The Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, is one of the most iconic aerobatic display teams in the world.
They are a flight team that demonstrates to the public all the skills, abilities, and speed of the RAF pilots. They help recruit into the RAF, act as UK ambassadors at home and abroad, and promote the best of the British.
All the pilots flying in the Red Arrows, in front of aircraft like a hurricane, and helping the Royal Air Force protect the sky all day long. They fly in impressive shapes and formations, extremely close together, and are known for blowing trialing smoke from the back of their planes to draw patterns in the sky, as you can see in the picture below.
With distinct Hawk fast jets, the team demonstrates the excellence and capabilities of the Royal Air Force and the skilled and talented individuals in the service.
Where did they come from?
The Red Arrows were formed in 1964 when the RAF decided to reunite all its show teams.
The team name, Red Arrows, is a mixture of the names of two other teams of the time - the Black Arrows and the Red Pelicans.
In their first year, the Red Arrows performed upto 65 shows and by the end of 2015, the team had flown 4,725 displays. Their 50th Birthday was celebrated in 2014, with lots of special displays and events.
Some interesting facts about Red Arrows
- The first official Red Arrows exhibition was on May 6, 1965, in Little Rissington.
- The first public demonstration of red arrows was on May 9, 1965, in Clermont Ferrand, France.
- The Red Arrows are officially called the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.
- Red Arrow’s first female pilot was announced in 2010 - Chief Justice Kirsty Moore
- Three drivers are changed every year, so there are always three drivers in the first year, three in the second year, and older drivers.
- After completing a three-year service course for the Red Arrows, these pilots usually return to “front-line” duties in their main careers.
- The Red Arrows help more than 500 UK charities every year
- Depending on the weather, pilots can perform three types of screens: full screen, mobile screen, and flat-screen.
- The Red Arrows are nicknamed "Red"; Their support group of engineers are known as "The Blues."
- There are 9 pilots that make up the display team with 11 jets. Two jets are always on standby just in case an aircraft is unable to fly.
What do the Red Arrows do?
For the front face, they have performed a series of acrobatic performances for a worldwide audience, leaving traces of red, white and blue steam as they fly through the sky.
In addition to their most recognisable form, the ‘Diamond Nines’, the team also trains and develops several formations and maneuvers.
The colour of their steam is more than pure beauty - pilots use clear colors as a smoke signal to measure air movement and the location of their air counterparts.
The team flies at memorable events. The acrobatic team quite often fly over specific UK events, like the Euros 2020 and Goodwood Festival of Speed. Everytime they do so they leave behind red, white, and blue smoke trails.
Outside of national cases, overseas services are often carried out as a sign of strong diplomatic and military relations between the United Kingdom and its allies. The most iconic one being the US tour in 2019.
Who is part of the RAF Red Arrow team?
The Red Arrows are made up of more than 120 team members, including pilots, engineers, and support staff members.
Especially, eleven pilots make up the team, including the Commanding Officer and the Reds from 1 to 10.
The Commanding Officer is in charge of the team, while Red 10 works as the team’s supervisor, giving comments and radio contact with the Team Leader, Red 1, during performances. Pilots fly Hawk Jets, which are painted bright red and can reach speeds of just over 600 miles per hour.
Elsewhere on the team, is their support staff, including the team manager, public relations manager, flight planner, operations officer, engineering officers, and assistant.
There are also engineering technicians, “the Blues”, as well as mechanical engineers, aerospace crews, military technicians, aircraft carrier equipment supervisors, mechanical transport crews, live equipment technicians, photographers, and aviation Engineering Assistants.
To view more of my RAF Red Arrows photos, navigate to my gallery that has a lot of them there!