Red Arrows: RAF explain why display team will perform with eight pilots after using 9 for coronation flypast

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The aerobatic display team have revealed safety issues are behind flying in an eight plane formation

The RAF have revealed the Red Arrows will only fly with eight pilots for the rest of their aerobatic displays for 2023. It comes after the display team flew over Buckingham Palace as a group of nine during the coronation celebrations on Saturday (May 6).

It has been revealed the Red Arrows will continue to fly as a nine for all major flypasts which will include King Charles III’s birthday on June 17 and Wales National Armed Forces Day on June 24. However, the RAF have said that the team will only fly with eight pilots for any aerobatic displays for the rest of the 2023 season.

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The reasons behind the change were given by Wing Commander Collins during a social media video. He revealed that the decision to fly with eight pilots was around the safety and supervision of the aircraft.

During the video shared on the RAF and Red Arrows’ social media pages, Wing Commander Collins provided an insight into the new team’s training and how they were preparing for the 2023 season.

He said: “The decision to fly an eight-ship is a significant step after a challenging period. In the meantime, our entire team of over 140 dedicated personnel is working hard, together, to plan, prepare and perform a new dynamic display routine that will be seen and enjoyed by millions of people.

“I look forward to giving you more updates on this activity, as we intensify our pre-season training and can’t wait to see you at brilliant events in 2023.”

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The move to eight jets was made after the display team performed with only seven pilots during the 2022 display season. The reasoning for the slightly smaller team last year was down to the Red Arrows losing two of their crew members to other roles .

The last time the team flew as a seven formation was during the 2012 season with many displays normally taking place with eight or nine of the Hawk jets on display.

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