Red Arrows
Overview
 
The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics
Aerobatics
Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, recreation, entertainment and sport...

 display team of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 based at RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

, but due to move to RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire, England.-Formation:Waddington opened as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station in 1916 until 1920, when the station went into care and maintenance....

 in 2011. The team was formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.

The Red Arrows badge shows the aircraft in their trademark diamond nine formation, with the motto Éclat, a French word meaning "brilliance" or "excellence".

Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat
Folland Gnat
The Folland Gnat was a small, swept-wing British subsonic jet trainer and light fighter aircraft developed by Folland Aircraft for the Royal Air Force, and flown extensively by the Indian Air Force....

 trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks
Yellowjacks
The Yellowjacks were a Royal Air Force aerobatic display team who flew Folland Gnat trainers painted yellow. The team was formed informally in the summer of 1963 by a group of flying instructors, led by Flight Lieutenant Lee Jones, at No 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley...

 display team.
Encyclopedia
The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics
Aerobatics
Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, recreation, entertainment and sport...

 display team of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 based at RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

, but due to move to RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire, England.-Formation:Waddington opened as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station in 1916 until 1920, when the station went into care and maintenance....

 in 2011. The team was formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.

The Red Arrows badge shows the aircraft in their trademark diamond nine formation, with the motto Éclat, a French word meaning "brilliance" or "excellence".

Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat
Folland Gnat
The Folland Gnat was a small, swept-wing British subsonic jet trainer and light fighter aircraft developed by Folland Aircraft for the Royal Air Force, and flown extensively by the Indian Air Force....

 trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks
Yellowjacks
The Yellowjacks were a Royal Air Force aerobatic display team who flew Folland Gnat trainers painted yellow. The team was formed informally in the summer of 1963 by a group of flying instructors, led by Flight Lieutenant Lee Jones, at No 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley...

 display team. This aircraft was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

. In their first season, they flew at 65 shows across Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. In 1966, the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their Diamond Nine formation. In late 1979, they switched to the BAE Hawk
BAE Hawk
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft...

 trainer. The Red Arrows have performed over 4,000 displays worldwide in 53 countries.

Predecessors

The Red Arrows were not the first RAF aerobatics team. An RAF biplane
Biplane
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two superimposed main wings. The Wright brothers' Wright Flyer used a biplane design, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage, it produces more drag than a similar monoplane wing...

 pageant was held at Hendon
Hendon Aerodrome
Hendon Aerodrome was an aerodrome in Hendon, north London, England that, between 1908 and 1968, was an important centre for aviation.It was situated in Colindale, seven miles north west of Charing Cross. It nearly became "the Charing Cross of the UK's international air routes", but for the...

 in 1920 with biplane teams from front-line squadrons. In 1938, three Gloster Gladiator
Gloster Gladiator
The Gloster Gladiator was a British-built biplane fighter. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and was exported to a number of other air forces during the late 1930s. It was the RAF's last biplane fighter aircraft and was rendered obsolete by newer monoplane designs even as it...

s flew with their wing-tips tied together. The Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 largely stopped formation aerobatics, as planes were needed elsewhere.

In 1947, the first jet team of three de Havilland Vampire
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

s came from Odiham
RAF Odiham
RAF Odiham is a Royal Air Force station situated a little to the south of the historic small village of Odiham in Hampshire, England. It is the home of the Royal Air Force's heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook HC2, HC2A and HC3...

 Fighter Wing. Various teams flew the Vampire, and in 1950, No. 72 Squadron
No. 72 Squadron RAF
No. 72 Squadron Royal Air Force started its service life supporting the army during World War I on operations in Middle East and afterwards was quickly disbanded. In its second incarnation the squadron was a real fighter unit, transitioning from Gloster Gladiator biplanes to Gloster Javelin...

 was flying a team of seven. No. 54 Squadron RAF became the first RAF jet formation team to use smoke trails. Vampires were replaced by Meteors
Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

, No 66 Squadron
No. 66 Squadron RAF
No. 66 Squadron was a Royal Flying Corps and eventually Royal Air Force aircraft squadron.-In World War I:It was first formed at Filton on 30 June 1916 as a Training Squadron equipped with BE2c,d & e, BE12 and Avroe 504A machines. The squadron received its first Sopwith Pup on 3 February 1917,...

 developing a formation team of six aircraft.

Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 aircraft were first used for aerobatics teams in 1955, when No 54 Squadron flew a formation of four.

The official RAF team was provided by No. 111 Squadron RAF
No. 111 Squadron RAF
No. 111 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operated the Panavia Tornado F3 from RAF Leuchars, Scotland until March 2011, when the squadron was disbanded, ending the Tornado F3's RAF service.-In World War I:...

 ('Treblers' or 'Treble-One') in 1956, and for the first time the aircraft had a special colour scheme, which was an all-black finish. After a demonstration in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, they were hailed as "Les Fleches Noires" and from then on known as the Black Arrows
Black Arrows
The Black Arrows, one of the predecessors of the current Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, were an aerobatic demonstration team formed in the 1950s from 111 Squadron...

. This team became the first team to fly a five-Hunter formation. The Black Arrows' greatest moment was the loop and barrel roll of 22 Hunters during the 1958 Farnborough Airshow. This was a world record for the greatest number of aircraft looped in formation, and remains unbroken to this day. The Black Arrows were the premier team until 1961, when the Blue Diamonds (No. 92 Squadron RAF
No. 92 Squadron RAF
No. 92 Squadron, also known as No 92 Squadron, of the Royal Air Force was formed as part of the Royal Flying Corps at London Colney as a fighter squadron on 1 September 1917. It deployed to France in July 1918 and saw action for just four months, until the end of the war. During the conflict it...

) continued their role, flying sixteen blue Hunters.

In 1960, the Tigers (No. 74 Squadron RAF
No. 74 Squadron RAF
No. 74 Squadron RAF, also known as a "Tiger Squadron" from its tiger head motif, is a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It operated fighter aircraft from 1917 to the 1990s.-First World War:...

) were re-equipped with the supersonic English Electric Lightning
English Electric Lightning
The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, noted for its great speed and unpainted natural metal exterior finish. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. The aircraft was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; Royal Air Force ...

 and performed wing-overs and rolls with nine aircraft in tight formation. They sometimes gave co-ordinated displays with the Blue Diamonds.

Yet another aerobatics team was formed by No. 56 Squadron RAF
No. 56 Squadron RAF
Number 56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most successful squadrons of the Royal Air Force, with battle honours from many of the significant air campaigns of both World War I and World War II...

, the Firebirds, with nine red and silver Lightnings. In 1964, the Red Pelicans
Red Pelicans
The Red Pelicans, were the official aerobatics display flyers of the Royal Air Force before the Red Arrows took over the role in 1965. The Red Pelicans flew the BAC Jet Provost aircraft.-History:...

, flying six BAC Jet Provost
BAC Jet Provost
The BAC Jet Provost was a British jet-powered trainer aircraft used by the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1993. The Jet Provost was also successfully exported, serving in many air forces worldwide....

 T Mk 4s, assumed the role of the RAF's leading display team. In that same year, a team of five yellow Gnat trainers from No 4 Flying Training School displayed at the Farnborough Airshow. This team became known as the Yellowjacks after Flight Lieutenant Lee Jones's call sign, "Yellowjack"; the name was briefly 'Daffodil Patrol', but was quickly changed back.

In 1964, all the RAF display teams were amalgamated, as it was feared pilots were spending too much time practising formation aerobatics rather than operational training. The new team name took the word red from the fact that the Yellowjacks' planes had been painted red (for safety reasons, as it was a far clearer and more visible colour in the sky) and arrows after the Black Arrows; the official version, however, is that the red was a tribute to the Red Pelicans. Another reason for the change to red was that responsibility for the team moved from Fighter Command to the Central Flying School
Central Flying School
The Central Flying School is the Royal Air Force's primary institution for the training of military flying instructors. Established in 1912 it is the longest existing flying training school.-History:...

