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More than 50 crack pilots apply to join the Red Arrows every year. Only three of them are successful.

Those who do succeed become part of a flying legend which has been wowing crowds all over the world since 1965.

They may perform everywhere from Southend to Saudi Arabia, but the assignment isn’t a holiday. The team flies hundreds of sorties a year, and many more practice runs to perfect the display.

Since their inception, the Red Arrows have done more than 3500 shows.

There are nine regular pilots and co-pilots, but they wouldn’t be able to do a thing if it wasn’t for the Blues, the ground support.

Though they have little time on their hands during summer weekends, several pilots seek even more thrills on bikes. Sqdn Ldr Andy Offer has a ZX-6R and said: ” I ride from home to the base every day and it’s not just because it’s more convenient than a car – I love it. Most of the lads here are into bikes, and many of them went down to Brands Hatch last week. ”

Maybe he’ll try and tap up Corser for a go on his works Aprilia RSV…



Rolls-Royce Mk15/02 turbofan


5200lb thrust


£6 million (plus £2 million per pilot)


Aluminium bonded structure


30ft, 10in (9.40m)

Max speed

Over 700mph



Max flying ceiling


MCN Staff

By MCN Staff