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Springhawk 2007

RAF Akrotiri

Akrotiri Gate Guardian F6 Lightning XS929


Red's run in with smoke on to begin another practice display

"Smoke on" heading in to start a display with the town of Limassol has a back drop


Two months on the Island of Cyprus would be seen by most to be an ideal way to unwind from the stresses and strains of your previous years work, for most a welcome break, but for the Red Arrows the detachment to Akrotiri is no relaxing wind down, in fact, quite the opposite. This is the place where the team come to after a winter maintenance period. They bring with them their three new pilots, as they begin to ramp up their rigorous training schedule and hone their flying skills in the almost guaranteed clear skies above the RAFís base at Akrotiri.

The three successful candidates from last year joined the team when the display season finished at the end of September. Their training then  began by flying in small formations of three & four aircraft, gradually introducing more aircraft into the formations until all nine Hawks are flying together. Once the basics of the display team are in place the Red Arrows Team are detached to Akrotiri along with their support trades Airframe, Avionics, Electrical, Propulsion, Weapons, Supply, Transport, Survival Equipment, Painters, Photographers and finally Administration staff. Plenty of stamina is required by all during the detachment to Akrotiri as three sorties per day are performed. This means no let up on the Pilots and even less for the ground crews who have to get the jets ready after each sortie and before the next practice display. When the days flying is complete, the night shift take over making sure that any problems on the aircraft are dealt with so that the Team have nine serviceable aircraft ready for the next days flying. 
Each year around nine candidates are chosen from numerous applicants to undertake a series of flying tests at Akrotiri. This is part of the process to choose three new pilots, who will join the Team next season. After assessing the candidates during a gruelling week of flying, interviews, and activities, the nine candidates are then flown home, while the final chose of which three pilots are to become new members is made in a meeting of the Teams current pilots and chaired by the Team Leader the candidates aren't told the results until sometime after they have returned to the UK.



The briefs were never like this at Scamton

Jas Hawker delivers the morning brief with members of the Royal Saudi Aerobatic team present

Then I pull up and away

One of this years new team member Ben Murphy explains how he pulled up

Fill em up, we have another show in an hour

Fuel and pre flight checks are carried out while the Pilots have their brief

Quick check under the hood and clean the screen

Last minuet checks prior to the pilots arrival

Every flight is scrutinised in an effort to perfect the display

The whole team is scrutinised each time the Reds fly. Here Red 11 phones the engineers about a problem with the smoke

The Diamond nine trade mark in a clear blue sky

Into Diamond Nine at the top of the loop

Red White & Blue

At the de-brief pilots are self critical when disusing were in the formation each aircraft should be, in an effort to get the formation tight and in line

After the slit a slash of colour

Practice will make perfect

On your marks get set GO!
Taking great pride in her work this painter prepares another jet for the team

Keeping up appearances a painter makes sure the jets are in pristine condition for the following days work



Joining the Redís this year in Akrotiri were five pilots of the Royal Saudi Arabia Air Force Hawk display team, who are based at Tabuk in Saudi Arabia. Along with former Red Arrow pilot Sqn Ldr Mark Cutmore who is acting as an advisor to them, the Saudi team pilots joined the Redís pilots and sat in the back seat of most of the display sorties with the team. They sat in during the teams briefs and debriefs and both teams swapped experiences and skills during their visit to Akrotiri.

When the training is complete the team will perform one more full display on Akrotiri in front of their Commander-in-Chief who will make an assessment of their safety and professionalism so as to attain their display validation, once this is given the pilots get their Red flying suits and the Technicians get their Blue overalls. They are now officially The Red Arrows 2007.
Red Arrows Squadron badge

Red 1 Sqn Ldr Jas Hawker

Red 2 Flt Lt Ben Murphy

Red 3 Flt Lt Andrew Keith

Red 4 Flt Lt Greg Perilleux

Red 5 Flt Lt Damian Ellacott

Red 6 Flt Lt Jim Turner

Red 7 Flt Lt Paul OíGrady

Red 8 Sqn Ldr Scott Morley

Red 9 Sqn Ldr Martin Higgins

Red 10 Flt Lt Andy Robins          (Road Manager & Commentator) 

Many thanks to all concerned

Sqn Ldr Scott Morley 'ICEMAN'