Red Arrows Announce 2019 North American Tour

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 17
Red Arrows announce 2019 North American Tour across US and Canada
Photo credit: Alex Prins/This is Flight

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, are set to embark on a nine-week programme across the skies of North America is 2019.

The team announced “Western Hawk 19,” an August and September of 2019 tour across Canada and the United States.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Red Arrows would display across the Americas, reaching millions of people and showcasing the very best of British aviation.

“Our Red Arrows fly the flag for Britain across the globe, both in the skies and on the ground, and this tour will not only showcase their teamwork and aviation excellence, but also promote our great nation to billions of people across the world.

“After an incredible year celebrating RAF100, it seems only fitting that the Red Arrows prepare to illuminate the skies of our closest allies in 2019, celebrating and strengthening our incredible relationship with the US.”

The team’s last visit to the United States came in 2008, when they performed in New York, Virginia and other states. That visit in 2008 was a “short visit,” according to the Reds, and the 2019 visit is expected to be much longer.

The US program comes after the Red Arrows’ successful 2016 Asia-Pacific and the Middle East tour.

As well as displaying at a range of shows and events, the team will also attend engagements promoting the UK Government’s GREAT campaign, visit local schools, meet with business leaders and showcase the very best of British culture.

Air Vice-Marshal Warren James, the senior RAF officer responsible for the Red Arrows, said: “The deployment of the Red Arrows will demonstrate the global reach and capability of the RAF and our continuing support of the United Kingdom’s defence and commerce industries.

At this time, the shows the team will be performing at have not been announced, but stay tuned to the AirshowStuff Blog and Facebook Page for the information as soon as it’s announced! You can also discuss your thoughts on the tour and potential tour stops for the Reds in our forums.

US Military Answers Internet Demands By Sending Dozens Of Aircraft To Royal International Air Tattoo

posted in: Airshows | 2

US Navy Blue Angels

The United States Air Force announced an unprecedented increase in airshow support today with the unveiling of the Royal International Air Tattoo Supporting Unit Coordination Command Squadron. The Royal International Air Tattoo, better known as RIAT, is a large military-themed airshow held every summer at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England. The new command will arrange demonstrations by all current US Air Force aircraft at the airshow.

The special unit came into being as an answer to international demand in the form of incessant comments left by RIAT supporters on any and every aviation-related internet post since mid-2017. Their sense of entitlement and lack of any sort of moderation impressed Air Force leaders. Unit Commander Colonel (Col.) Walter Haut explains:

“It is our mission to demonstrate US air power to the world, and we intend to do so by sending everything we have to a single airshow that isn’t even on American soil. Every time the Air Force wondered how to best showcase our technological might, we were immediately inundated with comments begging us to ‘come to RIAT.’ While initially shallow and whimsical of an idea to entertain, the frequency of these comments became a decidedly convincing argument that we simply couldn’t say no to any longer.”

RIAT Comments

“We’re excited to fly for the crowd at RIAT,” said Lieutenant William H. Blanchard, 2018 demonstration pilot for the newly re-activated F-15E Strike Eagle Demo Team East. “It means a lot to me to represent the US Air Force; I remember when I was a young child from Nebraska and my parents took me to see the Thunderbirds perform at an airshow in France. It inspired me to join the service and learn to fly – hopefully I can pass that on to a few of the younger Brits in the RIAT crowd to join the US Armed Forces.”

Other branches of the US military are also preparing numerous demonstrations of their own, pulling aircraft from US airshows and even from combat missions to support RIATSUCCS performances. The US Army has postponed a deployment of the 82nd Aviation Regiment’s newest AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to prepare them for the upcoming display.

US Army AH-64 ApacheUSAF F-15E Strike Eagle

The US Navy Blue Angels are also assuming RIAT-related roles, as they will be debuting their new UCAV aircraft at the event. These jets have been a topic of hot discussion since the leak of their transition in 2015, but this will not be the only new technology debuting to an overseas public before the national introduction.

