Ready to display! The 2018 RAF Tutor display team are ready to thrill the crowds at air shows across the UK and Ireland this summer after passing their public display authorisation. Travelling to RAF Wittering near Peterborough Kurt Fairhurst and Paul Atkin caught up with the team to chat all things Tutor.

The Grob G115E or simply the tutor as it’s known in the Royal Air Force is a single engine prop trainer aircraft with a cruise speed of 143 mph and a crew of two it is used as a elementary flying trainer for the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and the University Air Squadrons and is based at a number of airfields around the United Kingdom but primarily at RAF Cranwell and RAF Wittering

2018 Tutor display Pilot Flight Lieutenant Andy Sell Interview 

Speaking to the 2018 Tutor display Pilot Flight Lieutenant Andy Sell we asked him what his highlights for the 2018 season where going to be he replied by telling us how he was looking forward too Torbay as it was the first show of the year another highlight he said will be the RAF Air Cadet Muster at RAF Benson with the Grob being used for air experience flights for air cadets it’s an excellent opportunity to showcase the capability’s of the Tutor. Andy also added that he is excited to visit Northern Ireland and display at Portrush where a new university air squadron has been set up but overall the team is looking forward to the entire season and celebrating the RAF’s 100th anniversary.

Andy describes the tutor as a very pleasant aircraft to fly and is perfectly suited to its role as an elementary flight training aircraft adding that displaying the aircraft is all about energy management with continual inputs to make sure the aircraft never stays straight and level as this would result in the loss of vital speed for the next manoeuvre which is made harder by the fact the Tutor does not roll very effectively, on the subject of performance Andy told us how this year’s display aircraft G-BYXM has 5 or so knots of extra power than the other aircraft on the squadron which is a huge advantage when displays in an aircraft such as the Tutor which is power limited in the first place.

At the time of speaking to the team they had already been awarded their 2018 public display authorisation describing how this was achieved Andy told us that he had to conduct his 8 minute long display at a number of different heights starting at 3,000ft before dropping down to 1,500ft, 1,000ft and eventually display height of 500ft with a single low pass of 100ft to achieve PDA Andy had to fly 6 full displays and 2 flat displays at each of the heights having been assessed before being allowed to bring the display down to the next height.

With the majority of 2018 shows over the sea a practise sortie was planned at Holbeach bombing range where a full show rehearsal would be undertaken this would include a transit flight to the show site, a hold and full practice display it is important that the display is practised over water giving pilot Flight Lieutenant Andy Sell vital information on how the aircraft handles as the Tutor is effected by wind significantly it also gives Andy the chance to wear a life jacket well preforming the display something he would not normally do.

2018 Display Pilot – Flight Lieutenant Andy Sell

Highly experienced pilot Andy Sell joins the Tutor Display for the 2018 season having served in the Royal Air Force since 1984 Andy has flown over 11,700 hours on a number of aircraft ranging from the C-130 Hercules to Sentinel R1 of which he became one of the first pilots to qualify on in the RAF during his time flying the Sentinel Andy had his first taste of display flying completing five seasons as Captain on the Lancaster and Dakota with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Display Manager – Flying Officer Nick Humphreys

Joining the Royal Air Force in August 2017 this will be Nick’s first posting before he progresses onto flight training where he eventually hopes to join the multi engine fleet as a pilot. As the display manager it is Nick’s job to ensure everything is in place before each display but many months before the season starts he has to decide where the Tutor will be displaying throughout the season he also acts as the teams media adviser.

Team Engineer – Chris Armstrong

Chris is employed by Babcock aviation and has been chosen as this years team engineer after responding to a call from Babcock requesting a volunteer engineer to join the team this summer having previously done this job in 2017 he was the perfect fit when the call went out. His role this year will include arranging all necessary logistics for the team when they arrive at a display location, Arrange for the aircraft to be refuelled and also transport the teams equipment around each display site as well as making sure the aircraft is mechanically safe to fly and fixing any issues the aircraft may have.

2018 Display Dates

2nd-3rd June – Torbay Airshow
Paignton

9th June – RAF Air Cadet Muster
RAF Benson 

10th June – RAF Cosford Airshow
RAF Cosford

17th June – Haven Great Yarmouth Airshow
Great Yarmouth

30th June & 1st July – Wales Airshow
Swansea Bay

7th – 8th July – Southport Airshow
Southport Seafront

14th July – Royal International Air Tattoo
RAF Fairford

28th July – Scottish National Airshow
East Fortune Airfield

29th July – Sunderland International Airshow
Roker and Seaburn Seafront 

18th – 19th August – Eastbourne International Airshow
Eastbourne Seafront

1st – 2nd September – Scottish International Airshow
Ayr Seafront

1st – 2nd September – Airwaves NI international Airshow
Portrush

22nd – 23rd September – Duxford RAF100
Duxford