Red Arrows News

2021 Red Arrows season comes to a close

A spectacular Red Arrows display year has finished in style with a show over the UK’s newest aircraft carrier.

The last public performance in the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team’s 57th season took place this week.

It saw the Red Arrows carry out a show over Portsmouth, to coincide with HMS Prince of Wales hosting a major defence, security, trade and technology summit known as the Pacific Future Forum.

The Red Arrows' final 2021 display, over Portsmouth.
The Red Arrows' final 2021 display, over Portsmouth.

The 2021 season was the first as Red 1 for Squadron Leader Tom Bould.

The Team Leader said: “It’s been a display season that has allowed the Red Arrows to reconnect with people everywhere – groups largely starved of airshows and big events in the previous 12 months due to the pandemic.

“As a team, we’ve been overwhelmed with the feedback on our new display and colourful flypasts, which have been performed at a variety of shows and for communities across the United Kingdom.

Sqn Ldr Tom Bould - Red 1 for 2021.
Sqn Ldr Tom Bould - Red 1 for 2021.

 “This saw families, once again, come together and enjoy an exciting display, world-class teamwork and the inspiration of aviation.

“For the Red Arrows, seeing this response makes the months of training and focus on our task very worthwhile.”

The Red Arrows’ latest season got underway in May and, despite some events still impacted by Covid restrictions, featured a busy programme at home and overseas.

The Red Arrows returning to RAF Scampton in style after a display.
The Red Arrows returning to RAF Scampton in style after a display.

It included a return to huge shows, such as the Bournemouth Air Festival – attended by more than 800,000 people – for the first time in some years.

Audiences got to see a new display, featuring fresh manoeuvres, including the arena-filling Boomerang, and the Big Vixen Roll, with all nine jets just six feet apart while rolling upside down.

There was also recognition of the dedication of the NHS and key workers, with an all-blue smoke trail present in the Slalom move.

In 2021, the Red Arrows' display featured a combination of new moves and classic shapes.
In 2021, the Red Arrows' display featured a combination of new moves and classic shapes.

As well as the aerobatic displays, the season had other classic Red Arrows ingredients too.

For example, there was an exciting mixed-formation – joining the RAF’s submarine-hunter, the Poseidon MRA (P-8A), over RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, in July.

The season had important flypasts too, such as that over Normandy, France, to honour the unveiling of a new memorial to British personnel who took part in D-Day.

The Poseidon is flanked by the Red Arrows over Scotland.
The Poseidon is flanked by the Red Arrows over Scotland.

Aerial salutes in Northern Ireland and Cardiff marked Armed Forces Day’ and the Battle of Britain anniversary respectively.

Participants at the Great North Run also got to see the jets this year, as the Red Arrows carried out a flypast above Newcastle.

And millions of people, either in-person or via television coverage, saw high-profile performances for the G7 summit of world leaders in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, and over Wembley for the Euro 2020 final.

Over Wembley - the Red Arrows perform a flypast for the Euro 2020 final.
Over Wembley - the Red Arrows perform a flypast for the Euro 2020 final.

There was also opportunity to promote UK interests during displays further afield, in Estonia, Poland, Belgium and Malta.

Plus, a visit to the United Arab Emirates not only celebrated the country’s 50th anniversary but also supported the UK’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai.

In all, there were 37 public displays and 22 major flypasts.

Families came back together in 2021 to enjoy airshows and events.
Families came back together in 2021 to enjoy airshows and events.

Sqn Ldr Bould said: “The whole team – whether pilots, engineers or support staff – has worked hard to ensure the Red Arrows have performed a dynamic season.

“However, the most rewarding aspect from 2021 has not just been the display flying but the opportunity to return to meeting people in-person and sharing their genuine joy and excitement.

“To every person who came to an airshow, experienced a flypast, turned up to see a landing at a local airfield, smiled as the jets passed overhead or simply shared their images on social media – thank you.”

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