RIATSUCCS Unit Patch

In a Lockheed Martin press conference, a representative was quoted as having said “We fully support and applaud the US military’s efforts to demonstrate abroad. In an act of solidarity, Lockheed will be sending two of their latest prototype aircraft for their official debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo. We will also be sending a fleet of brand new F-35 Lightning IIs to perform a mass-flypast with the Air Force counterparts to open the show.”

In response to this unprecedented move, the Royal Air Force announced plans to reciprocate the USAF’s gesture of friendship by sending a single C-17 transport to an airshow in the US. Unfortunately, the visit was immediately canceled.

USAF Thunderbirds Soar Over Paris, Normandy Beach, And More In Preparation For Bastille Day Flyover

posted in: Jet Teams | 0
USAF Thunderbirds Over Paris, France - July 2017
Photos Courtesy of the USAF Thunderbirds

Members of the United States Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirds demonstration team are in Europe this week, preparing for their upcoming shows in France and England. The team is set to fly over the city of Paris, France on July 14 in celebration of Bastille Day, France’s La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July, 1789.

The team flew a practice sortie over the city as well as the beaches at Normandy and Mont Saint-Michel. Check out these incredible photos!

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Mont. Saint-Michel

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Pointe Du HocUSAF Thunderbirds Over France - Normandy Beach

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Louvre

USAF Thunderbirds Over France - Normandy Beach

This year, the traditional flyover of the parade through Paris will feature the Patrouille de France and a number of other aircraft from the French Air Force’s inventory, to include Dassault Mirage 2000s and Rafales. Following them will be the USAF Thunderbirds and a pair of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors. Much like the Patrouille de France’s American Tour earlier this year, the inclusion of the Thunderbirds in these festivities marks the 100th year since the United State’s entry into the First World War, signifying solidarity between the French and American forces.

Following their Bastille Day flyover, the team will be performing at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England July 14-16. Afterwards, they will depart Europe back for the US to fly at Flight Over the Falls in Great Falls, Montana on July 22-23.

To see where you can catch the USAF Thunderbirds this year, check out our post with their 2017 schedule!

2017 USAF F-22 Raptor Demo Team Schedule Released

posted in: Airshows, Military, Schedules | 1

USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team

The US Air Force has released the 2017 airshow schedule for the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team. Will you see the Raptor in 2017? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page and in our forums, and make sure you share pictures after the show!

Also check out the rest of the 2017 airshow appearance schedules!

2017 Appearance Schedule – USAF F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team

Feb 28-March 5th: Avalon, Australia

March 24-26th: Brunswick, GA

April 22-23rd: Tyndall AFB, FL (HF with P-51)

May 6-7: McEntire JNGB, SC (HF with P-51)
May 13-14th: Pittsburgh, PA (HF with P-51)
May 20-21st: Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC (HF with A-10 and P-51)
May 27-28: Miami, FL (HF with P-51)

June 17-18th: Ocean City, MD (HF with A-10 and P-51)
June 24-25th: Bagotville, Quebec, Canada (HF with ?)

July 1st: Goshen, IN (Heritage Flight Only with P-51)
July 1-4th: Battle Creek, MI (HF with P-51)
July 14-16; RAF Fairford, UK (HF with P-51)
July 29-30th: Kennewick, WA (HF with P-51)

August 4-5th: Seattle, WA
August 12-13: Wilkes-Barre Scranton, PA (HF with P-51)
August 18-20th: Chicago, IL (HF with A-10 and P-51)

Sept 2-4th: Toronto, ON, Canada (HF with P-51)
Sept 13-14: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, DC (HF with P-51)
Sept 16-17th: Joint Base Andrews, MD (HF with P-51)
Sept 16th: Air Force Marathon – Wright Patterson AFB, OH (Flyover Only)
Sept 22-24th: Hillsboro, OR (HF with P-51)
Sept 29-Oct 1st: Salinas, CA (HF with A-10 and P-51)

