The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows fly nine BAE SYSTEMS Hawk T. Mk.1
advanced trainer aircraft. They
are currently based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
There is actually a 10th Red Arrow which is flown by
the Team Manager who provides commentry during the display. The 10th Hawk is also used for air to air
photography of the rest of the team. During international tours, the Red Arrows have been used to market the BAE Systems
Hawk to overseas customers with considerable success.
The Red Arrows display team was formed in 1965 using the Folland Gnat. Previously the team was called
the Yellow Jacks because of the colour of the Gnat. However in 1965 the Gnat was painted red and the team
changed their name to the Red Arrows. The very first display by the Red Arrows was on the 6th May 1965 at RAF Little Rissington, near Cirencester where they were introduced to the media. The first public display was at Clermont Ferrand in France on 9th May 1965 and the first UK public display was at Biggin Hill on 15th May 1965.
The Red Arrows were initially based at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire,
and had only seven display pilots. By 1968 the team flew with nine aircraft and the Diamond Nine formation
became their trademark.
Below are two photos showing the new Red Arrows 2008 colour scheme - Photos by Jason Phelan:
In 1979/80 the Red Arrows converted to the BAe Hawk advanced trainer aircraft which they use today.
Until early 1976 the Red Arrows operated from RAF Kemble as a detachment of the Central Flying School (CFS) based at RAF Little Rissington. CFS moved to Cranwell in April 1976 and, thereafter, the Red Arrows were parented by RAF Brize Norton although they continued to fly from Kemble. They were
based here up until the Spring of 1983 when they re-located to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. In 1995 they had to
temporarily move to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire because RAF Scampton was closed in 1995 as part of the Defence
Costs Study. The Red Arrows returned home to RAF Scampton in December of 2000.
RAF Scampton will continue to be a satellite airfield administered by RAF Cranwell.
The team's first leader was Lee Jones who passed the leadership to Ray Hanna in 1966. Ray led the
Red Arrows for four seasons and went on to become the best known UK warbird display pilot.
The Red Arrows do not fly directly over the crowd below 1000 feet. Manoeuvres in front of and parallel to the crowd can be flown down to 200 feet. The Synchro Pair are allowed down to 100 feet in straight and level flight in front of and parallel to the crowd line. Inverted flight by the Synchro pilots is not below 150 feet above the ground. These and other restrictions virtually eliminate the possibility of an accident similar to the one at Ramstein some years ago.
In 2010, Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore became the first female Red Arrows pilot. Flt Lt Moore joined the RAF in 1998, becoming a Hawk instructor and then Tornado pilot. She is not the first woman to apply for the Red Arrows, but she was the first to be shortlisted and then selected.
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).
Red Arrows Team Pilots for the 2013 season:
Red 1 - Squadron Leader Jim Turner
Red 2 - Flight Lieutenant Ollie Parr
Red 3 - Flight Lieutenant Mark Lawson
Red 4 - Flight Lieutenant Martin Pert
Red 5 -Flight Lieutenant Steve Morris
Red 6 - Flight Lieutenant Chris Lyndon-Smith
Red 7 - Flight Lieutenant James McMillan
Red 8 - Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank
Red 9 - Flight Lieutenant Mike Child
Red 10 Squadron Leader Mike Ling
Wing Commander Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - Wing Commander Neil Fraser
Team Manager - Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton
Senior Engineering Officer - Squadron Leader Ross Priday
Junior Engineering Officer - Flight Lieutenant Adam Littler
Officer Commanding Engineering Support Flight - Flight Lieutenant Rob Staveley
Red Arrows Team Pilots for the 2012 season:
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