RAF

Red Arrows Set Off For North America Tour

The coming 11 weeks will see their largest overseas deployment in a generation.

The Red Arrows have set off for an 11-week tour of North America.

The team will be performing across the United States and Canada for their biggest tour of the continent to date.

They will be performing displays and flypasts in more than 25 cities, including New York, Toronto and Los Angeles.

"It is an incredible opportunity," said Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

He anticipates "big crowds" in North America: "These are big, big shows that we are going to. The numbers there will be remarkable.

"We are going to be really proud to be showcasing the best of British, the best of the Royal Air Force and the best aerobatic team - one of the premiere in the world."

Red Arrows departing RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire for North America tour 020819 CREDIT MOD
The deployment will be the most ambitious tour of Canada and the United States ever undertaken by the team (Picture: MOD).

It is the first time the Red Arrows have been to North America since 2008 and the deployment will be the most ambitious tour of Canada and the United States ever undertaken by the team – going coast-to-coast.

The tour is an indication of the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity and extensive security cooperation in the region.

Watch: last month we spoke to the Red Arrows as they prepared to take on North America

With stops across the continent, the tour comprises a combination of nearly 20 aerobatic displays, several iconic flypasts and 100 separate ground engagement activities – from business receptions to sessions aimed at inspiring young people.

"We have also planned dozens of ground events, where we hope to meet countless individuals and showcase the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths - the STEM subjects - in our work," explained Wing Commander Keith.

The first public flypast will be in Halifax, Canada, on 11 August, followed by an aerobatic display in Gatineau two days later. Chicago will provide the setting for the first US airshow of the tour, on 17 August.

Red Arrows North American Tour 2019 050819 CREDIT RAF.png
Key tour dates are highlighted above (Picture: RAF).

Miramar Airshow, near San Diego, California – made famous as the base previously home to the US Navy’s Top Gun school – is a new addition to those airshows.

Other stops planned by Red Arrows include Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, cities in Texas and also places never previously visited by the team in its history – such as Vancouver and Seattle.

"We are going to be displaying at some really iconic locations," explained Squadron Leader Adam Collins, from Red 10.

"It is a real privilege for us and really important for the country."

	Red Arrows perform at RIAT 2019 210719 CREDIT MOD
The Red Arrows’ final displays of its domestic campaign took place at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July (Picture: MOD).

However, it is also a huge logistical challenge getting the Red Arrows on the road.

Planning for this tour started over a year ago. Tools, spare parts and dye for the coloured smoke are already en route and the team will be using an A400M to help get around.

More than 100 engineers service and maintain the Red Arrows Hawk T1 jets. Among them, 10 make up the group known as the circus, those that get to fly backseat on all the transits.

Senior Aircraftman (Technician) Jamie Stringer is part of the Red Arrows Circus and he has been to the US only once before - on holiday - and he is looking forward to seeing more of the country during the tour.

"Having a tour like the North American one is just even more exciting," said Corporal Lydia Ford, Red Arrows Circus Engineer.

The team’s Hawk jets cannot refuel in the air and do not have the range to make the transatlantic crossing in one sortie will be flown via several stops.

Their stop-overs include Scotland, Iceland and Greenland, to reach Halifax – the first major location of the tour.

The North American adventure is now officially underway and many are eagerly anticipating their arrival.

From the archives: a day in the life of a Red Arrow pilot (2014)