Black Cats display team given green light for 2011 airshows

Black Cats display team given green light for 2011 airshows 30 May, 11, Source: Royal Navy

The award-winning Black Cats – the Royal Navy’s official helicopter display team – have been given the go-ahead for the 2011 air show season.

The display contains two helicopters flying close, fast passes, dramatic synchronised manoeuvres and close-formation in rearwards flight.

Since announcing the 2011 display programme in March, the Black Cats have been busy in their cockpits in the sky above the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset preparing and practising the Pairs and Solo display routines for the upcoming display season.

As the head of flying in the Royal Navy it falls to the Chief of Staff (Aviation and Carriers), Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham, to witness the display and give his approval for the Black Cats the go-ahead perform their displays in front of the public.

The Black Cats performed in front of Rear Admiral Cunningham on Thursday 12th May at RNAS Yeovilton with Lt Chris Chambers, 36, flying the Lead Lynx Mk 8 aircraft with Lt Dave Fleming, 31, piloting the second Lynx.

Rear Admiral Cunningham stated after signing-off the display approval:

“I am delighted to give my approval for the Black Cats to perform for the public during 2011. Their display is a fine demonstration of the enduring professionalism and commitment shown by the Fleet Air Arm for over a hundred years.”

“Again the team have put together an exciting aerial display that I hope will be seen and enjoyed by thousands of people over the coming months.”

Lieutenant Chambers followed by saying:

“The training has been really challenging, but the Black Cats are really pleased to have the go-ahead to fly for the public. Our first show will be at Duxford on the 22nd of May, and we‘re so looking forward to starting the display season.”

“Flying these helicopters in the display is awesome experience, I hope that it looks as good from the ground, but that will be for the crowd to decide!”

Lt Fleming added:

“As the new pilot on the team I have been training with some really talented Black Cats pilots from previous years, and they have been fantastic. A lot of background work goes into getting the team up to this standard and 702 Squadron have been enormously supportive.”

“Now we have the whole season to look forward to.”

The 2011 Black Cats helicopter pair flying display includes close and fast passes, synchronised nose-overs where both aircraft bow vertically down to the ground, the impressive “Swingboat” involving rearwards close-formation flying and the “Carousel” where both aircraft fly around each other nose-to-nose .

The team operates the standard front line Lynx Mk 8 helicopter used throughout the Royal Navy fleet as an anti-surface and anti-submarine attack helicopter.

Two of the helicopters have been painted in the Black Cats “growling cat” colour scheme and can be seen at some of this season’s airshows.

The Black Cats will be attending the following air shows and events where visitors will be able to watch the display, meet the team and visit the merchandise trailer.

The Black Cats will be supporting the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust and the Fly Navy Heritage Trust during the 2011 season.

22 May      Duxford Spring Air Show
12 Jun       RAF Cosford Air Show
18-19 Jun   Cotswold Air Show
2-3 Jul        Waddington International Air Show
09 Jul         RNAS Yeovilton Air Day
9-10 Jul      The Wales National Air Show
20 Jul         RNAS Culdrose Air Day
27 Jul         Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week
23-24 Jul    Southport Air Show
30-31 Jul    Sunderland International Air Show
11-14 Aug  Eastbourne International Air Show
08 Sep       Guernsey Battle of Britain
16-17 Sep   Luchtmachtdagen 2011, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
18 Sep       Sanicole International Air Show, Belgium
16 Oct       Duxford Autumn Air Show

Black Cats caps and T-shirts are available to buy through the Fleet Air Arm Museum website (www.fleetairarm.com), and further information on the Black Cats team can be access through the Royal Navy website (www.royalnavy.mod.uk).

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