THE RED Arrows pilots are putting together their final preparations ahead of their first flight over Bournemouth for over three years.

The UK’s premier aerial display team are to take to the skies at 3pm over the next fours days of the Bournemouth Airt Festival.

Squadron Leader Adam Collins, Red 10 and the supervisor for the Red Arrows, said: “It has been three years since we were in Bournemouth last displaying for real. We took part in virtual events in 2020, but it is great to be back down here.

“Bournemouth is always a special location to display at - the long beaches, the number of people (I think normally a million people over the weekend get to see us fly) and we are here for four days which is one of the longest display events that we do, so it is great to be back.

“So, it looks fairly grey at the moment but actually the cloud is quite high, the visibility is good and there are light winds, so it is actually very nice display conditions. It is just not ideal for the audience getting a tan on the beach, but it is good for flying.”

Attendees of the Air Show can expect to see the popular close aerial formations, mesmerising group tricks and some new dazzling displays from the RAF Red Arrows.

The former Flight Commander added: “So, we are displaying at 3pm every day. The show that people will see is the new show for 2021. We do change the show every year, but we keep some manoeuvres that the crowd have liked from previous years and ones that are very popular.

“The first half of the show is all nine air crafts in the graceful formation shapes, and then the second half is when we break down into the two sections of five and four, and then within that four we have the synchro-pair doing the very dynamic opposition manoeuvres and its that second half where you will see some new manoeuvres this year.

“So, there will be a real mix of manoeuvres and about 20 to 25 minutes of display flying for the crowd to look forward to.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The pandemic put a stop to the squadron’s displays and meant that the Red Arrows had to complete their training at a reduced rate based solely in the UK.

He said “As with everybody, the pandemic has affected us quite significantly. We downed tools for the first three or four weeks during the first lockdown which then went into our Easter break. And then we restarted our flying at a reduced rate to keep our workforce safe.

“So, we have 120 people on the team including the engineers, logistics and all thew supports staff, so our property was keeping them safe.

“So the reduced flying rate meant it took us longer to finish our training. It all happened in the UK, rather than some overseas flying which we normally do, but we needed to keep that training going because the tight formation flying is a skillset that you need to keep on top of.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The RAF Red Arrows went form having a packed calendar of over a display event a week to just three performances during the whole of 2020.

However, although the display team took part in virtual events last year, Squadron Leader Adam Collins said he and the rest of the team are happy to be back performing and meeting crowds at in-person events once again.

“In 2020, we only displayed three times, so two displays in Finland and one display in Guernsey,” said Adam.

“But now, for 2021, we are back up to around 40 shows which is two thirds of a normal season, and so it is starting to feel a bit more normal, and it is great that the public can come out and see us this week in Bournemouth.

“The engagement with the public is really important part of our role, especially my job being on the ground during the displays and commentating.

“So, it is great doing the online stuff and it is great doing displays and capturing the imagery for people to see online, but actually seeing and hearing the crowd reaction, talking to people before and after the displays means that we get a real sense of how much people are enjoying it and hopefully how much we are inspiring them through our flying.”