Flight Lieutenant Jon Bond, 27, made the 50 minute flight from RAF Linton-on-Ouse to launch the Folkestone Jubilee Airshow which takes place in June.
He said: “Since this is such a great year for Britain with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics we wanted to mark it in a memorable way, which is why we came up with this colour scheme. With red, blue and white stripes along the side, EIIR on the bottom and a shape resembling the RAF roundel on the top, it means the aircraft will be attractive for spectators when displaying on all three axes.”
Bondy, as he is known, will be taking part in 67 air shows – including Folkestone – between May and October this year, and says it is “brilliant fun” to fly the Tucano. With a top speed of around 350mph, it is used as a stepping stone before pilots progress to the Hawk.
“We start practising at around 4,000ft and gradually work down to a base height of 500ft. Training starts some six months before the show so what you see on the day has been performed many times both at home base and at various sites around the country.
“There is a very rigorous selection process for the team; display flying is completely different to anything I’ve done before and there is a huge amount ofself-discipline and concentration involved.
“At the Folkestone Jubilee Airshow I’ll be performing above the sea but there are plenty of good features to anchor myself on. We have to look out for ships with large masts but I think the main thing to avoid will be seagulls.”
Bondy joined the RAF in 2005 and following Initial Officer Training in 2007 he was posted to RAF Linton-on-Ouse to undertake Basic Fast Jet Training on the Tucano. He then completed Advanced Flying Training on the Hawk before graduating as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Tucano in May 2009. He was selected to be the Tucano Display Pilot for 2012 just before Christmas.
The Folkestone Jubilee Airshow, organised by Heritage Special Events, will takeplace on Saturday 2 June.
Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, commented: “Many of the aircraft taking part in the Folkestone Jubilee Airshow, including the Red Arrows, will be based at Manston for the show. We are very much looking forward to hosting them and playing our part in what I am sure will be a great event for Kent.”
Picture caption: Flight Lieutenant Jon Bond with the RAF Jubilee Tucano display aircraft at ManstonAirport.