The Largest Formation Of World War One Aircraft Since The 1920s

A Tribute To the RFC/RAF by The Vintage Aviator

The Vintage Aviator Limited (TAVL) is a constructor of original World War One aircraft, and the company owns and operates the largest collection of original and reproduction First World War aircraft in the world. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, the company's stated aim is " build World War One aircraft, engines and propellers to the same exacting standards they were originally made over 100 years ago."

Eighteen Wings! The formation of nine WW1 aircraft passes overhead and heads eastward (into the sun), simulating an early raid over the front lines during The Great War.   Photo: © Historical Aviation Film Unit


Original Air War Sounds

During a recent pilot training and currency flying weekend, TVAL flew a sortie featuring nine British aircraft from the First World War, as a tribute to the servicemen of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force (which came into being on the 1st April 1918). All nine aircraft are incredibly accurate reproductions, and all of them are operated with original WW1-era engines, meaning the audio you'll hear in this video below is the actual sound of the First World War in the air. The formation included the following aircraft and engines:

* Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b with 160hp 6-cylinder Beardmore inline engine

* Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 with 150 hp R.A.F. 4a V-12 inline engine

* Sopwith Pups (x 2) with 80hp Le Rhone rotary engines

* Airco DH.4 with 400hp Liberty V-12 inline engine

* Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a's (x 3) with 180hp Hispano-Suiza V-8 inline engines

* Sopwith Snipe with 230hp Bentley BR.2 rotary engine

The Aircraft Photo: © Historical Aviation Film Unit

It is unlikely that there has been a formation of British WW1 aircraft of this size, using original engines, since the early 1920's, making this tribute flypast by TVAL during the RAF's 100th Anniversary year a unique event in the past 90 years or so. As the collection and the number of qualified pilots grows, we expect that the tribute formations will only grow in size as well. Watch this space!

As the nine aircraft pass overhead in this video, you'll hear the authentic sounds of nine WW1-era aircraft engines -- this is just what these aircraft would have sounded like in 1918.

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To find out more about the aircraft built and operated by The Vintage Aviator Limited, check out their web site at the following address :


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