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Red Arrows Public Visit 2012 - Simon Oldfield

Photographs

photo by Simon Oldfield
Martin & James
B-25 Mitchell.
Gemma
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX323
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Dye Pod
photo by Simon Oldfield
Dye Pod
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk Engine
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX308
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX308
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX322
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk Engine
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX308
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX323
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX323
photo by Simon Oldfield
Dye Pod
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX308
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX323
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrows
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX323
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX323
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX266
photo by Simon Oldfield
Dye Pod
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX308
photo by Simon Oldfield
Ben Plank
photo by Simon Oldfield
Dave Davis
photo by Simon Oldfield
James & Martin
photo by Simon Oldfield
Ben Plank
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk XX284
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX277
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX277
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX306
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX306
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX306
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX253
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrow XX253
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk XX284
photo by Simon Oldfield
Ejector Seat
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk XX284
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk XX284
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk XX284
photo by Simon Oldfield
Hawk XX284
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrows Tails
photo by Simon Oldfield
Ejector Seat
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrows Tails
photo by Simon Oldfield
Ejector Seat



Airshow Photographs

Red Arrow XX253 withdrawn from service as a memorial for Flt lt Jon Egging and Flt Lt Sean Cunningham - Photo by Simon Oldfield.

Red Arrow XX253 withdrawn from service as a memorial for Flt lt Jon Egging and Flt Lt Sean Cunningham

All of these photographs were taken by Simon Oldfield on a recent visit to the Red Arrows base at RAF Scampton in February 2012. Public visits are hosted at RAF Scampton to see the Red Arrows every Tuesday and Thursday during the winter training season, through November to March.

There is presently about a year's waiting list to be accepted to visit the base at RAF Scampton due to the popularity of the Red Arrows. During a visit you will get a detailed presentation about the Red Arrows with lots of insider information, you'll get to see the engineers at work on the aircraft, as well as see the pilots practise their display as long as the weather is good. Unfortunately during this visit the weather was poor so all the photos are taken inside the hangar.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, were formed in 1965, and operated the Folland Gnat trainer aircraft from their base at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. Previous to 1965 they were called the Yellow Jacks and they painted their Gnat aircraft yellow. The name 'Red Arrows' was chosen to combine the appeal and expertise of two earlier teams, the famous Black Arrows and the Red Pelicans. By 1968, the team flew with nine aircraft and the Diamond Nine formation became their trademark.

In 1979/80 the Red Arrows converted to the BAe Hawk advanced trainer aircraft which they use today. Besides RAF Fairford where they were initially based, they have also operated from RAF Kemble, in Gloucestershire, and then RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire from 1983.

Since the Team's creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have flown over 4,000 displays in 52 countries. Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world, acting as ambassadors for Great Britain when displaying overseas. They also support UK industry by demonstrating the capabilities of British equipment and expertise.

B-25 Mitchell.
Ejector Seat
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrow XX264
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrow XX264
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows Hawks
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows Hawks

All nine of the Red Arrows are fast jet pilots from frontline RAF Squadrons. To become a Red Arrows pilot they must have a minimum of 1,500 flying hours, completed a frontline tour, and be assessed as being above average in their flying role.They are also put through a selection process of flying tests, interviews, and peer assessments.

Each Red Arrows pilot usually stays with the Team for a three year tour of duty. This keeps a high level of experience within the Team. Three new pilots join every year and so there is always three first year pilots, three second year pilots, and three final year pilots. The Team Leader will be of at least Squadron Leader rank and have served a three year tour with the Red Arrows earlier in his career.

The Synchro Leader (Red 6) who is a third year pilot is allowed to choose Synchro 2 (Red 7). The following year Synchro 2 (Red 7) becomes Synchro Leader (Red 6) and he can then choose who will be Synchro 2 (red 7).

The 10th Red Arrow which is flown by the Road Manager provides commentry during the display. Red 10 also provides display co-ordination and is the Team's dedicated ground safety officer, making sure that conditions are suitable for a display. The 10th Hawk is also used for air to air photography of the rest of the team and can also be used as a spare aircraft.

B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows XX227
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows Hawks
B-25 Mitchell.
Hawk nose
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows Hawks
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows Hawks

The support team of the Red Arrows include the Team Manager, Road Manager (Red 10), Public Relations Manager, Public Relations Officer, two Engineering Officers, an Adjutant, and about 85 engineering technicians and other support staff. The Engineering Technicians wear royal blue flying suits and are called 'The Blues'.