, whose main colour was red.

Establishment

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, was based at RAF Kemble
RAF Kemble
RAF Kemble was a Royal Air Force airfield that was linked from 1966 with the Red Arrows, the RAF Aerobatic display team; which operated Gnat and laterly Hawk trainers from there...

, then a satellite unit of the Central Flying School
Central Flying School
The Central Flying School is the Royal Air Force's primary institution for the training of military flying instructors. Established in 1912 it is the longest existing flying training school.-History:...

, itself based at RAF Little Rissington
RAF Little Rissington
RAF Little Rissington is an RAF aerodrome and former RAF station in Gloucestershire, England. It was once home to the Central Flying School, the Vintage Pair and the Red Arrows.Built during the 1930s, the station was opened in 1938 and closed in 1994...

, which was considered the "official" home base of the Arrows. Arrows' aircraft would frequently fly into Rissington for maintenance. When RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

 became the CFS Headquarters in 1983, the Red Arrows moved there. As an economy measure, Scampton closed in 1995, so the Red Arrows moved just twenty miles to RAF Cranwell
RAF Cranwell
RAF Cranwell is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire close to the village of Cranwell, near Sleaford. It is currently commanded by Group Captain Dave Waddington...

; however, as they still used the air space above Scampton, the emergency facilities and runways had to be maintained. Since 21 December 2000, the Red Arrows have been based again at RAF Scampton, near Lincoln.

The first team, led by Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. In these...

 Lee Jones, had seven display pilots and flew the Folland Gnat T1 jet trainer. The first display in the UK was on 6 May 1965 at Little Rissington for a press day. At the subsequent National Air Day display, three days later, at Clermont Ferrand in France, one French journalist described the team as "Les Fleches Rouges", confirming the name "The Red Arrows". By the end of their first season, the Red Arrows had displayed 65 times in Britain, France, Italy, Holland, Germany and Belgium and were awarded the Britannia Trophy
Britannia Trophy
The Britannia Trophy is a British award presented by the Royal Aero Club for aviators accomplishing the most meritorious performance in aviaton during the previous year....

 by the Royal Aero Club
Royal Aero Club
The Royal Aero Club is the national co-ordinating body for Air Sport in the United Kingdom.The Aero Club was founded in 1901 by Frank Hedges Butler, his daughter Vera and the Hon Charles Rolls , partly inspired by the Aero Club of France...

 for their contribution to aviation.

In 1968, the then Team Leader (Sqn Ldr Ray Hanna) expanded the team from seven to nine jets, as he wanted to expand the team's capabilities and the permutations of formation patterns. It was during this season that the 'Diamond Nine' pattern was formed and it has remained the team's trademark pattern ever since. Ray Hanna served as Red Leader for three consecutive years until 1968 and was recalled to supersede Squadron Leader Timothy Nelson for the 1969 display season, a record four seasons as Leader which still stands to this day. For his considerable achievements of airmanship with the team, Ray Hanna was awarded a bar to his existing Air Force Cross (AFC)
Air Force Cross (United Kingdom)
The Air Force Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, and formerly also to officers of the other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy"...

.

After displaying 1,292 times in the Folland Gnat
Folland Gnat
The Folland Gnat was a small, swept-wing British subsonic jet trainer and light fighter aircraft developed by Folland Aircraft for the Royal Air Force, and flown extensively by the Indian Air Force....

