Our penultimate Newcastle Aircraft Profile is the world Famous RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows in their 9 Red T1 Hawk aircraft.
The Red Arrows are returning to Newcastle having been a regular at the Festival of Flight, only missing 2012 (overseas tour) and 2015 (Aircraft tech issues)
The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams. Representing the speed, agility and precision of the RAF, the team is the public face of the service. Look out for some new moves dedicated to the 100 years of the RAF in this years display!
They assist in recruiting to the Armed Forces, act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom and promote the best of British. Flying distinctive Hawk jets, the team is made up of pilots, engineers and essential support staff with front-line, operational experience.
Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team.
This aircraft was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters. In their first season, they flew at 65 shows across Europe. 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 trainer. The Red Arrows have performed over 4,600 displays in 56 countries worldwide
The engineering team that supports the Red Arrows is known as “The Blues” and consists of 85 members who cover all of the various trades in the RAF.
Each season nine members of the Blues are selected to be members of the ‘Circus’. Each member of the Circus works with the same pilot for the duration of the season and is responsible for servicing their aircraft and preparing their flying kit prior to each display. The Circus also fly in the back seat of the jets during transit flights.
The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft.
The Hawks used by the Red Arrows are modified with an uprated engine and a modification to enable smoke to be generated, diesel is mixed with a coloured dye and ejected into the jet exhaust to produce either red, white or blue smoke.
The Hawk T1 version is currently used at RAF Valley for fast-jet pilot advanced training, however this role will increasingly migrate to IV(R) Sqn and the Hawk T2 in the future. The Hawk T1 is also operated by the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, and 100 Sqn. While the Hawk T1 is used primarily in the advanced flying-training role, it is equipped to an operational standard and is capable of undertaking a war role.
However the Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton and not RAF Valley like the rest of the Hawk aircraft.
Mike Ling, who many of you remember as Red 10 over the last few years returns to the team as Red 3, it’s great to have him back again in the skies all be it in unfortinute circumstances after a tragic crash earlier this year left Red 3, Flight Lieutenant David Stark unable to display as well as the tragic loss of engineer Jonathan Bayliss’s life.
I look forward to seeing the Red Arrows in Newcastle once again. Having already seen them a number of times I can tell you the RAF centenary year display from the Red Arrows is fantastic
Come back tomorrow for our final Newcastle aircraft profile, the Iconic BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane.