Display work up

The Typhoon Display Team work-up begins with the selection of the Display Pilot, usually in Oct/Nov of the preceding season. The selection is conducted by the Officer Commanding (OC) 29 Squadron, Station Commander (Stn Cdr) RAF Coningsby and the Combat Air Force Commander (CA FC) with the final decision being made by Air Officer Commanding (AOC) No 1 Group (1 Gp). The selection is based on previous experience and ability as a Typhoon Pilot. Currently the Display Pilot is selected from the Qualified Pilot Instructors serving on 29 Squadron, the Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit (OCU).

Once selected the new Display Pilot shadows his predecessor for the end of the season and has the opportunity to fly in display practices flown at RAF Coningsby for currency. During this time the Display Pilot is tasked with designing his display sequence. The sequence is usually made up of previously approved aerobatic manoeuvres that can be flown in Typhoon. New manoeuvres require AOC 1 Gp to approve them. The Display Pilot must design not only a Full Display but also a Limited and Flat sequence used in the event of poorer weather.

During sequence development the Typhoon simulators are used to check the sequence before the airborne work-up is started. The simulator is also used throughout the work-up to prepare the Display Pilot for bad weather (including strong winds) and to practice aircraft handling in the unlikely event of an emergency during a display to ensure complete safety for the crowd.

The airborne part of the work-up starts with practices of the sequence at a base height of 5000ft, which is the normal minimum height that all Typhoon pilots can perform aerobatics. These flights are usually flown using straight line features such as coastlines, roads or runways in the local area surrounding RAF Coningsby. The full sequence must be flown at least 6 times before the work-up (or down in effect) continues. Following successful completion of the 5000ft display practices the sequence is approved by TFC and the Display Pilot conducts a check flight with his Supervisor. He is subsequently cleared to practice below 5000ft and moves his work-up to overhead RAF Coningsby.

The work-up continues progressively stepping down base heights from 1500ft to 1000ft. Around 2 to 3 weeks is spent at each height but it is very weather dependant. At this height level turns and flypasts can also be conducted at 300ft and 100ft respectively.

The end of the work-up is the awarding of the Public Display Authority (PDA). AOC 1 Gp personally visits RAF Coningsby watches the display, reviews the work-up and if content grants the Display Pilot PDA, meaning he can then demonstrate the outstanding performance of Typhoon in front of crowds of hundreds of thousands of people during the summer display season.

Request a Display 2023

If you have an event and wish to be considered for a display or flypast of any RAF asset then please complete the appropriate application form below.

Flypast Application Form 2023

Applications for flypasts in 2023 should be received by 30 November 22.  RAF will not routinely conduct flypasts at corporate events or at private events such as Weddings, Birthdays or Funerals etc.

Display Application Form 2023

Applications for displays in 2023 should be received by 31 September 22.  Aerobatic Displays can only be conducted at recognised display venues under the supervision of a CAA accredited Flying Display Director. 

Completed application forms should be sent electronically to the RAF Air Events Team at:

[email protected]

The AET can be contacted on the email above or on 020 8833 8063 or 020 8833 8769

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