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RIAT 2017 - Air Tattoo serves up Midnight feast

Making a welcome return to the Air Tattoo 13 years after their last appearance, the Finnish Air Force Midnight Hawks will be bringing a Nordic flavour to the airshow this summer.

The fourth national aerobatic team to confirm its participation after the RAF Red Arrows, US Air Force Thunderbirds and Switzerland's Patrouille Suisse, the Midnight Hawks will participate in the event with its formation of four British Aerospace Hawk Mk.51 jet trainers.

The Midnight Hawks were founded in 1997, making this the team's 20th anniversary. All of the formation's pilots are instructors from Havittajalentolaivue 41, the Finnish Air Force's fighter training school based at Kauhava. Leading this year will be Capt Marc Fuss. The team's name is a reference to the midnight sun, which shines across much of Finland during the high summer months.

Like the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, the Midnight Hawks' mount is the BAE (now BAE Systems) Hawk. Finland ordered the type in 1978, with first deliveries in 1980. The Finnish Air Force's initial batches were built locally under licence by the Patria firm; it has since acquired further examples, including some from the Swiss Air Force, and retired some of the older Hawks.