What a fantastic week it was in London for the celebrations around the Royal Air Force and its centenary. In Horse Guards Parade, best known for the annual Trooping the Colour, an impressive display of aircraft from the First World War up to the latest acquisition for the RAF, the F 35 Lightning.
For me, a couple of aircraft stole the show. A Meteor as this was the first jet aircraft I can remember as a kid when we lived in Haringay. I clearly remember the sound of jet engines as two Meteors flew low overhead, so very different from piston engine propeller driven planes. The one on display had broken the world speed record at 622 MPH in 1946.
Then there was a Dakota DC3 which was the type of plane used in the Berlin Air Lift that I had my first flight on a school trip from Croydon Airport to Basel in Switzerland.
My father bought me my first camera, a Brownie 127 which was really an updated box camera as it had no adjustments; I used my sunglasses as a filter to bring the clouds out.
The culmination of RAF 100 events was a flypast with the largest number of aircraft for many years with 100 taking part. The very sound of all the Merlin engines from the Battle of Britain planes, Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, was truly awe inspiring.
The roar of three newest F35 Lightning stealth fighters on their first public appearance was a bit frightening.
Of course the magnificent Red Arrows display team brought the flypast to a very fitting finale, such skills in making the whole event happen so smoothly in a very British way.
I suspect it won’t be long before fighter aircraft will no longer be manned, drones similar in size and greater firepower will take over the role from anywhere with the pilots looking at a computers.
But until then I hope these aircraft are shown and flown at displays for many more years to come.
Images by Jeremy Hoare and Chizuko Kimura