, the Red Arrows took delivery of the BAe Hawk
BAE Hawk
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft...

 in the winter of 1979. Since being introduced into service with the Red Arrows, the Hawk has performed with the Red Arrows in fifty countries.
In July 2004 there was speculation in the British media that the Red Arrows would be disbanded, after a defence spending review, due to running costs of between £5 million and £6 million. The Arrows were not disbanded and their expense has been justified through their public relations benefit of helping to develop business in the defence industry and promoting recruitment for the RAF. According to the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, it is highly unlikely that the Red Arrows will be disbanded, as they are a considerable attraction throughout the world. This was reiterated by then Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, in 2007.

With the planned closure of RAF Scampton, the future home of the Red Arrows became uncertain. On 20 May 2008 months of speculation was ended when it was revealed that the Ministry of Defence were moving the Red Arrows to nearby RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire, England.-Formation:Waddington opened as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station in 1916 until 1920, when the station went into care and maintenance....

.

Pilots

Since 1966, there have been nine display pilots each year, all volunteers. Pilots must have completed one or more operational tours on a fast jet such as the Tornado
Panavia Tornado
The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy...

, Harrier
RAF Harrier II
The British Aerospace/McDonnell Douglas Harrier II is a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing jet aircraft used previously by the Royal Air Force and, between 2006–2010, the Royal Navy. Derived from the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, which was a development of the Hawker...

 or Jaguar
SEPECAT Jaguar
The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet ground attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with several export customers, notably the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force...

, have accumulated at least 1,500 flying hours and have been assessed as above average in their operational role to be eligible. Even then, there are more than ten applicants for each place on the team. Pilots stay with the Red Arrows for a three-year tour of duty
Tour of duty
In the Navy, a tour of duty is a period of time spent performing operational duties at sea, including combat, performing patrol or fleet duties, or assigned to service in a foreign country....

. Three pilots are changed every year, such that there are always three first year pilots, three second year pilots, and three in their final year.

The Reds have no reserve pilots, as a spare pilot would not perform often enough to fly to the standard required. If one of the pilots is not able to fly, the team flies an eight-plane formation. However, if the Team Leader, 'Red 1', is unable to fly then the team does not display at all. Each pilot always flies the same position in a formation. The pilots spend six months from October to April practising for the display season. Pilots wear green flying suits during training, and are only allowed to wear their red flying suits when fully qualified.

During an aerobatics display, Red Arrows pilots experience forces up to five times that of gravity (1g)
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

, and when performing the aerobatic manoeuvre 'Vixen Break', forces up to 7g can be reached, close to the 8g structural limit of the aircraft.

As well as the nine pilots, 'Red 10', also known as the Road Manager, is a fully qualified Hawk pilot who flies the tenth aircraft when the Red Arrows are away from base. This means the team have a reserve aircraft at the display site. Red 10's duties include co-ordination of the display and acting as the team's Ground Safety Officer. Red 10 also flies TV cameramen and photographers for air-to-air pictures of the Red Arrows. The engineering team that supports the Red Arrows is known as "The Blues" and consists of 85 members.
On 13 May 2009, it was announced that the Red Arrows would include their first female display pilot. Flt Lt Kirsty Moore joined for the 2010 season alongside fellow newcomer Flt Lt Ben Plank. Wing Commander Jas Hawker concluded his three year tour of duty as 'The Boss' and was replaced by 2009 Red Six, Squadron Leader Ben Murphy. Flt Lt Moore is not the first female to apply to become a Red Arrow, but is the first to be taken forward to the intense selection. She joined the RAF in 1998 and has been an instructor on the Hawk aircraft at RAF Valley. She flies the Tornado aircraft at RAF Marham. Flt Lt Plank is based at RAF Cottesmore
RAF Cottesmore
RAF Cottesmore was a Royal Air Force station in Rutland, England, situated between Cottesmore and Market Overton. The station housed all the operational Harrier GR9 squadrons in the Royal Air Force, and No 122 Expeditionary Air Wing...

.

