A new television series takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team’s most ambitious overseas tour.
The four-part documentary follows the Red Arrows on a 22,000-mile journey across Canada and the United States – aimed at showcasing the best of British in North America.
Pictures and footage from the 11-week tour made headlines around the world earlier this year but this series explains how it was done and the challenges overcome.
Called Red Arrows Take America, the first episode will be broadcast on Channel 5 on January 8 at 9pm.
The series is made by MultiStory Media, part of ITV Studios.
Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: "A significant role of the Red Arrows is to be ambassadors for a Global Britain – supporting important UK interests overseas such as trade, business and defence relationships.
“This activity was demonstrated during the team’s visit to North America, which was one of the biggest, most successful and far-reaching tours ever undertaken by the Red Arrows.
The new documentary offers the opportunity to see, in-detail, the world-class displays, flypasts and engagement activity carried out in Canada and the United States, and how the team represented both the UK and the RAF.
“A huge amount of teamwork, detailed planning and complex logistics went into conducting the tour and it was great to be joined by the MultiStory Media crew, who charted this massive endeavour across both flight and ground activity.
“We hope audiences enjoy watching the series and are able to learn more about the dedication and skill of the defence personnel and civilian agencies who delivered the Red Arrows’ North American tour.”
The tour of Canada and the United States took place between August and October this year and it was the first time the Red Arrows had visited the region since 2008.
Some 21 aerobatic displays were carried out, coast-to-coast, and 30 stunning flypasts completed, including over landmark locations, including New York, Niagara Falls and San Francisco.
Tens of millions of individuals watched the team perform and thousands were hosted at 120 associated ground events – many aimed at inspiring young people and promoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The first episode of the documentary joins the Red Arrows as final preparations are made for the tour.
At the team’s home base of RAF Scampton, technicians are shown working around-the-clock to ensure the distinctive BAE Systems Hawk T1 fast-jets are ready for the endeavour.
More than 100 people, including pilots, engineers, logistics and support staff, were needed to make the tour happen.
Each had a role to play in getting the 12 aircraft to North America, with refuelling stops in Scotland, Iceland, Greenland and finally Canada.
Subsequent episodes in the series show the team travelling further west than ever before, reaching new audiences and sharing top billing at some of the world’s largest airshows alongside counterparts the US Navy Blue Angels, the US Air Force Thunderbirds and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
Series Producer John Willats said: “Red Arrows Take America follows one of the most ambitious foreign tours for the Reds and is also one of the most ambitious foreign shoots undertaken by the team at MultiStory Media.
“The schedule was action-packed and took a lot of careful planning by the team in MediaCity in Salford to ensure we were able to keep up with the jets as they travelled the length and breadth of North America.
“We were welcomed as part of the team throughout and it was a genuine privilege to get to know both the skilled pilots and also the extended group of people performing various roles who worked tirelessly to make the tour happen.
“So many of the events that happened on the tour genuinely felt like epic, historic moments for the Red Arrows and I hope that our Channel 5 viewers really get a sense of that when they watch the series.
“There is a lot of love for what they do and they received an amazing reception everywhere they went.”
The new television series follows on from the success of Red Arrows Kings of the Sky, which was broadcast on Channel 5 in early 2019.
Red Arrows Take America starts at 9pm on Wednesday, January 8, on Channel 5 and will also be available for catch up on My5.