TWO spectacular joint fly-pasts featuring the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows have just been announced for next weekend’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds.
On Saturday, July 20, the world’s premier aerobatics display team will fly in formation with British Airways’ brand new Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft.
The giant, two-decked airliner is the first of 12 ordered by British Airways. It only arrived in the UK from Toulouse earlier this month. The airline’s new 469-seat A380 will begin flying to Los Angeles from September 24 and to Hong Kong from October 22.
On Sunday, July 21, the RAF Red Arrows will perform a fly-past with an Airbus Military A400M, the RAF’s future transport aircraft that is scheduled to replace the legendary C-130 Hercules when it enters service in 2015. The A400M was officially named ‘Atlas’ at a ceremony during last summer’s Air Tattoo.
RIAT chief executive Tim Prince said the announcement continues an Air Tattoo tradition that has seen iconic aircraft such as Concorde and the US Air Force’s F-117A take part in some of the most memorable joint fly-pasts ever seen in the UK.
He said: “The two fly-pasts are very much about highlighting ‘the best of British’. The Red Arrows apply the same commitment to precision, flexibility and speed to their incredible displays as the wider Royal Air Force does in delivering effective Air Power on operations around the world.”
Peter Nye, British Airways’ senior first officer who will be flying the airline’s A380 in the formation alongside three pilot colleagues, said: “We’re looking forward to producing this very British display for aviation fans at the Air Tattoo alongside the Red Arrows. A lot of careful planning has gone into the fly-past and we are sure it will be a real spectacle. And although only a handful of people get to experience what it’s like to fly as a Red Arrow, British Airways’ A380 will be open to everyone from September.”
Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader of The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said: “Flying in formation with the first British Airways Airbus A380 and also the Airbus Military A400M will be iconic moments for the Red Arrows in 2013 as well as for everyone watching the flight at the Air Tattoo. The event will tangibly showcase both British engineering and excellence, from the A380’s Rolls-Royce engines and hi-tech wing design, to the Red Arrows’ precision flying and our BAE Systems’ Hawk jets.”
Speaking about the A380, he added: “We are delighted to mark this special moment in British aviation history, with the A380 joining up with us for a fly-past before our planned display at RIAT. Flying in formation with such large aircraft is something the pilots enjoy and demonstrates the skills and abilities of all of the air and ground crews involved in making this happen.”
Officially formed in March 1965, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, has performed in 54 different countries. The team is flying with its traditional nine aircraft in 2013 – its 49th display season. As the public face of the RAF, the Red Arrows are ambassadors of Great Britain.
They assist in recruiting into the RAF, contribute to defence diplomacy when displaying overseas and support wider British interests through the promotion of the country’s industry – demonstrating the capabilities of its equipment and expertise.
Tim Prince added: “For the Red Arrows to team up with the world’s greatest airline and the world’s latest military airlifter can only mean one thing; Air Tattoo audiences are is in for a spectacular treat on July 20-21.”
The Royal International Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford on July 20-21. Admission starts from £40. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, visit airtattoo.com. All under-16s go free. Free parking.