The team for the 2011 season was announced on 13 September 2010 and subsequently undertook winter training in preparation for the 2011 display season. The team departed the UK on Friday 18 March 2011 and travelled to Cyprus to undertake Exercise SPRINGHAWK at RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

. The first 9-ship practice was flown on the first day of training in Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 on Monday 21 March 2011. The team remained in Cyprus until the end of May whilst they took advantage of the good weather on offer to work up to display standard. The team gained their PDA (Public Display Authority) on Thursday 20 May 2011 just two days before their first planned public display in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

.

Aircraft


The Red Arrows do not use front-line aircraft because of operating costs. The team uses the RAF's advanced jet trainer, the BAE Hawk T1A, built at Brough
Brough Aerodrome
Brough Aerodrome is located at Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.The site was first used by the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company during World War I for the testing of seaplanes....

 in the East Riding of Yorkshire
East Riding of Yorkshire
The East Riding of Yorkshire, or simply East Yorkshire, is a local government district with unitary authority status, and a ceremonial county of England. For ceremonial purposes the county also includes the city of Kingston upon Hull, which is a separate unitary authority...

. While the Hawk is very basic compared to the much more modern Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

, it is still fast enough and very manoeuvrable, ideal for low-altitude aerobatics. The plane does not have a sat nav, radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 or onboard computer. The Red Arrows normally cruise at 360 knots (one nautical mile every 10 seconds).

Displays

The first display by the Red Arrows was at RAF Little Rissington
RAF Little Rissington
RAF Little Rissington is an RAF aerodrome and former RAF station in Gloucestershire, England. It was once home to the Central Flying School, the Vintage Pair and the Red Arrows.Built during the 1930s, the station was opened in 1938 and closed in 1994...

 on 6 May 1965. The display was to introduce the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team to the media. However, the first public display was on 9 May 1965 in France, at the French National Air Day in Clermont-Ferrand
Clermont-Ferrand
Clermont-Ferrand is a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne region, with a population of 140,700 . Its metropolitan area had 409,558 inhabitants at the 1999 census. It is the prefecture of the Puy-de-Dôme department...

. The first public display in the UK was on 15 May 1965 at the Biggin Hill International Air Fair
Biggin Hill International Air Fair
The Biggin Hill International Air Show, or Biggin Hill Air Fair, was one of the largest civilian airshows in the world and the largest privately organised air show in Europe...

. The first display with nine aircraft was on 8 July 1966 at RAF Little Rissington
RAF Little Rissington
RAF Little Rissington is an RAF aerodrome and former RAF station in Gloucestershire, England. It was once home to the Central Flying School, the Vintage Pair and the Red Arrows.Built during the 1930s, the station was opened in 1938 and closed in 1994...

.

The first display in Germany was at RAF Laarbruch
RAF Laarbruch
The former Royal Air Force Station Laarbruch, more commonly known as RAF Laarbruch ICAO EDUL was a Royal Air Force station, a military airbase, located in Germany on its border with the Netherlands...

 on 6 August 1965. The Red Arrows performed in Germany a further 170 times before formation aerobatics were banned in Germany following the Ramstein airshow disaster
Ramstein airshow disaster
The Ramstein airshow disaster is the second-deadliest airshow incident . It took place in front of about 300,000 people on August 28 1988, in Ramstein, West Germany, near the city of Kaiserslautern at the US Ramstein Air Base airshow Flugtag '88.Aircraft of the Italian Air Force display team...

 in 1988.

During displays, the aircraft do not fly directly over the crowd apart from entering the display area by flying over the crowd from behind; any manoeuvres in front of and parallel to the audience can be as low as 300 feet, the 'synchro pair' can go as low as 100 feet straight and level, or 150 feet when in inverted flight. To carry out a full looping display the cloud base
Cloud base
This article refers to meteorology. For the airborne base of the TV series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, see Cloudbase.The cloud base is the lowest altitude of the visible portion of the cloud...

 must be above 4,500 feet to avoid the team entering the cloud while looping If the cloud base is less than 4,500 ft but more than 2,500 ft the Team will perform the Rolling Display, substituting wing-overs and rolls for the loops. If the cloud base is less than 2,500 ft the Team will fly the Flat Display, which consists of a series of fly-pasts and steep turns.