Oct 17-22: Seoul, Korea

Nov 4-5th: NAS Jacksonville, FL (HF with A-10 and P-51)
Nov 11-12th: Nellis AFB, NV (HF with A-10 and P-51)

Red Arrows Aerobatic Show At Farnborough Forbidden After Shoreham Disaster

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 3

RAF Red Arrows

The Royal Air Force’s demonstration team, the Red Arrows, will not be performing their aerobatic routine as originally planned at the popular biennial Farnborough International Airshow held in the United Kingdom and scheduled for July 11-17 this year. Instead, the team will be performing formation flypasts during the show.

In a press release from the RAF published on June 15, the decision to forgo the display came down to the assessed risk it posed to local safety in the wake of last year’s Shoreham disaster. The release stated that the “high speed and dynamic nature of the traditional Red Arrows’ display is no longer appropriate due to the large amounts of local housing, business areas and major transport links underneath the planned display area.”

The planned flypasts currently include a formation of the team and the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II on July 11. The statement adds that “further Red Arrows flypasts in different formations are now planned for 15, 16 and 17 July.”

F-22 Raptor Demo Team Going International Again In 2016

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

USAF F-22 Raptor

The USAF F-22 Raptor demonstration team schedule that was released today (along with the F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration team schedule) contains a few surprises for fans, the biggest of which is the number of international appearances. International appearances are always noteworthy for the F-22 since many fans are so eager to see what is arguably the world’s most advanced fighter. These appearances are also somewhat rare due to budget constraints and limited aircraft availability, not to mention the inherent security requirements for the secretive aircraft.

The 2016 schedule includes four airshows outside the US; Trenton and London in Ontario, Canada, as well as the International Air & Space Fair (FIDAE) in Chile and the famed Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in the United Kingdom. FIDAE and RIAT both hosted the team in 2010, and a planned RIAT appearance in 2008 was canceled at the last moment due to weather. The team has also performed in South Korea, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates in the last few years.

International trips are often met with frustration in the US airshow community as every weekend away is one less opportunity for US crowds to see it, especially with the schedule limitations in the past few years. However, the aircraft is unquestionably one method for the US to send a message about its military might. Given the current state of the world, it isn’t too surprising that the powers that be would send it to perform on a world stage like FIDAE and RIAT. Hopefully many of the worldwide Raptor fans get a chance to see it!

F-35 Lightning IIs To Appear At Two UK Airshows In 2016

posted in: Airshows, Military | 1

USAF F-35 Lightning II - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Airshow fans in the UK will have a chance to see the F-35 Lightning II this summer! The US Marine Corps announced on Monday that it is planning to send two F-35s to the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough airshows. The US Air Force also is rumored to be sending jets, though nothing has been announced yet. The visit will be not only for public outreach, but also as a test of long-range deployability and interoperability between the different countries.

The UK is a member of the multi-national F-35 partnership and currently has four aircraft operating in the US as part of their initial training. F-35s were scheduled to appear at RIAT in 2014, but a safety stand down resulting from an engine fire caused the appearance to be canceled. The massive Joint Strike Fighter program has been under incredible scrutiny in recent years, so the services are eager to get the jet out in front of the public for some positive PR, especially with the programs smaller international partners where support for program participation has come into question. USMC F-35s have performed mini-demonstrations at US shows already, and the USAF sent two of their jets to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last summer. They have also announced that a USAF F-35 will perform in Heritage Flights at select US shows in 2016.

Did Vulcan XH558 Perform Unauthorized Barrel Rolls Before Retirement?

Avro Vulcan XH558 - Eric Coeckelberghs
Photo Courtesy of Vulcan to the Sky Trust

If there’s one warbird that has captivated the aviation community over the past few years, it’s been XH558: the last flying Avro Vulcan. XH558 has been flying since 2007 after retiring from service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1984. On October 28th of this year, the Vulcan made a farewell to flight at Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport outside Doncaster, England. With a short flight and a final taxi, XH558 became the last Vulcan to fly and will be put on display and occasionally run up and taxied at the airport.

