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Posted on Oct 22, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Farnborough International 2004

Armchair General


The flying display was of course the highlight of the event, and what better way to open the display than with the RAF Red Arrows flight formation team?

With nine pilots flying Hawk trainer jets, the Red Arrows are a spectacular sight to behold and I never tire of seeing them.

Here are eight of them, what you can’t see is the ninth plane which was slowly orbiting the others as they flew along.

Red Arrows

A great shot of the entire squadron.

Red Arrows

And another – notice the tightness of their formation.


Red Arrows

This is the classic “Diamond Nine” formation. The accuracy of their station-keeping is incredible – they manage to keep the formation as accurately as you see here even though they are sweeping up and over and across the airfield.

Red Arrows

Here, five of the Arrows split off whilst the other four set themselves up for various stunts.

Red Arrows

The next planes over were the three historic aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Consisting of a Lancaster Bomber, Spitfire and Hurricane Fighters. Here’s the Lancaster flying solo – the only one still flying in the UK. It was great to see the old lady up there looking as good as new.


And here are all three planes together. The Spitfire is on the left. It’s one of the later versions of that classic plane – you can tell by the clipped wingtips.

BoB Memorial Flight

This is a massive American B1-B swing-wing Bomber that paid us a visit after the Battle of Britain flight had departed. At one stage, the pilot swept the wings back and gave us a demonstration of the speed and power commanded by his plane. I would hate to be on the receiving end of an attack by one of these.


Having established myself an excellent position at the end of the runway, opposite the taxiway and near to where the planes began their takeoff runs, I was in a perfect position to see these aircraft in all their glory from relatively closeup. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether getting the full force of the exhaust blast was worth it – but I recommend taking earplugs if you are going to go to this sort of event. For example, here’s an F-16 taxiing for take-off. This was by far the loudest plane of the entire Airshow – when the engine throttled up for take-off, it felt like I had ten people inside my head screaming at me to be let out.


Here’s the same fighter in flight.


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