One of the biggest crowds to see the Red Arrows was in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 on 13 June 1973, when there was a crowd of 650,000 people, a statistic exceeded in 1996 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

.

The greatest number of displays flown in any year was in 1995, when the Red Arrows performed 136 times. The smallest number of displays in one year was in 1975, after the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 limited their appearances.

At a charity auction, a British woman paid £1.5 million to fly with them.

By the end of the 2009 season, the Red Arrows had performed a total of 4,269 displays in 53 countries. The 4,000th display was at RAF Leuchars
RAF Leuchars
RAF Leuchars is the most northerly air defence station in the United Kingdom. It is located in Leuchars, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, near to the university town of St Andrews.-Operations:...

 during the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 Airshow in September 2006.

Display charges

In 1977, a charge of £200 was introduced by the MOD
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 for a Red Arrows display. By 2000, the charge had risen to £2,000 (including VAT
Vat
Vat or VAT may refer to:* A type of container such as a barrel, storage tank, or tub, often constructed of welded sheet stainless steel, and used for holding, storing, and processing liquids such as milk, wine, and beer...

 and insurance). In 2011 the team manager quoted the charge as £9,000.

Transits

On a transit flight (getting to or from a display location) the team may fly at the relatively low altitude of 1000 feet (304.8 m). This avoids the complication of moving though the cloud base in formation, and also avoids much controlled air space. Jets are more efficient at higher altitude, so longer flights are made at 35000 to 42000 ft (10,668 to 12,801.6 m). On transit flights, the formation can include spare planes. Sometimes a C-130 Hercules accompanies them, carrying spare parts.

As the fuel tank capacity of the Hawk sets a limit to flight distance, very long transits between display sites may need landings on the way to refuel. For example, travel to Canada has required refuelling stops in Iceland and Greenland.

Smoke

The smoke trails left by the team are made by releasing diesel into the exhaust
Exhaust gas
Exhaust gas or flue gas is emitted as a result of the combustion of fuels such as natural gas, gasoline/petrol, diesel fuel, fuel oil or coal. According to the type of engine, it is discharged into the atmosphere through an exhaust pipe, flue gas stack or propelling nozzle.It often disperses...

; this oxidises straight away, leaving a white smoke trail. Dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

s can be added to produce the red and blue colour. The diesel is stored in the pod on the underside of the plane; designed to carry a 30 mm ADEN cannon
ADEN cannon
The Royal Small Arms Factory ADEN is a 30 mm revolver cannon used on many military aircraft, particularly those of the British Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm...

, it now houses three tanks: one 50 gallons (227.3 l) tank of pure diesel and two 10 gallons (45.5 l) tanks of blue- and red-dyed diesel. The smoke system uses 10 gallons (45.5 l) per minute; therefore each plane can trail smoke for a total of seven minutes – 5 minutes of white smoke, 1 minute of blue and 1 minute of red.

Incidents and accidents

|event=A Gnat hit trees while joining formation during a practice at RAF Kemble, one fatality.}}|event=Two Gnats crashed, one at Kemble and the other in a field new Chelworth, the pilots both ejected safely although the a fire warning from air traffic was intended for only one of the aircraft.}}|event=A Gnat crashed short of the RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford is a Royal Air Force station in Gloucestershire, England. It is a standby airfield, not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the 2003 Iraq War, Operation Allied Force in 1999, and the first Gulf War in...

 runway. }}|event=Two Gnats collided during the cross-over manoeuvre with four fatalities. }}|event=A Hawk hit a yacht mast at an air show in Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

