RAF Chinook and Puma mark 90 years of joint service

A joint flight with both specially painted Chinook HC.6 (ZD984) and Puma HC.2 (XW224) helicopters took place on November 25 to celebrate the combined 90 years of service between the aircraft.

From RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, the Puma celebrates 50 years of service whilst the Chinook from RAF Odiham, Hampshire has clocked up 40 years of service. Each aircraft’s paint scheme was commissioned to commemorate the significant anniversaries of their entry into service with the Royal Air Force. 

Puma and Chinook
A joint flight of Puma (XX224) and Chinook (ZD984) displaying anniversary paint schemes fly over the iconic landmark of the Needles on the coast of the Isle of White. Crown Copyright

The joint formation flight flew over multiple locations including, the Isle of Wight and over central London. A second Puma from RAF Benson joined the flight with RAF photographers onboard to gather imagery of the celebratory flight. 

Puma and Chinook
Both Puma (XX224) and Chinook (ZD984) helicopters turn towards the lead aircraft in the formation during sunset over Southern England. Crown Copyright

Both helicopters have operated as part of the Joint Helicopter Command for over two decades. The Puma entered service in January 1971 and has supported combat and humanitarian operations in multiple global theatres, including, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan as a medium-lift support helicopter. 

Puma and Chinook
RAF Puma (XX224) and Chinook (ZD984) simultaneously lift from one of the multiple locations visited during the joint flight. Crown Copyright

The chinook and its unique tandem rotor system commenced service for the RAF in November 1980, like the Puma, it has participated in multiple global operations including the Falklands War in 1982, utilising its heavy lift capabilities for emergency medical evacuations and cargo supply. 

Puma and Chinook
Raf Chinook (ZD984) and Puma (XX224) fly low level over the water during the joint formation flight. Crown Copyright

The special schemes currently visible on the two-anniversary aircraft are due to be removed, and the aircraft are to be returned to standard operational schemes in early 2022. 

Puma and Chinook
Puma (XX224) and Chinook (ZD984) fly over central London during the mixed formation flight to celebrate 90 years of combined service. Crown Copyright