Red Arrows unveil 50th season livery

The Red Arrows unveiled a new tailfin design to celebrate their 50th display season at their home at RAF Scampton near Lincoln.

The makeover is the most significant change to the look of the team’s aircraft in its history.

All of the team’s jets are receiving the fresh look, although their red and white fuselage remains unchanged.

Designed by the Air Media Centre at RAF High Wycombe, the tailfin design features outlines of both aircraft types as a tribute to the Team’s heritage and current operations.

In the shape of a Union flag, the new tail design emphasises the Red Arrows’ role as ambassadors for the United Kingdom and as the public face of the Royal Air Force.

The new scheme will be flown throughout the Team’s 2014 display season, which begins at the end of May and runs until September.

Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader and Red 1, who revealed the tailfin at a ceremony on February 18, had input into the design.

He said: “The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, are extremely proud of our heritage and we hope this tailfin design brings with it a sense of pride for both past members of the Team and for members of the public to share in.

“I wanted a design created that reflected the very British soul of the Red Arrows while keeping it simple and achievable in terms of both time and cost.

“Repainting the entire aircraft would have taken too long and been too costly and I think the balance has been struck perfectly.

“The Red Arrows capture both the spirit of British excellence and the quality of its engineering and I hope we are able to continue inspiring young people to join the Royal Air Force in the future.”

50th display season

This year will be the 50th display season for the Red Arrows, whose motto is Eclat – meaning excellence.

Since that first performance in May 1965, millions of people all around the world have seen the team’s trademark precision flying, formations, close-passes and dynamic loops and rolls.

The team originally flew Gnat jets but switched to the BAE Systems Hawk, which it still flies today since the 1980 season.

Squadron Leader Turner added: “We hope to entertain the public with a programme of 85 displays this year in nine different countries and hope the quality of the display lives up to the finest traditions of past teams.”

The nine display pilots come from frontline squadrons and are experienced officers in the Royal Air Force.

Each has previously operated other fast jets, such as the Tornado or the Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft.

There is also 120 support staff in the Red Arrows, including operations and flight planners, engineering technicians, photographers, safety equipment experts, drivers, a public relations department, suppliers and administrators.