Stn Families Day

The biennial RAF Coningsby Families Day is one of our ways of sincerely thanking the Whole Force working at RA F Coningsby for their relentless hard work.

Equally, and if not more so, it is our way of thanking our families for all their unwavering and dedicated support, without which we could never achieve all that we do.

After the 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time, the committee was determined to make the 2021 event even better and set to work to plan and deliver a safe and fun-filled day for the whole family to enjoy.

The 23rd of February 1941 saw the Handley Page Hampden bombers of 106 Squadron arrive from RAF Finningley, marking the start of RAF Coningsby’s rich operational history. Since those dark days of 1941, RAF Coningsby has been at the vanguard of UK combat air power and therefore this year we celebrate with distinct pride 80 years of continuous operational activity. To mark this momentous milestone, this year’s Families Day theme appropriately reflected 80 incredible years and looked forward to the next 80.

On the 23rd of July 2021, over 7,500 Whole Force personnel and their families descended on the gates of RAF Coningsby to enjoy what proved to be a truly magnificent event.

As one of the first large scale air shows since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the lineup was highly anticipated. It’s safe to say it didn’t disappoint! Showcasing the historical pedigree of the RAF, the Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota from RAF Coningsby’s very own Battle of Britain Memorial Flight took to the sky, the spine-tingling sound of those Rolls Royce Merlin engines resonating across the airfield.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a flypast from the F-35B Lighting, the RAF’s fifth generation combat aircraft, showcased the pinnacle of design and innovation (as well as breaking the PA system and setting off most of the car alarms!). We were also lucky enough to secure a full-size replica static display of the Tempest, the next generation combat aircraft coming into service from 2035. The wacky flying of Rich Goodwin in the Pitts Special wowed the crowds, whilst the Strikemaster pair provided a jaw-dropping display of elegance and manoeuvrability. The flying display wouldn’t be complete without the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows and, of course, ANARCHY 1, the Typhoon display to close the event in style.

The event was supported by well over 80 local businesses providing a valuable engagement opportunity following what must have been a truly difficult year. A huge fun-fair, several classic car clubs and a host of interesting exhibits rounded off an absolutely packed programme. There truly was something for the whole family.

The committee worked extremely hard to ensure that Families Day 21 was a success; at times, we weren’t even sure it was going to go ahead! The event would not have been possible without the hugely generous support of all the event sponsors and event chaperones 2430 (Holbeach) Squadron RAF Air Cadets; for this the committee pass on their gratitude.

From the entire committee, we hope that you enjoyed the event, and look forward to seeing you again in 2023!

Flt Lt Gareth Gill

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