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Final preparations are being made for the Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team’s biggest-ever tour to North America, which includes performance or flypasts over six Canadian cities.
Aviation fans in Halifax, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Vancouver and Victoria will have a unique opportunity to see the Red Arrows take flight during the team’s 11-week deployment, which is aimed at showcasing the U.K. at its best, and supporting trade, business and defence interests.
The first public event of the tour will be a flypast with aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) over the historic Halifax waterfront on Sunday, August 11. This will be followed on August 13 by a flypast of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and an aerobatic display in Gatineau.
After visiting a number of cities in the U.S., the Red Arrows will return to Canada to appear at the Canadian International Airshow in Toronto over the Labour Day weekend. Later in September, they’ll return to Canada again for a special flypast over Vancouver Harbour and Victoria, B.C.
British High Commissioner to Canada Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have the world famous Red Arrows in Canada this summer. This tour is an excellent opportunity to not only showcase the Red Arrows’ aerobatic expertise to Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but also to celebrate the close and enduring relationship between our two countries.”
Wing commander Andrew Keith, officer commanding, RAF Aerobatic Team, said: “Tours by the Red Arrows have always been an important role of the team — aiming to demonstrate RAF expertise, helping to highlight U.K. excellence across a range of sectors and celebrating close connections with friends and allies.
With only days to go before the Red Arrows depart for North America, and with more tour locations now being released, all of us in the team hope people across Canada will be able to join us in the coming weeks and enjoy one of our displays, flypasts or events.”
It is the first time the Red Arrows have been to Canada and the U.S. since 2008, with the deployment of the most ambitious tour of North America ever undertaken by the team. With stops across the continent, in addition to the Canadian stops, the tour comprises a combination of nearly 20 aerobatic displays, several iconic flypasts and 100 separate ground engagement activities — from business receptions led by the U.K. Department for International Trade to sessions aimed at inspiring young people.
Each show in Canada will be a demonstration of creativity, engineering excellence and innovation — not just hallmarks of the Red Arrows and RAF but of the proven capabilities, strengths and skills of the U.K.
Moreover, the tour provides the chance to celebrate and enhance international trade between the U.K. and Canada, which was worth more than £20 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2019, an of increase of more than 17 per cent from the same period in 2018.
“The men and women of the Red Arrows epitomize the skill, agility, teamwork and precision of the RAF and we are relishing the opportunity to travel overseas, display in front of hundreds of thousands of people and be ambassadors for a Global Britain,” said Keith.
He continued, “A key aim of the tour is to inspire people through safe, dynamic and visually-exciting shows. However, we have also planned dozens of ground events, where we hope to meet countless individuals and showcase the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths — the STEM subjects — in our work.”
Planning for the North American tour has spanned more than a year, and technical equipment and other resources have already been shipped to key “hub” locations in the U.S. and Canada, in advance of the jets setting off from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, in August.
“A huge amount of energy has gone into preparing for this tour, involving detailed work by specialists from across the RAF and liaising closely with colleagues from the U.K.’s Department for International Trade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partners in Canada and the United States,” added Keith.
The team’s Hawk jets, which cannot refuel in the air and do not have the range to make the transatlantic crossing in one sortie, will be flown via several stops, including Scotland, Iceland and Greenland, to reach Halifax — the first major location of the tour.
Officially known as the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows showcase the excellence of the RAF and represent the United Kingdom both at home and overseas. The team consists of 11 pilots, nine of whom fly in the display, and more than 100 support personnel and technicians. Each of the pilots has previous fast-jet, operational experience flying the Tornado, Typhoon or Harrier, enabling the RAF to secure the skies and protect the nation and its interests, 365-days a year. One of the world’s premier aerobatic teams, the Red Arrows had completed nearly 5,000 displays, in 57 countries, by the beginning of 2019. Flying Hawk T1 jets, the team is based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
LIST OF CANADIAN EVENTS FOR NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
Below is the latest list of locations the Red Arrows will visit in Canada. Activities will typically include either a flypast, display or ground engagement — or a combination of these elements. Venues and places are subject to change. More details for each location will be released ahead of each stop and date.
