Red Arrows Start Pre-Season Training in Cyprus

  • Apr 1, 2014 7:31pm GMT

Military jet teams across the world spend months focused on pre-season training ensuring their dramatic displays are thrilling and safe.

The British Red Arrows escaped the foggy weather in RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire and headed to Cyprus to prepare for their 50th anniversary season.

(Press Release) The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, landed safely in sunny skies Tuesday at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.

For the next two months, the Team will operate from the base as training is completed for its 50th display season.

The pilots and their Circus engineers – who fly in the back seats of the Red Arrows’ Hawk jets – set off from their home at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, Monday.

After refuelling in Lyon, France, the 12 jets landed in Bari, Italy, yesterday afternoon and spent the night there.

They departed from there early this morning, and after stopping again to refuel, took off from Iraklion, Greece, earlier Tuesday to continue their journey to Cyprus.

Both military and civilian staff at the unit were out to watch the landing, as were many excited children.

Travelling with the pilots were the 2014 Circus members, engineers selected from the Squadron to accompany the jets on the transits throughout the practice and display season.

Sergeant Kevin Smith, Circus Leader, said: “This was one of our first transits with the jets as the 2014 Circus.

“We’ve all travelled with the engineering road teams before and serviced the jets in the UK and overseas, however to have been with the jets all through the transit has been an amazing experience.The view of the red jets as we flew across the white, snow-covered, Alps was stunning."

“The new tailfin design on the jets, which is marking the 50th display season, looked particularly impressive against that backdrop.”

Some of the Squadron’s engineers and support staff were already at RAF Akrotiri ahead of the jets’ arrival to ensure everything was in place.

They were at the landing to greet the pilots and engineers.

Over the next two months, the Team strive to add the finishing touches to their performance. The Team has visited Cyprus for pre-season training since 1979.

The team are accompanied by key members of the Squadron to enable them to operate normally out of a host station.

The Red Arrows will return and carry out their first UK display at Falmouth on May 31.

This year is the Red Arrows’ 50th display season and, to celebrate the occasion, the Team’s fleet of jets has received a new look.

A striking Union flag design has been unveiled on the tailfins of each of the Hawk aircraft – marking the biggest change to the livery of the jets in the Team’s history.

Ever since their first performance in 1965, the Red Arrows have promoted the excellence of the Royal Air Force and its skilled, well-trained people. The Red Arrows also assist in recruiting, contribute to defence diplomacy when overseas and support wider UK interests and industry.