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Red Arrow crashes at Bournemouth Air Festival


TopCat®
Resolved

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Description of events at plane crash More news later on condition of pilot, etc. TC.

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morddwyd

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"At least the Red Arrows are a good PR exercise world-wide?."

No question about that. The trouble is, the Royal Air Force should not be about PR, but the Defence of the Realm. There are those, and I am not claiming to be one of them, who believe that the money spent on the Reds would be better spent on body and vehicle armour for the RAF Regiment in Afghanistan.

"I wonder how you 'know' that the MoD want to disband the Red Arrows?"

I don't "know" anything of the sort, it's simply an opinion formed from keeping my ear to the ground during my last thirty years of service, including time in the Ministry itself, and from conversations with those still serving since I left.

Even during my time many felt that the Reds were formed partly simply because of the publicity gained by the Patrouille de France arguably then, and some think still, the best in the world (and also because of the wasted effort having several "unofficial" teams). There was a wide body who thought, and for all I know still think, that they are a waste of time, and that team displays should be like individual display pilots/crews who are standing operational crews who practice and display in their own time, while fulfilling their commitment to their established squadron.

Whether a display team is a viable proposition with such criteria would be viable is entirely another subject of discussion.

To one who remembers, with affection, the Blue Diamonds and the Black Arrows such a scenario is not totally ridiculous.

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morddwyd

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"I suppose its just like flying an aged Vulcan, that seems to keep running out of funds?."

Nothing like it all.

The Vulcan receives no funding from the Government, and is a registered charity.

The Red Arrows are entirely Government funded.

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Pine Man

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'The Red Arrows are entirely Government funded.'

Which means public money and a hell of a lot of it.

'That sounds pretty much like a message to a potential enemy.'

Al qaeda - 'better steer clear of the UK have you seen their red arrows'.

Taliban - 'Have you seen those red arrows. Better keep clear of UK forces or they'll set the RAF on us'.

Mmmmm some deterrent.

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Pine Man

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'blinkered view'

Just who do you think that the Red Arrows are deterring then?

Not Al qeada or the Taliban for sure.

Maybe Gadaffi. Nope I don't think so.

Mmmm there must be someone?

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onthelimit1

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'The Red Arrows are entirely Government funded.'

Not totally, according to their website:

'The Red Arrows overseas tours, representing and demonstrating the very best of British excellence, are largely met by sponsors'

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morddwyd

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Suggesting the the Red Arrow displays are indicative of the deterrent effect of the Royal Air Force is like suggesting that the Trooping of the Colour is indicative of the Guards fighting qualities.

Both gained their reputations elsewhere, though such displays are based in the same traditions.

One of the problems in the early days of the war (long before the Battle) was that senior air commanders' insistence on tight formation flying, so much a part of pre-war Hendon displays, meant that pilots were so obsessed with keeping station that they frequently failed to see the enemy early enough. There are still those who regard tight formation flying as a good test of a pilot's ability. The ability to return from combat mission is a better one!

As regards a deterrent effect, a good display pilot putting his beast through her paces is far better.

Who can forget the early displays of the Hunter, Lightning and Vulcan?

When St Mawgan was still doing flying displays, there were two party tricks.

Half way through the afternoon a Shackleton would land from a routine Soviet navy surveillance operation. As was always announced, that aircraft had taken off the previous afternoon.

Even the most junior naval attaché could work out that any subs could be picked up, or tracked, a hell of a long way out.

Around the same time a Shackleton fly past would be scheduled in the prgtamme. The grey old lady would appear at the airfield boundary with one engine stopped. As it reached the runway threshold another engine would stop. Half way along the runway a third engine would be stopped and she would climb away on one (OK. so she struggled a bit!).

The gasps from other aviators and mariners who had not seen this before was a source of great pride .

Much greater deterrent effect than than a massed fly by (though I did once see twelve Shackletons scramble during an exercise, and I must admit it was pretty impressive. I was aboard one of them, in the days when they used to carry their own groundcrew to wherever they were going.)

The Reds in full fig are a fantastic sight, but about the RAF for real they are not, not now, not ever.

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flycatcher1

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The Shack one engine fly-by must have been fun but I have seen a Lincoln go past with four, then three, then two then none. Not very sensible I thought at the time but I imagine the Engineer was up for it.

This topic has brought up some interesting posts. I hope that the Red Arrows continue in service even if the Services have to give up some something - Military Bands?

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onthelimit1

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'That is such a dumb analogy that I'm not going to bother to respond to the rest of the post'

I think you are mistaken - I reckon it's a fair comment!

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Forum Editor

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Does it really matter whether the Red Arrows deter potential enemies or not?

They bring a great deal of pleasure to huge numbers of people, and demonstrate formation flying of a very high calibre. As someone who spent a fairly large chunk of his early life living on operational RAF bases I must say I always experience a thrill of pride when I see the Red Arrows performing.

They're very welcome to whatever part of my taxes goes to keep them flying. Anyone can whinge about expenditure on this kind of thing, but it would be a pretty dull life if there wasn't room for the occasional item of purely frivolous expenditure.

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rdave13

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frivolous expenditure

I can't see that flying with the Red Arrows is a frivolous expenditure. It's a display for the public, granted, but also a training exercise surely.

We often have Hercules' flying low overhead to drop parachutists (for want of a better word) for training, so I cannot see the difference. If a pilot doesn't fly an aircraft then how are they supposed to keep their skills tip-top?

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