Partners for the Halifax visit include the Government of Nova Scotia, Develop Nova Scotia, the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, The Discovery Centre and Air Show Atlantic.
Thursday, August 8 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Red Arrows: King of the Skies
Get a unique view into the fast-paced world of the Red Arrows. This documentary, part of a six-episode series, provides exceptional access to what happens in the air and on ground as the team’s pilots, ground crew, engineers and support personnel prepare for a high profile season. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A with Red Arrows pilots and engineers.
Location: Dome Theatre, Discovery Centre
Tickets: $20 and available online
Friday, August 9 to Sunday, August 11
A Great British Weekend: celebrate aviation with the Red Arrows
Join the team for a series of events at the U.K.’s pop-up pavilion on the waterfront as they celebrate the fantastic world of aviation. From past to present, get an up-close look at an iconic Spitfire provided by the Air Show Atlantic and then put on a VR headset and take a ride in the cockpit during a Red Arrows flypast.
The Discovery Centre will also be on-location to explain the science behind flight with interactive demonstrations for all ages. And don’t forget to grab a souvenir photo at the Red Arrows photo booth!
Of course, you’ll also need to have some food and music! Pete’s Footique and Fine Foods will be sampling fantastic British nibbles and the team are happy to present a special performance by the Welsh Tornado Gareth Pearson.
Location: Summit Plaza (next to The Wave)
Sunday, August 11 at 2 p.m.
Red Arrows Over Halifax
The main event of the Red Arrows visit to Halifax, this unique celebration of the U.K. and Canada’s longstanding defence partnership will include a special series of flypasts by aircraft from both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
RCAF aircraft scheduled to take part include, CH146 Griffon, CH148 Cyclone and CH149 Cormorant helicopters along with a CC130H Hercules and a CP140 Aurora. From the RAF, an A400M will pass along the waterfront followed by an enhanced flypast by the Red Arrows trailed by their signature red, white, and blue smoke.
Location: Halifax and Dartmouth Waterfronts
Tuesday, August 13 at 10 a.m.
Flypast over Parliament Hill
A special flypast by the Red Arrows of Parliament Hill, to coincide with the changing of the guard ceremony. Further details to be announced.
Location: Parliament Hill
Tuesday, August 13 at 1 p.m.
Red Arrows at Aero Gatineau-Ottawa
The first aerobatic performance of the Red Arrows tour promises to be very British and very exciting with the Red Arrows in their scarlet BAE Systems Hawk T1s putting on a thrilling afternoon display along with performances by the fighter aircraft and trainers from Vintage Wings of Canada and stunning solo aerobatics by Rick Volker in his Sukhoi 26.
Location: Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport
Wednesday, August 28
Red Arrows Flypast
The Red Arrows will fly over the world famous Niagara Falls. Further details to be announced.
Saturday, August 31 to Monday, September 2
The Canadian International Air show (CIAS)
Witness the Red Arrows perform over Lake Ontario as the Canadian International Air Show (CIAS) celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Location: CNE Grounds
Tuesday, September 24
Red Arrows: King of the Skies
Get an exclusive peek into the fast-paced world of the Red Arrows. This documentary, part of a six-episode series, provides exceptional access to what happens in the air and on ground as the team’s pilots, ground crew, engineers and support personnel prepare for a high-profile season. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Red Arrows pilots and engineers.
Location: Science World at TELUS World of Science
Event Details: to be announced
Thursday, September 26
Red Arrows over Vancouver
Join the team for a day of aviation-themed activities, as they celebrate the Red Arrows tour across North America. Meet the crew, don a VR headset for a virtual ride in the cockpit during a Red Arrows flypast, grab a souvenir photo at the Red Arrows photo booth and more! This full-day event will culminate in the enhanced flypast over the iconic Vancouver Harbour at 5 p.m. by the Red Arrows, trailed by their signature red, white, and blue smoke. Further details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Science World at TELUS World of Science and HR MacMillan Space Centre will also be on-location to explain the science behind flight with interactive demonstrations for all ages.
Thursday, September 26
Red Arrows over Victoria
The Red Arrows continue their visit to Canada’s Pacific Coast with a flypast over British Columbia’s capital. Further details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Location: Upper Harbour