FLYING HIGH WITH THE GREAT WAR DISPLAY TEAM

Ian Stanley, Supply and Logistics Assistant at Gulf Aviation

For the last two years we’ve been proudly supporting The Bremont Great War Display Team and it seems fitting to look back on that partnership after we’ve marked one important milestone in the aviation calendar and rapidly approach another.

The first of those is the 100th anniversary of the RAF. Its centenary was celebrated in July with an eye-catching military display of 100 aircraft, including a Dakota, a Lancaster, three Spitfires and a Hurricane, watched on by the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and thousands of cheering supporters.

The second significant milestone is Armistice Day. This year is particularly poignant as it marks 100 years since the end of the First World War – a war where aviation undoubtedly played a pivotal role. It’s astonishing to think that the world’s first powered flight was only created a little over a decade before 1914, yet aircraft were a key part of the war effort on both sides.

These milestones lead me back nicely to The Great War Display team. Now, if you’re not already familiar with Gordon Brander and his fellow pilots, I urge you to head over to their website or Facebook page to take a closer look. For any true fans of aviation, it’s genuinely fascinating to see such a well-kept collection of iconic British and German fighter planes still in action today.

Team Leader, Gordon, and his team have been flying since 1988 and now have ten aircraft in total, which regularly fly together and wow crowds at airshows across the UK and overseas. The planes twist and turn mid-air just as they would have done above the Great War trenches 100 years ago, performing some breathtaking stunts including quickfire landings and flying within meters of each other.

Among the aircraft on show are Britain’s first ever military planes – a BE2c; three Fokker Triplanes; a pair of SE5as and the Avro 504 – all vintage aircraft that when flown together create an aerial spectacle unlike anything anywhere else in the world.

A partnership to be proud of 

Gulf Aviation has been providing the Great War Display Team with smoke oils and engine oils since 2016, helping to make sure people up and down the country can experience and appreciate these stunning aircraft in flight.

Just like these planes, the Gulf brand itself is steeped in history and recognisable to millions of people all over the world. That’s why this partnership made absolute sense to us. I’m immensely proud to think that each and every time the pilots’ aircraft takes to the sky, Gulf Aviation is right there alongside them.

I actually remember speaking to Gordon for the very first time during early 2016 about the team’s fuel needs and asking if there was anything we could do to help.

We’re a trusted fuel and lubricants partner to a growing number of commercial airlines, regional airports and general aviation operators across the UK. And we’ve built our network on great relationships, establishing long-term trust and always focusing on customer service and after care.

I wanted to see if we could do the same for the Great War Display team and I can honestly say the last two years working with them have been a pleasure and also a lot of fun. The pilots have years of military, civilian, test and aerobatic experience between them and as you can imagine, plenty of fascinating stories.

It’s also been one of their busiest years with a total of 43 events taking place all around the world, so it’s fair to say they’ve kept us on our toes this year!

Marking aviation milestones in 2018

With such a great collection of aircraft, comes great responsibility.

The Great War Display Team helped celebrated the RAF centenary this year after being involved in the BBC documentary, RAF: Into the Blue.

In it, Sophie Raworth follows the story of her grandfather, a pilot in the RAF’s predecessor, The Royal Flying Corps. She uses clues among his possessions to piece together his life, as well as the experiences of other young men who fought and died in the air above the battlefields of France and Belgium. There’s a clip of it from YouTube here:

This month, the team will be performing the last show of year to mark Armistice Day.

As part of Gloucestershire Remembers WWI – a community project exploring the heritage of the Great War – Gordon and the team will be at Cheltenham Racecourse for a commemorative event.

Before the racing begins that day, the aircraft will put on a special performance for the crowds, including the Princess Royal who will be watching from the stands.

It’s sure to be a wonderful event and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute as we reflect on 100 years since the end of the First World War.

As far as 2018 goes, it’s certainly been a busy year for the team, but it’s really helped to raise their profile and I know Gordon already has a few shows lined up for the 2019 season.

It’s genuinely been a privilege for me and everyone at Gulf Aviation to have been supporting the team on their journey. They’ve clearly got no intention of slowing down any time soon, and we’ve got every intention of keeping up with them next year too.