During the seven-month winter training season, the Red Arrows' fleet of 13 Hawk aircraft is given an extensive overhaul. The aircraft are dismantled, inspected and tested in turn to make sure that any hidden faults or damage are repaired.

The 2012 Team consist of:
Red 1 - Squadron Leader Jim Turner (OC RAFAT)
Red 2 - Flight Lieutenant Martin Pert
Red 3 - Flight Lieutenant Mike Child
Red 4 - Flight Lieutenant Jim McMillan
Red 5 - Squadron Leader Martin Higgins
Red 6 & Synchro Leader - Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank
Red 7 & Synchro 2 - Flight Lieutenant Chris Lyndon-Smith
Red 8 & Executive Officer - Flight Lieutenant Dave Davies
Red 10 & Road Manager - Squadron Leader Martin Higgins
Team Manager - Squadron Leader Liz Parker
Senior Engineering Officer - Squadron Leader Ross Priday
Junior Engineering Officer - Flight Lieutenant Adam Littler
Adjutant - Warrant Officer Alan Murray BEM
Public Relations Manager - Emma Thomas.

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Stewart (Red 9) left the team at the beginning of 2012 and it was decided that the team would display with just seven aircraft instead of the usual nine to keep a symmetrical shape to the formation. During fly-pasts the Red Arrows will revert back to nine aircraft by including Flight Lieutenant Dave Davies (Red 8), and Squadron Leader Martin Higgins (Red 10).

Winter training begins after the last display of the season and all members of the squadron wear green flying suits and overalls. The flying starts with small formations of three or four aircraft as the new pilots learn the formation shapes. Each pilot flies three times a day, five days a week.The Red Arrows will not fly together as a formation of nine aircraft until February which is five months after the training began. Later to perfect their display they usually train in RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus because of the guaranteed blue skies. The training ends in May and they are assessed for their safety and professionalism.

B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows Hawks
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows XX264
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows XX264
B-25 Mitchell.
Ejector Seat
B-25 Mitchell.
Ejector Seat

The Red Arrows use the BAE Systems Hawk T1 aircraft which is the Royal Air Force's advanced trainer. The engine produces 5,200lbs of thrust and the top speed of the aircraft is Mach 1.2. It has a maximum altitude of 48,000ft and a range of 1,000nm. The Red Arrows aircraft are standard Hawk T1 aircraft with the exception of a smoke generation system and a slightly uprated engine.

The red, white, and blue smoke trails used by the Team is produced by injecting diesel into the exhaust and adding a coloured dye to produce the different colours. The diesel is stored in a pod underneath the Hawk aircraft which replaces the 30mm ADEN cannon. The pod contains a 50 gallon tank of pure diesel, and two 10 gallon tanks of blue and red dyed diesel.

During the display each aircraft can produce smoke for a maximum duration of seven minutes. This gives the pilot five minutes of white smoke, and one minute each of red and blue smoke. For this reason, a 'smoke plot' is worked out extremely carefully to ensure that no aircraft runs out of smoke before the end of the display.

These smoke trails are used mainly for flight safety reasons so the pilots can judge wind speed and direction whilst performing their displays. However, the effects of the trails also look good, enhancing the show for the audience on the ground.

The Red Arrows perform three types of display depending on the cloud base - full, rolling or flat. Ideally they need the cloud base to be over 5,500ft to perform a full display which allows them to carry out a full looping display. They perform a rolling display if the cloud base is lower than 5,500ft but higher than 2,500ft which involves wing-overs and rolls instead of loops. If the cloud base is below 2,500ft then they have to perform a flat display which is mainly flypasts and steep turns

B-25 Mitchell.
Hawk XX284
B-25 Mitchell.
Hangar
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows XX264
B-25 Mitchell.
Red Arrows XX264
photo by Simon Oldfield
Red Arrows XX266

Last year (2011) was a very sad year for the Red Arrows with the tragic loss of Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging (Red 4), and Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham (Red 5). We all look forward to watching the Red Arrows perform again in 2012 and wish them all a safe and enjoyable season.

         Thanks to Simon Oldfield for supplying the photographs for this article.

Links:
Official Red Arrows website.
RAF Scampton official website.