If you’re not subject to the pre-Olympics hype that is currently everywhere in the UK (and I’m pleased to say that I’m not, as I’m writing this blog post from Moscow), then the fact that it’s only (!) 100 days to go until the games open in London might have passed you by.
The Royal Air Force held back until today announcing that its Red Arrows aerobatic display team will play a part in the opening festivities for the games on 27 July. The team’s full fleet of nine Hawk jet trainers will make a tour of the UK that day, visiting Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London and making flypasts in the “Big Battle” formation (as demonstrated in the Crown Copyright image below).
It will be good to see the “Reds” making such high-profile public appearances after what was a terrible 2011. Flt Lt Jon Egging and Flt Lt Sean Cunningham both died in separate accidents during the display season, and some had speculated that perhaps the team would not return.
It has, but in changed form. With Flt Lt Kirsty Stewart – the first woman ever to fly for the team – recently having opted to leave after two seasons (versus a usual three), air show displays will be conducted this year using only seven Hawks. But when performing flypasts such as at the Olympics, these will be joined by two others, both flown straight and level only.
The Reds are currently in Cyprus preparing for a busy season, which is scheduled to kick off on 2 June and run through the end of September. Let’s hope for an entertaining, but most of all a safe one in 2012.