons but I was able to catch two of three Tornado GR4s operated by 41(R) Sqn with tail codes from the days when they operated Spitfires in the Battle of Britain. The tail codes have been applied to all the aircraft 41(R) Sqn operates.
41(R) Sqn BoB Tail Codes
29(R) Sqn, the Typhoon OCU, were busy as usual with Typhoon, Triplex and Shocker callsigns being used. Typhoon 47 and Typhoon 48 were flown as singletons on the Typhoon T3 with the QFI in the rear seat and the student in the front seat. They must still be early in the training program as the sortie only lasted an hour and both made a single engine overshoot.
Shocker flight, 29(R) Sqn, were operating with 11(F) Sqn marked Typhoons, tail codes DH and DXI. This is because of the redistribution of Typhoons when a new airframe arrives.
3(F) were also operating using Rampage and Chaos callsigns. They were also making use of the ‘hot pit’ – an area where aircraft are left running the crew change, the aircraft hot refuelled and then go back out for another sortie. This practice is becoming more common of late as it helps to reduce the time needed to turn around aircraft but does mean for people outside the fence you see the same airframes again and again.
To commemorate 70 years since the Battle of Britain new 41(R) Squadron codes have recently been applied to the tail fins of various serving aircraft. Several Battle of Britain pilots who served with 41 (F) Squadron have thus been honoured. These include the following:
Sqn Ldr Hilary Hood, Sqn CO who flew Spitfire Mk Ia, EB-R P9428 applied to Tornado GR4 ZA447 / EB-R
With thanks to John Shipman, author of ‘One of The Few’.