Express: "Historic Flight Team Faces Chop Over MoD Funding"


War Hero
"They pioneered maritime air power during the Second World War with the first successful attacks by air on enemy warships including Germany’s mighty Bismarck. But the future of the Royal Navy’s Historic Flight, the display team which flies classic aircraft such as the Fairey Swordfish, was thrown into doubt last night after a decision by the Ministry of Defence to withdraw funding.

The move to axe an annual £350,000 subsidy, sources said last night, comes as Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson finalises his attempts to balance the books ahead of July’s Modernising Defence Programme.

And last night it was suggested that the same fate for the RAF’s equivalent, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – which boasts six Spitfires, two Hurricane Mk 2Cs, and a Lancaster – has only been delayed because of the public outcry that would result in axing it on the RAF’s 100th anniversary year."



Similar to what's happening at the RN glider club in Gosport. The tight-ar**d local council are wanting to shaft the club. Again another example of what our heritage means. Basically Jack Shit.


War Hero
I'm a huge aviation history buff with a particular penchant for WWII types. No-one would be sadder to see the RNHF aircraft pass into an uncertain future for what amounts to saving the cost of a couple of hours of F-35 flying annually than me.

However, I think the RNHF's decision to acquire and operate the Seahawk and particularly the Sea Vixen (albeit under the Fly Navy Heritage Trust) was a mistake due to the additional cost and complexity involved. I'm not sure what the future holds for the latter following its wheels-up landing last year but I assume that this has also added to the costs. Personally, I think the RNHF would've been better off concentrating on their piston engined types, notably the Swordfish. Indeed, a Stringbag land-on on the QE is an enormous PR opportunity missed in my humble crustacean view (if they could operate from the tiny escort carriers of WWII, it could probably have done 3 touch and goes in the length of the QE deck before the ramp became a factor!).

Although a much bigger fleet, the BBMF is relatively cheap to operate; the main cost is probably the full time groundcrew but they emerge far better engineers due to the need for 'traditional' skills so it has always been felt to be 'worth the pain.' We also increasingly use the Flight for Defence Engagement tasks, particularly for those nations who have their own historic flights such as India and the USAF are extremely jealous of the BBMF.

Edited to add that my 'Fantasy RNHF line-up would be:

Fairey Flycatcher (a major advancement on naval fighter technology for its time and you can buy a replica off the Shuttleworth collection).
Fairey Swordfish (given it's achievements in European waters, the Atlantic and Med, particularly Esmonde's VC).
Grumman Wildcat/Martlet I (the RN's first modern naval fighter in WWII).
Vought Corsair (Norway, BPF just looks fantastic!).
Sea Fury (because it's British, got a MiG kill, also looks great and you own several).

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