Olympic sprinter races Red Arrows jet for new TV show

A British Olympic sprinter challenged one of Lincolnshire’s own Red Arrows jets to demonstrate the science of acceleration and speed for a new ITV television show.

Adam Gemili ran side-by-side with an aircraft from the Royal Air Force aerobatic team, based at RAF Scampton near Lincoln, as the jet took off from a runway.

Cameras filmed the action at  the Lincolnshire home of the Red Arrows for ITV’s It’s Not Rocket Science show.

The new six-part series, which begins on Tuesday, February 16 at 8pm, celebrates science, technology, engineering and maths through big-scale experiments and demonstrations.

Presenter Ben Miller straps into a jet from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, at RAF Scampton, watched by Red 7, Flight Lieutenant Tom Bould, for ITV’s new show, It’s Not Rocket Science. Picture by Corporal Steve Buckley, MoD/Crown Copyright 2016.

Presenter Ben Miller straps into a jet from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, at RAF Scampton, watched by Red 7, Flight Lieutenant Tom Bould, for ITV’s new show, It’s Not Rocket Science. Picture by Corporal Steve Buckley, MoD/Crown Copyright 2016.

It’s Not Rocket Science is fronted by actor Ben Miller, stand up comedian Romesh Ranganathan and presenter Rachel Riley, all of whom share a passion for the subject.

The presenters visited RAF Scampton as part of the filming, which coincided with existing, planned training sorties by the Red Arrows.

Romesh Ranganathan, who taught mathematics before becoming a stand-up comedian, said: “It’s Not Rocket Science one of the most exciting shows I’ve worked on. We’re doing some things that I think people are going to be genuinely amazed by.”

The television show explains the science of thrust and power of the jet compared to the sprinter’s explosive start and acceleration.

ITV came to RAF Scampton over several days to film the new tv program "Its Not Rocket Science". British 200m runner Adam Gemili raced a Red Arrows Hawk aircraft over a 100m distance. Presenters Romesh and Rachel Riley watched from the side of the runway. Image created by SAC Gina Edgcumbe

ITV came to RAF Scampton over several days to film the new tv program “Its Not Rocket Science”. British 200m runner Adam Gemili raced a Red Arrows Hawk aircraft over a 100m distance. Presenters Romesh and Rachel Riley watched from the side of the runway.
Image created by SAC Gina Edgcumbe

Adam Gemili, who competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games and is a world junior and European U23 100-metre champion, ran on a specially-constructed track, at a safe distance from the Red Arrows’ Hawk jet, taking off from the runway at RAF Scampton.

In the rear seat of the aircraft, which was being flown on a training sortie, was comedian and actor Ben Miller, who previously studied at Cambridge University for a PhD in solid state.

Presenter Ben Miller in the backseat of a jet from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, at RAF Scampton, for ITV’s new show, It’s Not Rocket Science. Picture by Corporal Steve Buckley, MoD/Crown Copyright 2016.

Presenter Ben Miller in the backseat of a jet from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, at RAF Scampton, for ITV’s new show, It’s Not Rocket Science. Picture by Corporal Steve Buckley, MoD/Crown Copyright 2016.

As a passenger in the jet, the presenter was able to explain in more detail about the science involved in the demonstration of man versus machine.

Flying the aircraft was Red 7, Flight Lieutenant Tom Bould, who is entering his second year as a pilot with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

He said: “Just like the demonstration in ITV’s new show, the Red Arrows showcase the best of science, technology, engineering and maths in a tangible and exciting way every time we display for the public.

“That’s why, as a team, we were delighted to host the film crew and Adam Gemili, to hopefully inspire others to think about what they could achieve using these important subjects.

“Viewers will have to watch the show to see how Adam and our jet performed on the day but, regardless of the outcome, it was a wonderful demonstration of the best of British.”

As part of the filming, viewers also get to understand more about the technical work that goes into keeping the Red Arrows in the air.

The aerobatic team has more than 100 support personnel, including highly-trained mechanical engineers, avionics specialists and weapons technicians.

In the film, Rachel Riley, who has a Masters Degree in mathematics from Oxford University and is resident mathematician on Channel 4 series Countdown, meets the team’s engineers and finds out about the performance of the BAE Systems Hawk T1, flown by the Red Arrows.

The team is currently training hard for the 2016 display programme, which is expected to begin at the end of April and will be the Red Arrows’ 52nd season.

The Red Arrows and Adam Gemili film is shown in the first episode of It’s Not Rocket Science on ITV at 8pm on Tuesday, February 16.