During the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force were supported by pilots from the Czech Air Force. This year to help celebrate London Biggin Hill Airport’s centenary, the Festival of Flight will be the only air show in the UK to feature the top three displays from the Czech Air Force.
The Czech Air Force display will showcase:
- Mi-171 “HIP” transport helicopter
- Mi-35 “Hind” attack helicopter
- Saab Gripen fast jet
In addition, the Casa-C295, a twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft, will be on view in the static area for spectators of the air show to see close up.
Last year General Emil Bocek, 93, one of the last surviving Czech airmen to serve in the RAF during World War Two, visited London Biggin Hill Airport where he was invited to take the controls of a Spitfire for one last time.
Out of nearly 3,000 men on the official Battle of Britain roll, 574 were non-British, with 88 coming from Czechoslovakia. These 88 men mainly served with No. 310 and No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadrons, RAF, formed in the summer of 1940 and operational during the battle. In fact, one of the top ten RAF aces of the Battle of Britain fighter pilots who claimed the most kills was Sgt Josef Frantisek, a Czech who scored 17 victories.
Colin Hitchins, Community Engagement Manager at the airport and organiser of this year’s air show, said: The Czech Air Force played a part in our military history and we are honoured to have them join our centenary celebrations at the Festival of Flight.
We look forward to welcoming the Czech Air Force to Biggin Hill for what promises to be a spectacular display. This is a rare opportunity to see this aircraft collection take to the skies and spectators of this year’s event are in for a real treat.