The Royal Navy helicopter display team, the Black Cats, have announced their 2011 season. Following on from a very successful 2010 season, the 2011 programme for RNAS Yeovilton-based team, is shaping up to be just as exciting. Lt Chris Chambers, last year’s No 2 Black Cat Pilot, has assumed the role as the Lead Pilot for 2011 and he will be joined by Lt Dave Fleming in the No 2 Pilot role and Lt Mike Curd as the Team Manager.
On assuming the lead role Lt Chambers said: “After such a tremendous year for the display team in 2010 we are all really looking forward to the coming season and meeting all our fans and spectators at the air shows. We have a lot of work to do between now and our first display at Duxford in May but we’ll be working hard to put on another dynamic performance.”
After considering all the generous invitations to 2011 events across the UK, the team have now finalised their season and will start working-up their display for a validation in May. The 2011 Display will closely resemble the previous year’s routine with a couple of minor modifications for a more crowd-pleasing show.
The Black Cats will be flying a pair of Westland Lynx HMA8 helicopters from 702 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset. The Squadron Crest depicts a golden Lynx cat with its claws in the air, and the motto “Beware the Claws of the Cat!” proudly stated beneath. The name “Black Cats” is a combination of the crest and the naval-slang “black-catting” which is used as a form of friendly one-upmanship between sailors.
In 2011 it will be 40 years since the first flight of the Lynx helicopter and it still holds the official Helicopter Speed Record which it set in 1986 at a speed of 216 knots (249 mph). The Lynx helicopter is unique in its design, particularly agile and ideally suited to display manoeuvring.
The aircrew are full-time instructors on 702 NAS and dedicate their spare time to flying the Black Cats displays at air shows. You will be able to meet the Black Cats team and visit the merchandise trailer at the air shows and as always the team are keen to talk to the public about life in the Royal Navy and flying for the Fleet Air Arm.
In 2011 the team will be raising money for The Royal Navy Benevolent Trust supporting military families and the Royal Navy Historic Flight who continue to celebrate the heritage of the Fleet Air Arm.
The Black Cats will be displaying at a range of events throughout the 2011 season to an estimated 4 million people, list as follows
|22 May||Duxford Spring Air Show|
|12 June||RAF Cosford Air Show|
|18 - 19 June||Cotswold Air Show|
|2 -3 July||Waddington International Air Show|
|9 July||RNAS Yeovilton Air Day|
|9 - 10 July||The Wales National Air Show|
|20 July||RNAS Culdrose Air Day|
|23 - 31 July||Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week|
|23 - 24 July||Southport Air Show|
|30 - 31 July||Sunderland International Air Show|
|11 - 14 August||Eastbourne International Air Show|
|8 September||Guernsey Battle of Britain|
|16 - 17 September||Luchtmachtdagen 2011, Leeuwarden, Netherlands|
|18 September||Sanicole International Air Show, Belgium|
|16 October||Duxford Autumn Air Show|
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