Lincolnshire’s incredible RAF heritage will be on display for the world to see this weekend, as aircraft from our county lead the way in the historic flypast for the Coronation of King Charles III.
On Saturday, May 6, the United Kingdom will collectively pause to celebrate its first royal Coronation since the 1950s, as King Charles III is officially crowned as the leader of the British monarchy.
To stick with tradition, an official Coronation will be held in London on Saturday, with a huge flypast arranged over Buckingham Palace and The Mall after the main ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Front and centre of this flypast will be Lincolnshire’s finest examples of aircraft – from the historic Spitfires of RAF Coningsby’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team, to the instantly recognisable Red Arrows of RAF Waddington.
Keen planespotters in Lincolnshire will have seen a series of rehearsals in the county over the past couple of weeks, as preparations accelerate ahead of this era-defining day in Great Britain.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of this Saturday’s main event:
Which aircraft will take part?
68 aircraft will be flying over London for the flypast, including a full cohort of the Red Arrows, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
Also taking part will be the historic Spitfires from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which happens to also operate out of Lincolnshire – in the Typhoon base of RAF Coningsby.
A total of 16 helicopters will accompany the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Red Arrows during the flypast.
Joint RAF and Navy crewed F-35B Lightning jets will join the RAF’s P-8A Poseidon, along with transport aircraft from the Air Mobility Force, and the new Envoy IV CC1 at the event.
Not all of the aircraft has been confirmed as yet, but it will be ten times smaller than the flypast for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, as per King Charles III’s wish for a slimmed-down ceremony.
The route for the flypast has been split into restricted airspace zones, though exact details of the route cannot be disclosed for security reasons.
The first zone is over the North Sea and Norfolk Coast; followed by Norfolk (Thetford) and Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich); Essex (Colchester and Chelmsford); London; London Croydon and Surrey; Berkshire (Reading), Wiltshire (Swindon) and Oxfordshire (Oxford); Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire; and finally Wiltshire (Marlborough, Tidworth).
Lincolnshire is not included on the route, but if you have had your eyes to the sky recently you will have seen the Reds practising for the big day above our county.
It is expected that all jets will fly over Buckingham Palace at 2.30pm after the coronation ceremony, as well as the return procession from Westminster Abbey.
However, airspace restrictions have been set out for each of the zones, ensuring that all aircraft taking part in the flypast have a smooth passage along the route.
As previously mentioned, the exact times cannot be given due to security reasons, but a time range has been provided to ensure people keep a look out for the aircraft.
Zone A, which is the North Sea and Norfolk Coast, has restrictions in place between 1.15pm and 3pm, with all but Zones D and E – Essex and London (2pm-2.45pm and 2.10pm-2.45pm respectively) – having these restrictions until 3pm.
Area B – which is Thetford in Norfolk and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk – is given a time range of 1.45pm to 3pm for airspace restriction, while Area C (Ipswich in Suffolk) is a rounded hour between 2-3pm.
Areas F (London Croydon and Surrey), G (Reading, Swindon and Oxford), H (Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire) and I (Wiltshire) will have restrictions from 2.20pm to 3pm.
How to watch the Coronation
You will be hard pressed to not find an area in Lincolnshire where you can watch the Coronation this weekend, with most if not all areas of the county hosting big community events on the Saturday.
To see a roundup of some of Lincolnshire’s biggest Coronation events, click the link here.
If you wish to watch it from home, coverage of the Coronation will take place on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from 7.30am, ahead of the ceremony beginning at 11am from Westminster Abbey.
The procession will then arrive at Buckingham Palace for around 1.30pm, and the Armed Forces flypast takes place an hour later ove The Mall and Buckingham Palace.
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