About the RNHF

The Royal Navy Historic Flight operates a flying collection of some of the rarest and most historically significant Royal Navy aircraft in the world. Based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset, the Flight was established in 1972 by the Royal Navy to preserve and promote the Royal Navy’s aviation heritage and to serve as a living memorial to the courage and sacrifice of all those who served in the Royal Naval Air Service and Fleet Air Arm and remains a Royal Navy Unit to this day.

The Flight’s iconic aircraft, Swordfish, Sea Fury and Sea Hawk, represent a period of phenomenal technological development and achievement in Fleet Air Arm operations from the 1930s to 1960. RNHF display at air shows and public events around the country, representing the Royal Navy by raising awareness of the history, innovation and achievements of Naval aviation. The critical roles played by the Royal Naval Air Service and the Fleet Air Arm in our nation’s history are not widely known, so in flying these historic aircraft today the Historic Flight is able to evoke the spirit of heroism and achievement of the daring Naval Aviation personnel and provide a powerful educational link between the Royal Navy’s historic past its role in World-wide operations today.

Also operated by the Royal Navy Historic Flight, a Sea Fury T20 (G-RNHF) is on loan from the Fly Navy Heritage Trust and operates under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Navy and the Charity. It provides an additional training and display aircraft, a function also served by the Historic Flight’s Chipmunk.

The Flight is a Royal Navy unit but is only partially funded by the Ministry of Defence. Considerable engineering and design support continues to be provided by the Royal Navy and by industry, principally BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce plc. The Flight is also directly supported by the Fly Navy Heritage Trust, the charity that sits behind Navy Wings, which aims to raise over £900,000 annually to supplement the operating and maintenance costs of keeping the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s and the Trust’s historic aircraft flying.

Aircraft of the Royal Navy Historic Flight

Chipmunk flying. Photography by Lee Howard

Chipmunk

The Chipmunk was built to succeed the Tiger Moth biplane trainer widely used in World War II and remained in service with the Royal Navy from 1965 to 1983

Sea Fury FB11. Photography by Lee Howard

Sea Fury FB.11

The Sea Fury was the Fleet Air Arm's last piston-engined fighter to serve in front-line Squadrons

Sea Hawk. Photography by Lee Howard

Sea Hawk

This aircraft took Naval aviation into the Jet Age and was the direct successor to the Sea Fury

Swordfish Mk II LS326 Photography by Lee Howard

Swordfish LS326

The Mk II Swordfish was fitted with metal underwings to enable it to carry wing-mounted rockets