, Sussex; the pilot ejected safely.|event=A Hawk hit the ground at RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, while practising a loop. The pilot was ejected from the plane by the force of the impact and suffered serious injuries. }}|event=A Hawk rammed into the back of another on a runway. }}|event=A Hawk crashed into a house in the neighbouring village of Welton, Lincolnshire
Welton, Lincolnshire
Welton is a village and civil parish seven miles north of the city of Lincoln in the county of Lincolnshire, England, and the district of West Lindsey...

 while practising. Nobody was killed and both pilots ejected safely. }}|event=}} A Hawk crashed whilst attempting to take off, and the fuel tanks exploded. The pilot ejected safely. }}|event=Flt Lt Neil MacLachlan died practising a "roll back" at RAF Scampton. }}|event=Flt Lt R. Edwards landed short of the runway after a practice run at the Red Arrows then home base, RAF Cranwell, and ejected safely at low altitude. }}|event=A Hawk overshot the runway while landing at Jersey Airport
Jersey Airport
-Busiest routes:Some airlines offer services between Jersey and other destinations with an intermediate stop at Guernsey. There are also periodic charter flights to European holiday destinations, Madeira and ski destinations operated by airlines such as Aurigny Air Services, Europe Airpost, Palmair...

 in advance of an air display. The pilot ran the jet into a gravel pile and little damage was sustained. }}|event=The wingtip of a Hawk hit the tail of another during a practice flight near RAF Scampton. }}|event=Two Hawks were involved in a mid-air collision. The synchro pair were practising one of their manoeuvres when the two aircraft collided. One pilot landed his plane safely, but the other (Flt Lt Mike Ling) ejected and suffered a dislocated shoulder. The incident took place during pre-season training in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

.}}|event=A Hawk crashed near Bournemouth Airport
Bournemouth Airport
Bournemouth Airport is an airport located north-northeast of Bournemouth, in southern England...

 following a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival
Bournemouth Air Festival
The Bournemouth Air Festival is an annual air show held along the coast of Bournemouth, between Bournemouth pier and Boscombe pier, in Dorset, England...

. Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, pilot of Red 4, died in the accident. An investigation into the incident is currently under way.}}|event=Pilot Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, was ejected from his aircraft while it was on the ground at RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

 and subsequently died from his injuries. An investigation into the incident began shortly afterwards.}}

Video game

In 1985, Database Software
Database Software
Database Software was a software publisher based in Cheshire, England. Software published by the company includes the Red Arrows game for the ZX Spectrum and the office suite Mini Office II, as well as games and educational software for children....

 released a flight simulator
Flight simulator
A flight simulator is a device that artificially re-creates aircraft flight and various aspects of the flight environment. This includes the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they react to applications of their controls and other aircraft systems, and how they react to the external...

 called Red Arrows, made in cooperation with the flight team. In the simulator, stunts have to be performed while flying in formation. It was available for the ZX Spectrum
ZX Spectrum
The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd...

, Commodore 64
Commodore 64
The Commodore 64 is an 8-bit home computer introduced by Commodore International in January 1982.Volume production started in the spring of 1982, with machines being released on to the market in August at a price of US$595...

, Amstrad CPC
Amstrad CPC
The Amstrad CPC is a series of 8-bit home computers produced by Amstrad between 1984 and 1990. It was designed to compete in the mid-1980s home computer market dominated by the Commodore 64 and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, where it successfully established itself primarily in the United Kingdom,...

, Acorn Electron
Acorn Electron
The Acorn Electron is a budget version of the BBC Micro educational/home computer made by Acorn Computers Ltd. It has 32 kilobytes of RAM, and its ROM includes BBC BASIC along with its operating system....

, BBC Micro
BBC Micro
The BBC Microcomputer System, or BBC Micro, was a series of microcomputers and associated peripherals designed and built by Acorn Computers for the BBC Computer Literacy Project, operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation...

 and Atari
Atari
Atari is a corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. It is currently owned by Atari Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA . The original Atari, Inc. was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. It was a pioneer in...

.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK