Flying the distinctive Hawk jets, which flew off the production line at Dunsfold Aerodrome in 1974 in the hands of Duncan Simpson, the Hawk is the Royal Air Force’s advanced trainer and has been used by the Red Arrows since 1979. The squadron is renowned across the world for displaying a nine-ship formation of the British-built fast-jets.
The display is the result of nearly eight months' intensive training each year, the majority of this completed during the winter months at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire. Three of the display pilots are brand new to the team for 2017 – Flight Lieutenants Toby Keeley, Dan Lowes and Chris Lyndon-Smith. Chris returns for a second tour with the Red Arrows and will fly this season as Red 5. Toby and Dan will form up on either side of Red 1, flying as Reds 2 and 3. Typically, air crew spend three years as a Red Arrows pilot. Each of the pilots has fast-jet operational experience flying the Tornado or the Typhoon.
The first half of the Red Arrows’ display consists of synchronised, formation aerobatics, followed by a more dynamic second half. Reds 1 to 5 form the front section of the team’s formation, known as Enid, and Reds 6 to 9 make up the rear part, called Gypo. The Synchro Pair, Reds 6 and 7, perform the highly-popular opposition manoeuvres during the latter section of the show. During a display, Red 10 acts as the team’s Supervisor who maintains two-way radio contact with the Team Leader. He also provides the informative and entertaining commentary.
Jamie McAllister, Event Director comments: “The Red Arrows are a cherished national symbol and we are thrilled they are headlining Wings & Wheels this year. Their precision and incredible aerobatics make for a spectacular display to watch and are always a huge hit with our visitors.”