Wokka Formation:  The RAF’s Centenary Chinooks

Wokka Formation: The RAF’s Centenary Chinooks

The Royal Air Force Chinook Force yesterday came together at RAF Odiham to launch a unique formation photo-sortie featuring all three of the superb specially-painted centenary-schemed aircraft.  As part of a wider tour, Wokka Formation also put in an appearance on the Salisbury Plain Training Area, and I was fortunate enough to be present when they did so.

Arriving from the Middle Wallop overhead, the three helicopters, ZA683 (27 Squadron’s machine, known affectionately as “Nellie”, for obvious reasons), ZA712 (18(B) Squadron’s aircraft, known as “Poppy”), and ZH777 (the 28 Squadron OCU cab, dubbed “Peggy”, as in Pegasus) flew a top side pass before assembling for a series of pre-briefed poses with an RAF Odiham station photographer who was present on the ground.

As those who witnessed it will attest, it was one of the slickest and most impressive sights that has ever been seen on the SPTA.  It was very evident just how much work and planning had gone into ensuring the whole thing ran on rails and it was a real privilege to have been one of those lucky enough to see and capture it.

The unofficial line is that Nellie will go to Fleetlands for deep servicing at some point next month, during which she will lose her special scheme, hence the urgency for this shoot to take place.

All told, this was the culmination of a superb team effort by everyone on the Chinook Force from the engineers through to the pilots, and one in particular who had been responsible for designing all three schemes.

One can only imagine how he must have felt on the day! 

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