The Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows Begin Their North American Tour

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The team readies to depart from their home base at RAF Scampton on August 5th.

It’s mid-summer in 2019, and the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows flight demonstration team has embarked on Exercise Western Hawk – a weeks-long tour of North America, mixing full air show performances with flyovers and appearances on the ground. The following is information from a series of media releases describing why the effort has been made, and what is hoped to be accomplished between early August through early October.

“With a combination of dynamic displays, iconic flypasts and inspiring ground activities, the Red Arrows are on a major tour of North America.

It is the biggest-ever visit by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team to Canada and the United States and the first to the two countries in more than a decade.

The tour aims to promote the best of British and deepen partnerships with close friends and allies.

The 11 week deployment is an indication of the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity and extensive security cooperation.

With stops across the continent, the tour comprises aerobatic displays, flypasts of well-known landmarks and dozens of ground engagements – from business receptions to sessions highlighting the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects to young people.

Each show is a demonstration of creativity, engineering excellence and innovation – not just hallmarks of the Red Arrows and RAF but of the proven capabilities, strengths and skills of the UK.

Moreover, the tour provides chance to celebrate and enhance international trade and investment between the UK, Canada and the US, worth more than £208 billion in 2018.

This activity develops a longstanding, successful record of the Red Arrows supporting the GREAT Britain Campaign – highlighting opportunities across business, education and tourism. For more information visit https://www.great.gov.uk/international/

To follow updates of the tour online, use #redarrowstour on Twitter or Instagram and like the Red Arrows’ Facebook page.”

Exercise Western Hawk’s support transport, a Royal Air Force  Airbus A400M Atlas

Tour stats

  • More than 20 displays
  • 98 separate ground engagements
  • 11 years since the Red Arrows last visited North America
  • 108 people on tour, including pilots, engineers and support staff
  • 12 Red Arrows Hawk aircraft and 1 Atlas A400M RAF transport aircraft

  • The Red Arrows’ Hawk T1 jets will be flown to North America over three days.
  • This is because, as primarily training aircraft, they were not intended to refuel in the air and do not have the range to make the transatlantic crossing in one sortie.
  • After leaving the team’s base of RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, UK, they will be flown via several stops, including airfields in Scotland, Iceland and Greenland, before reaching Canada and eventually Halifax – the first major location of the tour.

Here is a list, current as of August 8, 2019, of the appearances planned in North America. Notes include whether their appearances are displays, flyovers, or otherwise:

August 7 – 13  Halifax, Nova Scotia, with  flypast on August 11th

August 13 Ottawa, Ontario, flypast

August 13 Ottawa, Ontario – Gatineau, Quebec, air show

August 14 – 18 Chicago, Illinois, air shows on 8/17 and 8/18

August 19 Boston, Massachusetts, flypast Boston Harbor

August 21 Atlantic City, New Jersey, air show on the Boardwalk

August 22 – 25 New York City, New York, air show at Stewart NY on 8/24 and 8/25, flypast The Hamptons on 8/24

August 25 – 28 Washington, District of Columbia

August 28 Niagara Falls, New York, flypast?

August 28 – September 5 Toronto, Ontario, air show on 8/31, 9/1 and 9/2

September 5 Dayton, Ohio

September 6 – 9 St. Louis, Missouri, air show 09/7 and 09/8 Spirit of St. Louis air show and STEM Expo

September 9 – 16 Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas,  9/11 event in Houston Texas

September 17 – 18 Denver, Colorado

September 18 – 23 Portland, Oregon, air show 9/20, 9/21 and 9/22

September 23 – 24 Seattle, Washington

September 24 – 27 Vancouver British Columbia, 9/26 flypasts Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia

September 27 – 29 San Diego, California, Miramar air show

October 1-2 San Francisco, California

October 2 Long Beach, California

October 4-6 Los Angeles/Huntington Beach, California, air show 

October 10 Rapid City, South Dakota

Part of another press release detailing a visit to Boston, Massachusetts, explains: 

” The Red Arrows departed for Canada and the United States on 5 August, and will visit more than 25 North American cities across their 11-week deployment. Their tour aims to promote the best of British culture while supporting UK trade, business, and defence. While in Boston, the Red Arrows will also take part in events promoting STEM education.

Harriet Cross, Her Majesty’s Consul General to New England, said: “I am delighted the Red Arrows are coming to New England as part of their North American tour. Their aerial display over the skies of Boston will be a unique and quite breath-taking spectacle. The Red Arrows represent the best of British innovation and engineering. I look forward to the pilots and engineers engaging with the people of Boston who I hope will be inspired by what they see and hear.”

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “Tours by the Red Arrows have always been an important role of the team – aiming to demonstrate RAF expertise, helping to highlight UK excellence across a range of sectors and celebrating close connections with friends and allies.

 

 

“With the Red Arrows headed to North America, and more tour locations being released, all of us in the team hope people across Canada and the United States will be able to join us in the coming weeks and enjoy one of our displays, flypasts or events.”

It is the first time the Red Arrows have visited North America since 2008, and the deployment will be the most ambitious tour of Canada and the United States ever undertaken by the team. The tour is an indication of the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity, and extensive security cooperation in the region.

With stops across the continent, the tour comprises a combination of nearly 20 aerobatic displays, several iconic flypasts and 100 separate ground engagement activities – from business receptions to sessions aimed at inspiring young people.

Each show is a demonstration of creativity, engineering excellence and innovation – not just hallmarks of the Red Arrows and RAF but of the proven capabilities, strengths and skills of the UK.

Moreover, the tour provides chance to celebrate and enhance international trade and investment between the UK, Canada and the US, worth more than £208 billion in 2018. “

The Red Arrows have been in existence since 1964, when a number of Royal Air Force flight demonstration teams were merged into one. Originally using a front line jet trainer model known as the Folland Gnat, the team moved into their current Hawk trainers a few years later. Here is an official explanation of their duties:

Officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows showcase the excellence of the RAF and represent the United Kingdom both at home and overseas. The team consists of 11 pilots, nine of whom fly in the display, and more than 100 support personnel and technicians. Each of the pilots has previous fast-jet, operational experience flying the Tornado, Typhoon or Harrier, enabling the RAF to secure the skies and protect the nation and its interests, 365-days a year. One of the world’s premier aerobatic teams, the Red Arrows had completed nearly 5,000 displays, in 57 countries, by the beginning of 2019. Flying Hawk T1 jets, the team is based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

 

“Ex WESTERN HAWK is the first time the Red Arrows have been to North America since 2008 and the deployment will be the most ambitious tour of Canada and the United States ever undertaken by the team  going coast-to-coast.”

We at Photorecon.net and our other digital aviation magazines welcome the opportunity to showcase the Red Arrows later this year, as we cover various events where the team will be featured. Stay tuned here for more news about the team.

 

 

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Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 32 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site, and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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