The uplifting power of aviation

These are difficult times. And there’s a lot to be worried about, from the health of our loved ones; to the longer term state of the economy. So finding ways to lift the spirits is absolutely essential. And aviation has always played a very important role here, with flypasts used for decades, to mark important occasions and celebrations across the world.

These recent weeks of the coronavirus crisis are no exception. And in fact, with the skies relatively empty at the moment, seeing spectacular aircraft soaring overhead, has been arguably more uplifting and powerful than ever. Here are some recent examples.

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Red Arrows over London for VE Day 75th anniversary

A flypast of red, white and blue was seen over London on Friday 8th May, as the famous Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (better known as the Red Arrows) marked 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.

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Nine of the team’s distinctive fast-jets trailed their signature colours, in the aerial tribute, flying east-to-west across the UK capital, including a route over the famous sights of central London.  RAF Typhoon jets also took to the skies in spectacular flypasts above Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Spitfire flyover honours WW2 veterans, including Colonel Tom

The sight of a Spitfire overhead is for many, one of the most poignant reminders of the Second World War, and an enduring symbol of hope and resilience.

Spitfire flyover

An original 1940’s Spitfire flew over England as part of the VE Day celebrations, in a ‘Salute The Heroes’ route chosen to honour 11 individual war veterans.  The SM520 took off from Boultbee Flight Academy in Goodwood, Sussex around midday before looping around the south of England.

Those honoured by the flypast include Colonel Tom Moore, the 100-year-old veteran who has raised over £33 million for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden.  

Blue Angels flyover US cities

Operation America Strong is a series of flyovers, over multiple US cities by the US Navy’s Blue Angels world-renowned stunt jet team. Some of the earlier flyovers also included the US Air Force Thunderbirds.




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The primary purpose of the 20-30 minute flyovers, which have been seen over Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, Houston, New Orleans and more – is to honour healthworkers, first responders and others fighting on the front lines against COVID-19.

But as Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations said, it was also an important way of raising spirits across the country: “This is our way of showing that we are all in this together and that America’s spirit will prevail.”

Moscow air parade

Residents of Moscow and other cities in Russia enjoyed a spectacular flypast and air parade, as part of the Russian celebrations to mark the anniversary of the end of Second World War.

Four aerobatic groups of Russia’s Aerospace Force coordinated in the main display, over Moscow’s Red Square. And Military aircraft later flew over many other cities, across the country.

President Vladimir Putin told Russians they were invincible if they stood together in a TV broadcast, as he presided over the celebrations. Overhead, 75 military planes and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighters, flew over central Moscow, with one group of jets leaving a trail in the sky in the colours of the Russian flag.

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