Red arrows aircraft with new tailfin union jack design

50th display season

In a high profile and very successful year, the Red Arrows’ 50th display season was celebrated in 2014.

covered jet Among the most significant ways the occasion was recognised was actually on the aircraft of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. A new tailfin design was unveiled on the jets. The makeover was, at the time, the most significant change to the look of the team’s famous aircraft in its history.

The new tailfin was unveiled at the team’s home, RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, in February of 2014. A giant Union flag was draped over the first of the Hawk aircraft to receive the new look – to keep the design a secret until the big moment. Then, when the time arrived, the engineers and support staff – known as the Blues – removed the flag to reveal the new design.

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.

At the time of the unveiling, Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader and Red 1 from 2012 until 2014, 2014 Prince of Wales said: “The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, are extremely proud of our heritage and we hope 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.”

A series of events celebrated the milestone year and the Red Arrows were the central feature and theme for big airshows, including the Waddington International Airshow and Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in July. At RIAT, members of the Squadron were honoured to meet His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and also receive awards in recognition of the team’s achievements. 2014 Air Malta

Mixed formation flypasts were completed during the year with Gnats and also an Airbus A320 of Air Malta. At RIAT, the Red Arrows were joined in a flypast by aircraft flown by the leaders of the Breitling Jet Team, Frecce Tricolori, Patrouille de France and Patrouille Suisse.

Other highlights included flypasts for Her Majesty the Queen in London, the Invictus Games, the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and at the start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire – when the Team also carried professional cyclist Ian Stannard and his Royal Air Force pilot brother Matthew in rear seats.

2014 Queens Flypast The season was marked by a landmark BBC television documentary, called Inside The Bubble, which was seen by millions of people, as well as radio programmes, magazines, books, an updated 3D simulator at London’s Science Museum and even a high speed train being named after the team at Exeter.

In all, 80 displays were flown in nine countries and team had the opportunity to meet thousands of people everywhere they went in a remarkable 50th season.

Red Arrows Association

  • Red Arrows Association

    Are you a former member of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team? Learn more about the association, which brings together ex-Red Arrows personnel.

    Red Arrows Association
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