Red Arrows: what is a flypast, who flies them and what jets

Red Arrows will perform as part of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

The Red Arrows are among the most famous aircraft in the world.

The famous RAF jets have performed far and wide in the UK and around the world.

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But how much do you actually know about the Red Arrows?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is a flyby?

The Red Arrows often conduct flybys and demonstrations.

But what does that actually mean?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is: “an occasion on which a group of aircraft fly in a special pattern as part of a ceremony.”

Overflights are often associated with royal or state events, anniversaries, celebrations – and occasionally funeral or memorial services.

It is the same as an overpass as the term is used in the United States.

When were the Red Arrows formed and what do they do?

The official name for the Red Arrows is Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – but the nickname comes from the color of the jets used.

It is the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Team.

The team was formed in late 1964, replacing the then unofficial display teams.

Almost 60 years later, the Red Arrows are one of the world’s leading aerobatic teams.

Where are the Red Arrows stationed?

The Red Arrows are currently based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

They first moved to the base in 1983 but in 1995 the Jets moved to RAF Cranwell some 20 miles away due to the mothballing of RAF Scampton.

The Red Arrows returned to RAF Scampton in 2000 when the base reopened.

However, RAF Scampton is set to close – the Ministry of Defense announced in 2018 that the base would be closed with a 2022 closure date.

When the base closes the Red Arrows will relocate to RAF Waddington and remain in Lincolnshire.

Red Arrows. (Photo by HENNING BAGGER/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

What planes are the Red Arrows?

The Red Arrows themselves are distinctive Hawk fast jets – the BAE Systems Hawk T1.

They are the same jets used for advanced pilot training and they have two seats.

The jets are modified to allow the aircraft to produce the signature red, white, and blue smoke associated with the Red Arrows.

Originally the Folland Gnat was used for the display team but was replaced by the Hawk jets in 1978.

Who is allowed to fly the Red Arrows?

Since 1996, the Red Arrows team has consisted of nine display pilots, all of whom are volunteers.

The pilots complete a three-year tour with the Red Arrows and then return to other roles in the RAF.

The team consists of three first-year pilots, three second-year pilots and three third-year pilots.

In order to volunteer for the Red Arrows, pilots must have completed one or more tours and have flown fast jets such as the Tornado, Harrier or Typhoon.

Kirsty Murphy became the Red Arrows’ first female pilot in 2009.

Who are the “Blues”?

The Red Arrows are supported by a team of 85 engineers known as the “Blues”.

It is made up of members from various RAF technical and support professions.