Presidents Update – June 2022.

Dear Association colleagues,

I thought it timely to provide a brief update to you now that we seem, finally, to be emerging from pandemic and lockdown-related constraints; thank you for your patience over the past couple of years which, I know, has had a profound effect on many families and lives.  During that hiatus, as your committee, we have nevertheless been meeting, albeit virtually, on a regular basis such that we could be ready to restore some normality into Association activity at the earliest opportunity.

OC RAFAT, as our Chairman, had hoped to provide his periodic ‘Chairman’s Chat’ piece for the website during the Team’s annual Ex SPRINGHAWK, which has just completed in Tanagra, Greece, but events over the last few weeks have conspired against him during what has been an incredibly challenging period for the RAFAT.  As many of you will have seen in media reporting, at very short notice and at a critical juncture in the RAFAT winter training programme, the display for 2022 has had to be adapted from the iconic Reds 9-ship formation to 7 aircraft (whilst significant flypasts will still be conducted as a ‘9’).  I can only imagine that the display re-design, re-planning, training and logistics’ rescheduling work required, with the start of the 2022 display season looming, will have been immense with many extended days necessary and midnight oil having been burnt by all Team members, operators, maintainers, support and admin staff alike.  It is therefore to the huge credit to all on the Team that Public Display Authority was achieved on 25 May 22 and many, many congratulations are due to and deserved by all Team personnel. This year, of course, will be characterised by Platinum Jubilee celebration events at which the RAFAT will play a central role and will be witnessed by enormous national and global audiences.  OC RAFAT remains keen to provide a personal update to the Association once the intensity of the coming few weeks and the start of the summer display season allows.

As far as Association activities go, again, I’m sure you will all be aware of the early ‘heads-up’ previously posted by our Secretary, Ian Blake, for 5 September 2022, which is earmarked for a RAF Scampton closure event to which the RAA will be invited. Whilst we are at this moment in time unaware of the exact details and planning for the day, as your committee, we will make you aware of timings/ guest opportunities and so on, without delay, as soon as we have that information.  We will aim to hold our AGM at the same time so please mark your diaries.  

Looking further ahead, and beyond September, the committee is now considering what the Association might achieve around Q4 of this year and during the early part of next year; we will post details as soon as we have a some proposals. In the meantime, I very much look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible at Scampton on 5 September.

Mark Northover

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