Coast and Country: Taking to the air to celebrate RAF Valley!

RAF Valley is the training ground for the next generation of fighter pilots. It's home to a fleet of jets and welcomes a variety of aircraft from other bases. Among them is a true icon of the skies... the Red Arrows.

In the air with the Red Arrows

The Red Arrows are one of the world's most loved and recognised aerobatic display teams. Their base is in Lincolnshire but all the pilots earn their wings at Valley, and they visit regularly to top up their emergency training. Flt Lt Mike Bowden is a proud Welshman, and he goes by the name of Red 9. He come to Valley to train in their state-of-the-art flight simulator, and I do my best not to put him off!

Red 9 preparing for simulator training

For Red 9, it's a successful training session. He's coped with engine failure, bad weather and an emergency landing. All simulated scenarios, but it feels very real indeed!

Flight simulator

Back on the ground, and it's training time also for the 30 or so members of the base's Fire Station. They're on hand to tackle any incident on the base - from fuel fires to an emergency ejection.

RAF Valley has it's own fire station

Today, it's all about practice, drills, and waiting for an alarm to sound!

All about the practice!

Key also to keeping RAF Valley safe and in the air is the Met Office. Bad weather can ground flights. And it's fair to say that Anglesey has it's fair share of extreme conditions! The Met Office has it's own base at RAF Valley, and here they keep an eye on the changing forecast.

Checking the latest weather data

Each morning crews are given a detailed forecast for the Valley area and the UK as a whole... to help them decide where to fly, and if it's safe. Cloud cover, visibility and wind speeds can change in seconds on Anglesey!

The cloud from the cockpit

Valley is at the heart of island life on Anglesey. But some take a particularly keen interest in the comings and goings at the base. Most days - whatever the weather, you'll find a dedicated group of aviation enthusiasts in the car park outside.

The snappers!

It's about the perfect shot, but it's also a chance to get together and talk all things RAF!

The perfect capture!

And if you fancy picking up a little RAF souvenir, the Valley Aviation Society also has a little cabin in the car park stocked with everything from mugs to models of the latest planes!

Valley Aviation Society

You might also be surprised to know that there is a civilian airport based at Valley. Running since 2007 there are now 2 forty minute return flights to Cardiff each weekday. It's proven to be hugely popular!

Civilians checking in to Valley airport

It might be a tiny airport but that does have it's advantages! No huge queues to get through security for one!

Ready for departure!

The base itself is close to the sandy stretch of Cymyran Beach. An idyllic location with the mountains of Snowdonia adding to the drama. It's a beautiful part of the world, and once a year the men and women from the base carry put on a beach clean to keep it that way!

Cymyran Beach

It's a win win deal. There's always the danger that rubbish from the beach could blow on to the airfield which could prove hazardous for landing or take-off. And the local area stays looking pristine!

Keeping the local beach clean

The relationship between the RAF base and life on Anglesey go hand in hand. This year the RAF celebrates it's 100th Anniversary, and we're there as staff take part in a very special photoshoot to mark the occasion.

A team photo!

Join us for Coast and Country at RAF Valley, tonight at 8pm.