Pre-season training enters final phase

Training for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team’s forthcoming season is stepping up a gear with a move overseas.

The Red Arrows’ jets departed the United Kingdom today, to begin an intensive final phase of preparations for this summer’s campaign.

Known as Exercise Springhawk, this annual training period makes full use of more settled, fine weather in Greece to perfect and polish the team’s display, which will be seen by millions of people this year.

The Red Arrows departed RAF Scampton for pre-season training.
The Red Arrows departed RAF Scampton for pre-season training.

Up to 15 full shows will be completed each week by the Red Arrows during the deployment to the Hellenic Air Force base Tanagra – testing the pilots, engineers and support staff.

Squadron Leader Martin Pert, Red 1 and Team Leader, is responsible for coordinating the training and display routine.

He said: “Exercise Springhawk is an extremely valuable training period for the entire Red Arrows team and allows us to focus on the detailed preparations needed to display for the public at home and overseas.

“Coupled with the good weather, the various display locations at and around Tanagra provide the opportunity for us to replicate the conditions and scenarios we will encounter throughout the 2019 season.

The jets will be away from the UK for four weeks.
The jets will be away from the UK for four weeks.

“The exercise is a key moment in the Red Arrows’ calendar, bringing together all of the training we have carried out so far in the UK and aiming to make us show-ready for the summer.

“We are, once again, very grateful to the Hellenic Air Force, the personnel at Tanagra, the local community and the British Embassy in Athens for their support.”

The Red Arrows’ BAE Systems Hawk T1 aircraft left RAF Scampton, the team’s base in Lincolnshire, this morning.

They are expected to arrive at HAF Tanagra tomorrow, after refuelling in France and an overnight stop in Croatia this evening.

The aircraft in transit on the way to Exercise Springhawk.
The aircraft in transit on the way to Exercise Springhawk

The Greek location will be base for the next four weeks, for both the jets and the team’s air and ground crews.

Training during Exercise Springhawk is a prelude to the Red Arrows being assessed by senior RAF officers, who determine when to grant Public Display Authority (PDA).

Gaining PDA signals the formal start of the season.

In 2019, the Red Arrows are set to perform displays throughout the UK in June and July as well as touring North America from August.

As well as the pilots, engineers and support staff are travelling to Greece.
As well as the pilots, engineers and support staff are travelling to Greece.

The deployment to the US and Canada – which will involve shows coast-to-coast – will be the team’s biggest ever tour of the region and support British interests across business, trade, defence and education.

For more information about the team, including display dates and venues, follow @rafredarrows on Twitter, see the latest images posted on Instagram by following @rafredarrows, like RAF Red Arrows on Facebook or visit www.raf.mod.uk/reds

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