The count down to the return of the annual Great Pacific Airshow has begun with a visit from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force Red Arrows. One of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams, the Red Arrows have performed almost 5,000 times in 57 countries since 1965. The Pacific Airshow, Oct. 4 – 6, will mark the Red Arrow’s Southern California debu.
The team is currently perfecting and polishing their Huntington Beach display in Greece but Red Arrow’s advance team members were in town making preparations and their public relations manager, Andy Morton, was excited to share what’s in store for us.
“I won’t give too much away but there are certainly one or two maneuvers that have a definitive acknowledgement to the US and will also celebrate the many aerospace anniversaries going on this year,” Andy said with a knowing smile. “There is also one maneuver, which is very British, but I think American audiences will absolutely love it.”
The display changes every single year and is choreographed by team leader, Red 1. Their highly anticipated program, which is about 25 minutes of continuous showmanship, is split into two parts. The first half has really big, graceful formation shapes with all nine BAE Systems Hawk fast-jets in the air. Then the formation will split into smaller teams for the second half. That’s when it really shifts up a gear and we will see some high dynamic speeds and maneuvers including opposition passes, synchronizations, and jets reaching g-forces up to 8 g.
Their performance this October will mark the squad's Southern California debut and the last time the team performed on the west coast was in 1993 in San Francisco. During this deployment the Red Arrows will also help to support a range of British interests and promote trade and cooperation, as part of the United Kingdom’s prosperity agenda.
“Obviously for us we were keen to cover both east and west coasts of the United States when planning out this years tour. But the Great Pacific Airshow is now one of the largest in the country, so it was an easy choice, and has been proven by the friendly welcome and reception that we’ve received even in these early planning stages,” Andy shared.
Making the most of the special relationship between our two nations, this year’s event will be the pinnacle of our great partnership with the UK and one of the biggest tours in a generation for the Red Arrows. The pilots draw inspiration from the support and waves from the crowds watching below and can’t wait to perform and say hello to everyone in the air and on the ground.
This was team manager, Doug Smith’s first time in Huntington Beach and he explains, “Where I come from in the northern part of Scotland, we have fantastic beaches up there too but here the beaches go for as far as the eye can see. It’s really quite amazing.”
Last year, the Great Pacific Airshow, produced by Huntington Beach-based Code Four, attracted more than two million attendees, making it one of the largest air shows in the United States, and was named by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds the 2018 Civilian Show Site of the Year. We can’t wait to see the Red Arrows and the other many great performances that are sure to happen at this October 4-6, 2019.