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What time is the coronation flypast? Route map, when the flyover starts and why it could be cancelled

King Charles III’s coronation takes place on Saturday, with thousands of people flocking to London to watch the procession, while millions more will tune in to watch at home on television.

The official coronation ceremony will see the King and Queen Camilla parade through the heart of the capital, before the official crowning at Westminster Abbey.

Buckingham Palace has revealed the full schedule of events, that will include a flypast over central London.

The flypast will see squadrons from the Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy soar over the Palace as King Charles, Queen Camilla and other members of the Royal Family greet members of the public from the balcony.

“The full flypast will see over 60 aircraft, including the iconic Red Arrows and historic Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, put on a spectacular show over London,” the RAF said.

Here’s everything you need to know about it, from when it is taking place to the route the aircraft will take.

What time is the coronation flypast?

The coronation flypast will take place over the Mall and Buckingham Palace at 2.30pm BST on Saturday 6 May.

It will follow the King and Queen Consort’s procession through London and the crowning ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The flypast is weather-dependent, meaning it could be cancelled if there is heavy rain, strong winds or thunderstorms. The Met Office is predicting possible showers, but there is currently no indication the flypast will be called off.

Met Office deputy chief forecaster, Steven Keates, said: “On Saturday we will see showers developing from late morning in some central, eastern and northern areas, but also with some sunny spells through the day. At this stage it looks like London could avoid the showers in the morning before some develop through the afternoon.

“Heavier rain is expected to move into the south-west of the UK and heavy showers are likely for parts of Northern Ireland. Winds will remain light away from the far north where gusty winds will begin to ease. Highs of 20°C are possible in London in any sunshine, with mid to high teens possible elsewhere.”

What is the flypast route?

An exact route for the flypast has not been revealed, but airspace restrictions have been confirmed, giving an idea of the planes’ path.

Restricted airspace for coronation flypast
Restricted airspace for coronation flypast (Map: Military Airshows)

The flypast will impose restrictions in airspace in the vicinity of the North Sea, East Anglia, Essex and London. The dispersal will then occur to the south and west, over Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The following airspace restrictions have been confirmed:

  • Area A – between 1.15 and 3pm BST, not below 17,500ft
  • Area B – between 1.45 and 3pm BST, not below 5,500ft
  • Area C – between 2 and 3pm BST, not below 7,000ft
  • Area D – between 2 and 2.45pm BST
  • Area E – between 2.10 and 2.45pm BST, not below 2,500ft
  • Area F – between 2.20 and 3pm BST, not below 2,500ft
  • Area G – between 2.20 and 3pm BST
  • Area H – between 2.20 and 3pm BST, not below 10,500ft
  • Area I – between 2.20 and 3pm BST, not below 10,500ft

The Red Arrows’ flight path and times have also been released:

  • 531005N 0003110W RAF WADDINGTON – 1.50pm
  • 530733N 0002024W SE OF METHRINGHAM – 1.53pm
  • 531038N 0002815E E OF SKEGNESS – 1.58pm
  • 525400N 0014000E OVERSEA – 2.05pm
  • 524000N 0014600E E OF CAISTER ON SEA – 2.13pm
  • 521330N 0015312E OVERSEA – 2.18pm
  • 520512N 0012312E WOODBRIDGE AIRFIELD – 2.23pm
  • 515524N 0005336E VCY OF COLCHESTER – 2.27pm
  • 513558N 0000555E FAIRLOP – 2.34pm
  • 513307N 0000058W LEYTON – 2.35pm
  • 513005N 0000830W BUCKINGHAM PALACE – 2.36pm
  • 512839N 0002751W HEATHROW – 2.38pm
  • 512900N 0003611W VCY OF WINDSOR – 2.40pm
  • 512530N 0005900W VCY OF READING – 2.42pm
  • 511700N 0005800W HOOK – 2.44pm
  • 510654N 0011904W N OF WINCHESTER – 2.47pm
  • 504702N 0015023W BOURNEMOUTH – 4.53am

Which planes will be involved?

The six-minute flypast will include the Red Arrows, 16 helicopters, the Spitfires of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the RAF’s brand-new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, joint RAF and Navy crewed state-of-the art F-35B Lightning II jets, and transport aircraft from the RAF’s Air Mobility Force.

It will also feature the first flypast involvement of the RAF’s new Envoy IV CC1 aircraft.

The exact list of planes has not been fully revealed.

The following aircraft took part in a rehearsal in April, which flew over RAF Cranwell’s College Hall:

  •  Juno HT1 helicopters (Spectre) – ZM504, ZM512, ZM532
  •  Wildcat HMA2 helicopter (Seacat) – ZZ517
  •  Wildcat AH1 helicopter (Nighthawk) – ZZ520
  •  Apache helicopters (Nighthawk) – ZM717, ZM723
  •  Wildcat AH1 helicopter (Commando) – ZZ524
  •  Merlin helicopter (Commando)- ZJ122
  •  Chinook helicopter (Lifter) – ZH897
  •  Puma helicopter (Lifter) – XW235
  •  BBMF Lancaster – PA474
  •  Phenom T1 (Camel) – ZM334
  •  Texan T1 (Camel) – ZM343, ZM324
  •  C-130 Hercules (Griffin) – ZH867, ZH870
  •  A400M Atlas (Griffin) – ZM409
  •  C-17 Globemaster III (Blackcat) – ZZ173
  •  Voyager (Tartan) – ZZ343
  •  A400 Atlas (Blenheim?) – ZM407
  •  Poseidon MRA1 (Guernsey) – ZP806
  •  RC-135 Rivet Joint (Guernsey) – ZZ664
  •  6x F-35B Lightnings (Doom) – ZM143, ZM144, ZM146, ZM156, ZM161, ZM164
  •  3x Typhoons (Cobra) – ZK376, ZJ947, ZK439
  •  3x Typhoons (Warlord) – ZK437, ZK381, ZK309
  •  Envoy IV (Falcon 900) (Royal) – G-ZABH

The first aircraft to fly over Buckingham Palace, a Juno HT1 from RAF Shawbury, will be piloted by RAF flight lieutenant Tom Knapp.

He said of the rehearsal: “The flypast rehearsal went really well. We made our time on target over the top of College Hall which was standing in as Buckingham Palace.

“It’s great to see months of planning and detailed coordination between all the different aircraft which fly at different speeds starting to come together. I feel hugely privileged and excited to get to fly over the Palace for the King on this momentous occasion.”

The coronation of King Charles III

Here’s a full timetable of the coronation, including when Charles will actually be crowned, and details of the concert.

The ceremony has taken an astonishing amount of preparation, with Operation Golden Orb – decades in the planning – bringing in snipers and police officers from across the country to aid security. The coronation will also feature the biggest military procession in 70 years, no small feat of logistics, but still intends to be the most sustainable ever.

But the event has not been without controversy. The option for the public to pledge allegiance to the new monarch sparked resistance, including from i‘s own Stefano Hatfield, and the new King’s relationship with his second son will be under fierce scrutiny, with Jennie Bond blaming his emotional illiteracy for the breakdown of their relationship.

This week, The i Podcast looks at whether King Charles III could be the last monarch of a Commonwealth realm which was born from the British Empire and funded by the proceeds of slavery. Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Acast | Wherever you listen

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