Having witnessed the astonishingly accomplished performance by the RAF Red Arrows (Red Arrows) during the D-Day 70 celebrations, we pay tribute to this band of elite pilots, the best of the best, with this five of the best with five facts you may or may not know about them:
- They were formed in late 1964, training for the 1965 season and their first public performance was in Clermont Ferrand in France on 9th May 1965. This year marks their 50th season of aerobatic displays and they have a new tail fin design to commemorate this special year.
- They are called the Red Arrows as by 1965, the RAF’s training aircraft were predominantly red in colour. The ‘arrows’ part is in recognition of the Black Arrows, a very popular squadron aerobatic team in the late 50s and early 60s.
- They act as the public face of the Royal Air Force and are ambassadors for the United Kingdom with over 4,500 displays under their belt.
- They fly BAe systems Hawk T1 jets and can reach speeds of 550 knots which is just over 600 miles per hour. They regularly perform at 5 times the force of gravity – sometimes reaching as much as 8gs for some manoeuvres. They wear anti-g suits of course. The smoke seen in demonstrations is actually vapour and its use is predominantly for flight safety, allowing them to judge the wind speed and direction far more accurately than by any other means. It’s also highly theatrical too of course!
- The Red Arrows team is made up of 120 people including pilots, engineers and essential support staff and are based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
Click here to see they details for their 2014 50th anniversary season. Follow them on twitter @RAFRedArrows using the hashtag #Reds50 this year. On Facebook/RAF Red Arrows.
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
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