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Britain’s RAF Red Arrows to Tour North American Airshows in 2019

Britain's Red Arrows will perform at air shows across North America this summer. (RAF)

Britain’s Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team announced today they will perform at air show sites across the United States and Canada during a nine-week visit in the summer of 2019.

Nicknamed the Red Arrows, their nine BAE Systems’ Hawk T1 Mk1 jets will demonstrate above the Americas this August and September. Around ten air show locations and fly-bys will be announced in a few months as the host locations.

The tour, code named Western Hawk 19, will also see the Red Arrows fly with military and civilian aerobatic teams, including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Canadian Snowbirds. The squadron is popular for their Diamond Nine shape formation and close formation maneuvers.

The Red Arrows 55th anniversary season will begin in May with show dates in the United Kingdom. The team will spend about ten days preparing themselves and the jets for their trip across the Atlantic in July.

The RAF Red Arrows and USAF Thunderbirds performed together over the U.K. in July 2017. (RAF)

The Red Arrows’ 2019 season begins with their 4,961st display in the team’s history which dates back to 1965. Their 5,000th event may take place in August during their North America tour.

“The Red Arrows’ pilots, engineers, and support staff have been delighted to support numerous events promoting science, technology, engineering, and maths – helping to inspire the next generation of RAF personnel,” Wing Commander Andrew Keith said this week. “We look forward to building on the success of 2018, flying the flag, and promoting the UK in 2019.”

The squadron concluded their 2018 season on October 12, having visited 60 show sites across the U.K. and Europe. The team also spent this past summer celebrating the Royal Air Force’s 100 anniversary year.

“After an incredible year celebrating RAF100, it seems only fitting that the Red Arrows prepare to illuminate the skies of our closest allies in 2019, celebrating and strengthening our incredible relationship with the U.S.,” Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Sunday.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team Red Arrows’ Hawk T1 jets perform inverted in 2018. (RAF)

Winter training for the Red Arrows’ 2019 season officially begin this week following a two-week break for its pilots to allow the maintenance crews time to prepare the jets. The team will also welcome a few new pilots to the team for next year.

“The first half of the Red Arrows’ display consists of synchronized, formation aerobatics, followed by a more dynamic second half,” Keith said. “Red (Arrows) 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.”

He added, “The Synchro Pair, Reds 6 and 7, perform the highly-popular opposition maneuvers during this 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 (and) provides the commentary.”

The squadron is based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire in central England.

(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)

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Charles Atkeison

Written by Charles Atkeison

Charles A Atkeison is a long time aerospace journalist having covered both military and civilian aviation, plus 30 space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral. He has produced multimedia aerospace content for CNN, London's Sky News, radio, print, and the web for twenty years. From flying with his father at age 5 to soaring as a VIP recently with the Navy's Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds, Charles continues to enjoy all aspects of flight.

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