RAF Red Arrows unveil new tailfin for 50th display season
A NEW tailfin design has been unveiled on jets of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, to celebrate its 50th display season.
The makeover is the most significant change to the look of the Team's famous aircraft in its history.
In the shape of a Union flag, the striking new tail design reflects the Best of British and emphasises the Red Arrows' role as ambassadors for the United Kingdom and as the public face of the Royal Air Force.
The new tail is in celebration of the Red Arrows' 50th display season in 2014 and was unveiled today at the Team's home - RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
All of the Team's jets are receiving the fresh look, although their iconic red and white fuselage remains unchanged.
Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader and Red 1, who revealed the tailfin at this morning's ceremony, 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 that 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 captures 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."
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 been thrilled with the Team's trademark precision flying, impressive 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, for the 1980 season.
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.
The new scheme will be flown throughout the Team's 2014 display season, which begins at the end of May and runs until the close of September.
Squadron Leader Turner said: "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. Eclat."
Ever since their first performance, the Red Arrows have promoted the excellence of the Royal Air Force and its skilled, well-trained people.
The Red Arrows assist in recruiting, contribute to defence diplomacy when displaying overseas and support wider UK interests and industry.
The Team consist of nine display pilots, all of whom are 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 - helping the Royal Air Force in its work to protect the nation and its interests at all hours, 365-days a year.
There is 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.
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