The Red Arrows’ 2017 display season is now officially underway after the team was formally awarded its Public Display Authority (PDA) on 31st May.
The landmark decision also means that the pilots will also now be able to wear their iconic red flying suits. This year will be the 53rd season for the team, which aims to showcase the excellence of the Royal Air Force and represent the United Kingdom.
Leading the team for his third and final year will be Red 1, Squadron Leader David Montenegro. The nine pilots of the Red Arrows’ are expected to perform more than sixty displays, in front of millions of people across the country and overseas this summer.
David Montenegro (40), was previously in the Squadron as a team pilot between the years of 2009 and 2011 and said that more than six months of preparation, training and teamwork go into the Red Arrows season and the award of Public Display Authority is a milestone moment for the entire Squadron.
The dedication and focus shown by the team pilots, engineers and support staff does not stop once they have been awarded the PDA – the season is equally high-tempo and varied.
The opportunity to represent the Royal Air Force and Armed Forces and display to large and enthusiastic audiences it relished by everyone in the Red Arrows team. The team see the chance as a huge honour to perform for audiences across the UK and beyond.
David Montenegro is responsible for all aspects of the display, from running the training programme to creating the show routines, which change every season. They have also added some colourful changes to the display, such as the Wall arrival involving their signature red, white and blue smoke. The former Tornado F3 pilot said that there are a number of new moves and features added to the 2017 display which he believes will prove popular with those watching.
They have adapted the favourite Tornado move to manoeuvre and twist in front of the crowd, with Red 8 and Red 9 rolling around the lead section’s smoke. This is a real enhancement from last year and with the addition of colour, the team are looking forward to presenting their 2017 Tornado.
Their signature Diamond is back in the show – when the weather allows, this shape will be flown as a quarter-clover towards the end of the first-half of the show. The finale to the entire display will be the Infinity Break, a manoeuvre not flown for several seasons and involves Red 1 creating an infinity sign before they split as a formation.
Training for the new season began in December last year, at the Red Arrows’ home base of RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. This was two months later than the traditional timescale, to allow the team to carry out its biggest tour in a decade – visiting 17 countries in nine weeks.