RAF Celebrates 100th Anniversary

103 historic warbirds flew over the capital of the United Kingdom to mark the centennial.

RAF 100 anniversary
Thousands of people watched as 103 RAF aircraft flew over the city of London.Royal Air Force

This week, the United Kingdom celebrated a major milestone in the history of the Royal Air Force with several events commemorating its 100th birthday. On Tuesday, 100 days after the anniversary, 103 historic warbirds flew over the capital of the U.K., London. The Royal family watched the event along with what the RAF estimated to be more than 70,000 people who bent their necks to watch the impressive flyby over the Buckingham Palace. A video of the flyover can be seen here.

Squadron leader Mike Child said it took more than nine months to prepare for the massive formation flight, which required much coordination not only between the pilots but also with air traffic control. 22 RAF Typhoons formed up in the shape of the number 100 as part of the flyby, which also consisted of various military helicopters, propeller fighters, jet fighters, cargo carriers, bombers, trainers and surveillance airplanes. In addition to the flyover, more than 1,000 servicemen and women paraded on the ground.

July 10 also marked the conclusion of a 100-day RAF Baton Relay, which crisscrossed every region of the United Kingdom as well as some overseas locations, like Washington, D.C., the Falkland Islands, the Middle East and Afghanistan. A variety of runners from 20 RAF sports association carried the baton on the ground and on various RAF vehicles. The baton is now installed in an exhibit at the Royal Air Force Museum in London.

A wide range of RAF warbirds from WWI, WWII and the Cold War to modern age is now participating in the RAF100 Aircraft Tour. In addition to viewing the historic aircraft, visitors can enjoy educational exhibits. The tour will stop in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, August 10 to 12; Birmingham, August 25 to 27; Glasgow, August 31 to September 2 and Manchester, September 14 to 16.