This year will see 45(R) Squadron on Display duty with their Beech King Air B200’s after a three year break. The Squadron are part of Number 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell. The King Air B200 is a twin-engine turboprop which entered RAF service in 2004 and is used as an advanced, multi-engine pilot trainer. Their Two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42 Turboprops outputting 850hp each will be powering them through their displays over the Summer.
They started by designing their display sequence and flying it in a simulator where they can check that their sequence on paper works in practice and most importantly, is safe to fly. They then moved to practicing at altitude away from populated areas to give the largest safety margin possible as they fly parts of the display in the Aircraft for the first time. I believe they are now at the stage where they will soon be practicing over the Airfield, if they haven’t already so keep an eye on social media for confirmation.
The best way to keep up to date with the King Air Display Team is on social media, they are very responsive and seem to be keeping us all up to date though their accounts. So here are the links for Facebook & Twitter. 45Sqn also have their own Twitter account which is worth a follow too as it so happens the return of the King Air Display is also timed with the Squadrons Centinery year, having been formed on 1st March 1916.
45Sqn regularly use RAF Scampton for approaches, especially as RAF Cranwell have some extra residents due to the runway works at RAF Waddington as well as the King Air’s and Tutors who call RAF Cranwell home. This gives some of us the opportunity to snap a few Pictures of the Kng Air’s between Red Arrows Practice Sorties. I had a little play with shutter speed today to see if I could get some “prop blur” while keeping the airframe sharp. The following picture was taken at 160th/sec, which is a shutter speed that I would normally keep well away from while using a 100-400mm lens at the end of its range. Although it is a small resolution and unedited jpeg it will do for demonstration purposes.
The King Air Display Team were also one of the first to release their display schedule for the 2016 season on social media. The following is a picture of their schedule that was posted by them, however you can also find all those dates on our Diary alongside UK Airshows and the Display schedules of Lincolnshire based Display Teams that have so far been released.
During the Display Season we will be doing our best to track all these aircraft, keeping you up to date with their display times and their progress flying across the country just as we did last year. However being Mode-S equipped you can also use some of the Tracking Websites listed in our Live Aircraft Tracking section under the Links Menu. Just remember Mode-S transponders do not transmit their location like the Airliners do with their ADSB Transponders, so it has to be worked out by MLAT which requires data from multiple ground stations rather than just one, so they may just disappear at lower altitudes.
Hopefully we will soon be able to bring a little update to this article with some news about display practices if the Team decide to release information about them on social media. As for our Live information on Twitter we will be using the @EGYDinfo account for information about the King Air Display Team due to them being based at RAF Cranwell.