However, the Vulcan has raised some trouble with England’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with what appears to be a pair of barrel rolls during one of it’s last flights. The BBC has published footage by BDP Aviation that appears to show XH558 executing two separate barrel rolls while flying over Grantham, Lincolnshire on October 4th. The CAA had tightened restrictions on maneuvers during aerial displays following the August 22nd crash of a Hawker Hunter T7, G-BXFI, in Shoreham that resulted in 11 fatalities.

According to the BBC article, a CAA spokesperson has said the Vulcan “may have performed a roll maneuver”. Adding: “This did not occur during an air display. Although not normally allowed under its current permissions to fly, a roll is a benign maneuver and the Vulcan’s maintenance support organisation has confirmed that the aircraft is safe to fly.”

When done correctly, a barrel roll maneuver is flown at a constant 1G, meaning the aircraft never ‘feels’ that it is inverted. Famous examples of this include the Boeing 707 airliner that was rolled on a test flight, and Bob Hoover pouring water into a glass while rolling.

The investigation by the CAA is underway, and the Vulcan to the Sky Trust that operates XH558 has yet to comment.

BREAKING NEWS – Hawker Hunter Down On UK Highway, Multiple Casualties Reported

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 3
Hawker Hunter T.Mk.7 WV372 - Shoreham Airshow
Photo Courtesy Paul Johnson/Shoreham Airshow

A Hawker Hunter jet has crashed at the Shoreham Airshow in the UK today, and there are likely to be multiple casualties. The jet came down on a crowded highway just outside the airfield around 1:20pm local time. Multiple videos of the crash have been posted online; the aircraft can be seen coming down from a looping maneuver before descending below the tree tops and onto the roadway, then erupting in a large fireball.

Some reports from the scene indicate the pilot ejected before impact, but videos of the incident do not show any ejection. Other reports indicate the pilot may have been pulled from the wreckage alive. Most reports agree that there are at least a pair of bystander fatalities on the ground with the potential for more. The A27 highway has been closed in both directions and emergency services are responding.

The only Hunter listed on the show’s website as a performer is Hawker Hunter T.Mk.7 WV372, a privately held example of the type.

We will have more information as it becomes available.

[Updated] Pilot Killed In Aircraft Crash At UK’s Oulton Park Carfest

posted in: Miscellaneous, Warbirds | 0

Gnat Display Team/Darren Harbar

UPDATE: The pilot, identified as Kevin Whyman, has been confirmed as killed in the crash. In a statement on the Gnat Display Team’s Facebook:

The Heritage Aircraft Trust, operator of the Gnat Display Team is very sad to announce the loss of one of its display pilots, Kevin Whyman, at an airshow for CarFest at Oulton Park today.

Heritage Aircraft Trust will be working with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Board to determine the cause of the accident.

Kevin was a Royal Air Force trained fast jet pilot whose enthusiasm for flying the Folland Gnat was infectious. He will be greatly missed by his family, the Team and many friends.

Kevin leaves a wife and young daughter. Please respect the privacy of family members and of the Team at this most difficult time.

Reports say a Gnat jet has crashed at the Oulton Park Carfest at Cheshire Race Track in Cheshire, United Kingdom. The crash occurred shortly after 2pm local time in a wooded area near the Carfest event.

The plane believed to be involved is part of the Gnat Display Team, part of the Heritage Aircraft Trust based at North Weald Airfield. The team flies 3 jets in their performance. The Gnat is a swept wing supersonic jet trainer that in the past has been used by the Royal Air Force as a trainer jet and by the Red Arrows Display Team.

Witnesses report seeing an air ambulance leaving the scene. There was no initial report on the pilot’s condition.

Several pictures and reports were posted on Twitter after the incident:

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