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Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 14:29 UK
Royal Navy's Black Cats team plan thrilling displays
Black Cat helicopter
The Black Cat team will be performing in front of an estimated 4m people

Royal Navy Black Cats display team are ready to wow audiences both locally and around the world with their thrilling display after four months of practice.

The award-winning team have a new routine of aerial manoeuvres which include tilting a helicopter 90 degrees so that the nose is facing downwards.

Other movements include the carousel which is where two helicopters go nose-to-nose and 'dance' with each other.

This year's display aims to focus on vertical and crown centred movements.

The Black Cats are the Royal Navy's official display team, flying two Westland Lynx helicopters.

It is made up with volunteers from 702 Naval Air Squadron based at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.

Their name is derived both from the Wildcat insignia of 702 Squadron's badge, and the term 'black catting', which in Naval parlance is a form of friendly, but competitive one-upmanship.

BLACK CAT SEASON
Southend Airshow: 29 - 31 May
French Navy 100: 10-14 June
Kemble Air Show: 19-20 June
Cardiff Armed Forces Day: 26 June
Biggin Hill Air Show: 26-27 June
Goodwood Festival of Speed: 2 & 4 July
Rolls Royce Families Day: 3 July
Yeovilton Air Day: 10 July
Silverstone British Grand Prix: 10 - 1 July
Cholmondeley Pageant of Power: 17 - 18 July
Farnborough: 22 - 23 July
Sunderland 23 - 25 July
Culdrose Air Day 28 July
Navy Days Portsmouth 30 July
Bristol Balloon Festival 14 - 15 August
Bournemouth Air Festival 19 - 22 August
Guernsey Battle of Britain Air Display 9 September
Southport 18 - 19 September
Duxford Autumn Air Show 10 October

Lt Becky Frater, Black Cats leader and the first female pilot to be selected for the team, said: "The moves and manoeuvres involved in the performances were already known to us; the challenge was putting them to a different use.

"It's a whole new skill set and one of the most important things is to be safe. Our instructors have been very critical but they need to be; like everything else in the Royal Navy it needs to be spot on."

Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham, Chief of Staff (Aviation and Carriers) said he was thrilled with the new display and gave the team the go-ahead to perform.

Lt Frater added: "Lynx helicopters are very agile and the Black Cats' fan base is growing; we hope that the 2010 season will ensure that even more people will get to see this very versatile aircraft."

After over 40 years of service the Westland Lynx will retire from the Royal Navy in 2017 to be replaced by the similar looking but significantly more capable AW159 Lynx Wildcat.

The first airframe will be delivered to the Royal Navy in December 2012 and will enter service approximately two years later.




SEE ALSO
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