At 1242 today 9 Red Arrows Hawks took off from RAF Scampton for the first 9 Ship Display Practice for the 2016 Season. It was the first time 9 Aircraft have flown together this year and the only previous 9 Ships in the winter training programme for 2016 have been for flypasts, one for the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium and the other over Westminster Palace for the visit of the Indian Prime Minister. The last of those flypasts the Red Arrows used Orange, Green & White Smoke for the colours of the Indian Flag, it may be the first time that has been done, certainly the first time in recent years they have changed from the iconic Red White & Blue. Anyway I digress, as usual, so here is the moment they came over the brow of the Runway.
In this game you are never 100% sure of anything until they are up in the air so it was a joy to see 9 Jets come over the brow of the hill. They did a full length Display Practice with a Flat Second Half. The weather was nearly perfect, some good strong light and the only complaint was the lack of wind, something I would not normally moan about but it meant that the Reds were constantly flying through there old smoke making photos rather Hazy at times. However it was very enjoyable to see and we were delighted that they managed to have 9 Jets serviceable after struggling the last few weeks with Maintenance Issues, meaning they often went up with less Jets than planned and meant they missed the occasional Friday to give the Blues time to work on the Jets.
For me the Hero’s are the ones you don’t see, well if we do they are “Back Seaters,” I am of cause talking about the Blues who work extremely hard by all accounts to give the Reds as many Jets as possible. I believe they have 14 Jets on the books but I could be wrong. During the winter they have to do a deep Service on all the Jets as well as deal with the inevitable snags that mount up with such an intensive practice schedule. The Dye Teams are great as well, making sure they get the Jets full of Dye which must be more difficult at times the Reds have less Jets to choose from.
For those of you that could not be there for “1st 9 Ship Day” I have uploaded a video for you of the last sortie today, the 2nd 9 Ship so you can at least watch that, unfortunately I photographed the 1st instead of filming it due to great light. The link for the video for you to watch/share is here: https://youtu.be/kbr9enc1o2U