The Red Arrows have been given approval to officially begin their 2018 season – displaying to millions during a milestone year of commemoration and celebration.
Following months of training and perfecting dynamic new manoeuvres, the Red Arrows were awarded Public Display Authority (PDA) earlier today – the formal consent needed to perform for people at home and overseas.
The team’s 54th season will help mark the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary and see them complete more than 60 shows across the United Kingdom and beyond during the 2018 campaign.
Training for the new season began in autumn last year, at the Red Arrows’ home base of RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. Final preparations then took place over the last five weeks at the Hellenic Air Force base of Tanagra, Greece, during a deployment known as Exercise Springhawk.
The overseas element allows the Red Arrows to take advantage of more settled weather and fly up to 15 displays a week to perfect and polish the show.
Beginning with small groups of three or four aircraft, training develops over several months for the Red Arrows before a display season begins. Pilots fly three times a day, five days a week – until the team’s full nine-ship formation comes together around February or March.
Each sortie follows the same two-hour cycle of pre-flight briefing, the flight itself and a thorough, analytical debrief. The aim is constant improvement.
All Red Arrows pilots are from frontline squadrons and, before joining the team, operated jets such as the Tornado, Typhoon or Harrier – helping the Royal Air Force to project influence for the UK and secure the skies 365 days a year.
The latest season is the first time the nine-aircraft formation has been led by Squadron Leader Martin Pert, who flies as Red 1.
He said: “As the Royal Air Force enters its centenary year of 2018, the Red Arrows will spearhead celebrations across the UK and further afield.
“Particular highlights this year will of course be those major airshows and events celebrating RAF100 – such as the Royal International Air Tattoo – together with travelling the length and breadth of the country commemorating all of the achievements of the RAF, under our inimitable ensign of red, white and blue smoke trails.”
The Red Arrows will return to the UK on Saturday, with the 2018 team’s first UK public show appearance being a display at Torbay on June 2.
image © Crown Copyright
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