Mesmerizing footage from the cockpit showed the Red Arrows in all their glory as they soared above Buckingham Palace to mark King Charles’ official birthday.
Photographers captured a birds-eye view from above this afternoon as 70 planes took to the skies amid the royal Trooping the Color event.
Today also marked the final ceremonial flight of the C0120J Hercules which will soon be replaced by newer models after 56 years of service with the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Hercules was among many other planes that flew from 15 different locations in the UK before uniting in south-east England to fly over the capital during celebrations on Saturday.
Footage taken from inside the cockpit shows the pilot completely focused on the path ahead, hovering over a large expanse of fields and vegetation.
Photographers took a bird’s eye view from the cockpit today amid the Trooping the Color event
Colorful smoke billowed from the Red Spiers above the packed Mall and Buckingham Palace during celebrations today
While a similar flyby was planned for the king’s coronation last month, it was curtailed due to poor weather conditions.
That’s why the RAF has taken it up a notch for the Trooping the Color event to pay a huge tribute to King Charles.
Air Vice Marshal Mark Flewin said: ‘The flypast consisted of rotating assets from all three services, training aircraft from No. 22 Group, in addition to aircraft from No. 1 Group from air mobility, ISTAR and combat air forces.
“The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight reflected our proud heritage, and there was also a special ‘signature formation’ to honor His Majesty the King, just before the iconic Red Arrows.”
As part of the show, 18 Typhoon fighter jets drew “CR” for Charles Rex in the sky, “Rex” referring to King in Latin.
Second World War Hurricanes and Spitfires were also part of the six-minute flypast, with crowds watching in awe as they approach London.
A squadron of Red Arrows then closed the event by sending the very British colors of red, white and blue smoke into the sky.
The special moment was also captured from the cockpit, with vibrant smoke trails displayed above the packed shopping center and Buckingham Palace where the Royal Family watched.
Midway through the show, RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Rich Knighton said: “We are very proud to be able to showcase our capabilities to our Commander-in-Chief, on this historic occasion for His Majesty the King.
“We paid a proper and proper tribute to our monarch, it was a real spectacle for the UK and the Commonwealth.”
RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Rich Knighton said: ‘We paid a fitting and proper tribute to our monarch, it was a real spectacle for the UK and the Commonwealth’
Footage taken from inside the cockpit shows the pilot completely focused on the path ahead
Second World War Hurricanes and Spitfires were also part of the six-minute flypast, with crowds watching in awe below
Midway through the show, RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Rich Knighton said: ‘We are very proud to be able to showcase our capabilities to our Commander-in-Chief, on this historic occasion for His Majesty the King’
Their Majesties the King and Queen, alongside other members of the Royal Family, watched from Buckingham Palace
A squadron of Red Arrows then closed the event by ejecting the very British colors of red, white and blue smoke.
READ MORE: RAF transport giant pulls out after spectacular flight over UK as critics say decision to drop much-loved workhorse leaves SAS ‘exposed’
The Hercules aircraft made a spectacular flight over Britain to commemorate their service
While the mighty RAF Hercules have been major carriers for decades, they will be decommissioned on June 30.
Critics have criticized the “extraordinary” decision to retire the much-loved work planes which have been in use by the RAF since 1966.
In a letter to The Times, Britain’s defense chiefs called the decision to cut off the huge planes “perverse” at a time of “great international tension”.
Defense sources speaking to Sky News also criticized the drive to decommission the planes, saying the move would leave Britain “dangerously exposed”.
The criticism followed an admission by the RAF that the decision to withdraw Hercules aircraft would leave a “vacuum” in the capabilities of British special forces.
In their letter to The Times, RAF chiefs said: “Among the many reductions in our armed forces in recent years, one of the most perverse has been the disposal of the RAF’s 14 remaining C130 transport aircraft.”
“At a time of great international tension, the decision to remove a proven and effective workaholic is extraordinary,” the letter reads.
The decision to retire the Hercules planes will see the carriers replaced with newer Airbus A400M Atlas planes.
Air Marshal Sir Richard Knighton warned in March that there will be a “gap between when the Hercules is taken out of service and when the A400M takes over all those capabilities”.
“The niche issues where the gap lies are with airdropping and the kinds of things we can drop from the plane.”