Official approval has been given to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, to display in 2014 – its 50th season.
The Team was formally awarded its 2014 Public Display Authority (PDA) earlier today, after months of intensive preparation by its pilots, engineers and support staff.
Following the approval, the Red Arrows’ pilots were allowed to change from their green coveralls, used during training, into their iconic red flying suits, which are worn during the season.
It is a proud moment for the nine display pilots, all of whom are from frontline squadrons and, before joining the Team, operated jets such as the Tornado or the Typhoon – helping the Royal Air Force protect the United Kingdom and its interests at all hours, 365-days a year.
The first UK show of the year for the Red Arrows is on Saturday, May 31 at Falmouth, Cornwall, to coincide with the Pendennis Cup.
It is one of more than 80 displays planned this season for the Team, which is the public face of the Royal Air Force and showcases the speed, agility and precision of the Service.
Squadron Leader Jim TurnerSquadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader and Red 1, said: “Being awarded Public Display Authority for 2014, the Red Arrows’ 50th season, is a proud moment for everyone involved and is testimony to the dedication and constant strive for excellence which have always been hallmarks of the Team and the Royal Air Force.”
The Team’s engineers and support staff, who number more than 100, also changed their coveralls following PDA – into their famous royal blue flying suits.
The final part of the PDA process took place at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus this week.
The base hosts the Red Arrows for a two-month spring training exercise, with the Team using the island’s fine weather to perfect their 21-minute display, which involves a combination of synchronised formation aerobatics followed by a more dynamic second half show.
For PDA, the Royal Air Force’s Deputy Commander Operations, Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, and Air Officer Commanding 22 Training Group, Air Vice-Marshall Mike Lloyd, observed all aspects of the Team at work and its preparation for the season, including five separate displays.pda story 5
This is to ensure the Team satisfies the highest safety standards and is performing a display that is a credit to both the Royal Air Force and UK.
This work-up to the season is a big team effort – involving all of the ground staff in the Red Arrows, from flight operations personnel and engineering technicians to drivers and suppliers.
Squadron Leader Turner said: “Getting to this stage takes an exceptional level of preparation and hard work, from each area of the Team.
“Training involves flying three sorties a day, five days a week, and begins almost as soon as the last season has finished, then through the winter months in the UK, before honing the new display in spring, out in Cyprus – repeating the show dozens of times.
“As a Team, we are now pleased and excited to be ready to entertain the public in the UK and also represent the country when we perform at locations overseas.
“This 50th season promises to be a great occasion and we hope the quality of the display lives up to the finest traditions of past teams.
“I very much wish that millions of people get to see and enjoy watching the Red Arrows this year and, on behalf of the entire Team, thank you for your continued and valued support.”
The Red Arrows will return to the UK from their spring training exercise on Friday, before performing their Falmouth display on Saturday and finally arriving back at their home base of RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, later that evening.
Highlights of the 50th season, which runs until the end of September, include special celebrations at major airshows, such as at the Royal International Air Tattoo, in Gloucestershire, in July, where the Red Arrows will be the central theme.
The milestone season is also being marked with a fresh look for the Team’s BAE Systems Hawk jets. A new Union flag tailfin was unveiled on the aircraft in February, in a show of best of British.
The Red Arrows’ first performance was in 1965 and are regarded as one of the world’s premier aerobatic teams, with their trademark Diamond Nine formation, precision flying and close-passes.
The Team promotes the excellence of the Royal Air Force and its skilled, well-trained people. The Red Arrows also assist in recruiting, contribute to defence diplomacy when displaying overseas and support wider UK interests and industry. Up to the beginning of the 2014 season, the Red Arrows had performed more than 4,500 displays in 55 countries.
Global Aviation Resource looks forward to bringing you more on the Reds’ 50th, in due course.