Chinook and Puma military helicopters carry out a flypast in Portsmouth this week to mark 90 combined years of service

A FORMATION of military helicopters carried out a stunning flypast of Portsmouth to mark 90 years of combined service.

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 2:27 pm

A Puma helicopter joined a Chinook in the spectacle on Thursday, witnessed by residents across the city.

The occasion saw the aircraft make a commemorative flight over a number of locations in the south of England displaying their bespoke anniversary tail art.

The two uniquely painted airframes celebrated their individual anniversaries earlier this year, but this is their first formation flight as a pair.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A formation flight of specially painted Chinook and Puma helicopter flying over Portsmouth to mark 90 years of combined service in the RAF. Image by Cpl Tim Laurence RAF.

The Puma, from RAF Benson, has completed 50 years of service; while the Chinook, from RAF Odiham, has completed 40 years of service.

A third aircraft accompanied the duo to capture the moment from the sky.

Mark Chapman was enjoying a spot of lunch at the Coffee Cup in Eastney as the formation of helicopters flew over the beach.

Read More

Read More
Portsmouth's new clean air zone 'may only last a year' says city council's leade...
A formation flight of specially painted Chinook and Puma helicopter flew across the south east, visiting landmarks in Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Dover and London. Image by Cpl Tim Laurence RAF.

He said: ‘It was real surprise. They were very close to the ground. It was very dramatic. Everyone stopped and was looking at what was going on. They were very surprised to see it.’

Each aircraft’s tail art was especially commissioned to commemorate the significant anniversaries of their entry into service with the RAF.

The flightpath included several landmark sites, stretching from the Isle of Wight to central London; with each location offering unique joint training opportunities for the crews who will often work together on operations.

Both the Pumas and Chinooks have operated as part of the Joint Helicopter Command for more than 20 years. The longest serving of the two aircraft, the Puma is a medium-lift support helicopter which entered service on January 29, 1971.

A formation flight of specially painted Chinook and Puma helicopter flew across the south east, visiting landmarks in Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Dover and London. Image by Cpl Tim Laurence RAF.

Over the last five decades, it has supported combat and humanitarian operations around the world, including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Mozambique

Meanwhile, the heavy-lift Chinook arrived into RAF service on November 22, 1980. Throughout its 40 years of service, the Chinook has operated in every major conflict since the Falklands War in 1982 including life-saving medical evacuations.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.