The Hawk Aircraft
The dual control BAE Systems Hawk T1 is the Royal Air Force’s advanced trainer, and has been used by the Red Arrows since 1979, replacing the Folland Gnat. The Hawk’s Rolls Royce Adour engine produces 5,200lbs of thrust and can power the aircraft to a top speed of Mach 1.2. The aircraft has a maximum altitude of 48,000 ft and fuel capacity gives a range of 1,000 nm, making most of the world accessible apart from New Zealand. The aircraft are essentially the same as those flown by Advanced Flying Training students at Royal Air Force Valley, with the exception of smoke generation modifications and a slightly uprated engine which gives a faster response time. The smoke generation system pumps diesel mixed with appropriately coloured dye into the jet exhaust to produce the colourful vapour trails that the Red Arrows are famous for. These trails are used mainly for flight safety reasons so the pilots can judge wind speed and direction whilst performing their displays. However, the effects of the trails also look good, enhancing the show for the audience on the ground. Each aircraft can carry enough diesel and dye to create five minutes of white smoke, one minute of red and one minute of blue during the display.