And So The Season Begins…

After a phenomenal season in 2013, the RAF Odiham based Chinook Display Team are back for 2014 flying the Boeing Chinook HC2 with a fresh and expanded crew. 

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This will be the final year for the HC2 as the ‘Project Julius’ upgrade is due to come to an end before 2015.

Having flown the display for two years running, it was time for Flt Lt Paul Farmer to hand over the reigns to a new team. Selected back in the Spring, the 2014 team has grown to include six members – Display Manager Flt Lt Chris Gordon DFC, Display Pilot Flt Lt Charlie Brown, Display Co-Pilot Flt Lt Andy Waldron, Display Co-Pilot Matt Butwell, Display Crewman Sgt Anna Irwin and returning for a second year and keeping some experience within the team, Display Crewman Sgt Andy Caldwell.

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L-R: Flt Lt Chris Gordon DFC, Flt Lt Andy Waldron, Sgt Andy Caldwell, Sgt Anna Irwin, Flt Lt Charlie Brown, Flt Lt Matt Butwell.

The team have overcome many setbacks – time constraints and aircraft serviceability have made things tough but that’s always a risk when you’re such a heavily used frontline unit. Nevertheless, PDA was finally achieved on Friday 20th June and the team performed their first public display the following day. It was always going to be tight but the team put all their troubles behind them and displayed to a packed out home crowd at the RAF Odiham Families Day on Saturday 21st June. Flt Lt Charlie Brown was accompanied on his first outing by Flt Lt Andy Waldron and Sgt Anna Irwin.

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The 2014 display is almost an entirely new sequence – several elements from the past two years remain but Charlie has tried to add a lot more noise to the display and true to form, you’ll all be getting used to the ‘blade slap’ this Summer!

To find out more about the team, head over to http://www.raf.mod.uk/chinookdisplayteam/ and follow the team on Twitter – @ChinookDisplay@MrCharlie_B@Chrisdgordon@Calders86 and @acwalnut.

Throughout the Summer I aim to give you an insight into the workings of the Chinook Display Team so make sure you check back here soon and follow me on Twitter for all the latest – @thetommercer.

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