The Red Arrows
|The Red Arrows|
Le bolleaux du chien
The Red Arrows - officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - is (unsurprisingly) the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force, based at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire and are credited with being the best aerobatic team... IN THE WORLD! The Italians and French would (and do) disagree.
They were formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various RAF commands.
In 1966, the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their Diamond Nine formation. In late 1979, they switched to the BAE Hawk trainer, after using the Folland Gnat. The Red Arrows have now performed over 4,000 displays world-wide in over fifty countries.
Since 1966, there have been nine display pilots each year, all volunteers. Pilots must be handsome and have completed one or more operational tours on a fast jet such as the Tornado, Harrier or Jaguar, have accumulated at least 1,500 flying hours and have been assessed as above average in their operational role to be eligible. Even then, there are more than ten applicants for each place on the team.
Pilots stay with the Red Arrows for a three-year tour of duty.
Three pilots are changed every year, such that there are always three first year pilots, three second year pilots, and three in their final year.
Dead Sparrows jockeys are easily distinguishable at airshows by their unique bright red flying suit, perma-tan (that they've honed to perfection under the Cypriot sun off season), natty shades and an enormous Breitling watch. Allegedly good in bed, they are, however, pansies when it comes to necking ale.