This year, the Red Arrows will embark on a special display season – not only wowing crowds up and down the UK with their dynamic displays, but also painting the skies of North America red, white, and blue during their largest EVER tour of the US and Canada.
And in the run up to the first display over the pond,we wanted to find out all things Red Arrows from the team themselves and Squadron Leader Steve Morris, aka. Red 5, was only too happy to give us an extensive interview. Currently in his first season on his return to the team, Red 5 has told us how to become a Red Arrows pilot and what it’s really like to be part of the world renowned Red Arrows…
How long does it take to prepare the display and train to public display level?
We start our winter training in October, and the team’s development is like building blocks – we don’t display as a 9 straight away. We practice as 3 aircraft together, and then build up to 4, and then 5 – that’s ‘Enid’. Reds 6 through 9, the back 4, will be doing the same. It’s only in February that we’ll put the 2 sections together. So it takes 4 to 5 months before we’re there as a 9, and then another 2 and a bit months of us flying as 9 until we get up to the standard that we would expect to be for the display season.
What happens if one pilot is unable to take part in the display? Do you have reserve pilots?
We would display as an 8. The only caveat is if the Team Leader (Red 1) is unavailable, we can’t display. At some sites, Red 6, 7, 8 and 9 (the back 4) might go and do their second half performance where they do their hide speed passes, but we wouldn’t display as a 9. We practice as an 8 in case anyone is ever missing, and we try and keep it as symmetrical as possible.
‘we get to meet so many extraordinary people’
What’s the best thing about being a Red Arrow?
For me, it’s the ground interactions that you have with people. Earlier this year, when we were operating from Farnborough, we bumped into a 90-year old Dakota pilot who was there to be with his grandson, who is now a fast jet pilot, and he came over to us and had a cup of tea and a chat – we get to meet so many extraordinary people that you would never meet if you weren’t doing this job.
How does the Hawk T1 compare to other fast jets you’ve flown?
It’s a bit like a sports car, but think track-day kit car. There isn’t much on the inside in terms of modern technology, but let’s not forget the jet’s 40 years old! There aren’t things like a moving map, synthetic weapons and head-up display, so if you compare it to the difference between an Aston Martin and a Westfield Kit Car, it’s probably actually more fun flying the Hawk, but there isn’t as much avionics inside the cockpit.
What is the first manoeuvre you learn as a Red Arrows?
You start with what are our ‘basics’ of flying. I know it sounds odd, but as everything is called by the Team Leader, you need to work on everything, so start with left and right bends. Then you progress to do a standard loop, in one of our formation references which is called ‘Battle’, but you’re a little bit further away from the nearest airplane than what the public will see when we display – which is a good thing when you start practicing! Then you’ll move on to more challenging loops and rolls, and then you start to build it up, getting closer adding more airplanes on. Then, finally, you start to change shapes, moving from one formation to another.
What is the Red Arrows selection process like, and how were you selected?
Everyone who’s on the team has to apply to be on the team, so we’re all volunteers. In order to apply you have to have 1500 fast jet hours, you have to have been assessed as ‘above-average’, and you have to have done an operational tour. We get about 30 applicants each year, shortlisted down to about 9 – based on a flying record that we all have as pilots – and then for a week-long period the 9 shortlisted candidates come and spend a week with us, normally out in Cyprus or Greece where they are asked to perform a flying test, which includes loops and rolls. There’s also a formal interview, and a PR interview – where you’re put in front of a camera. But the biggest thing by far is peer assessment – how do you fit in? – not just with the 9 display pilots, but we have 130 engineers and display staff. You need to fit in with everyone. You could be the best pilot in the world but if you’re going to upset the team dynamic slightly, you’re not right for the Red Arrows.
If you are interested…
You can now own the Official Red Arrows North America Tour Medal, the very same that the Red Arrows own themselves! Click here to find out more >>
Can you believe it, England have only gone and won the Cricket World Cup for the very first time.
The history-making England Cricket Team beat New Zealand in a dramatic final at Lord’s which will go down as one of the most amazing games of cricket ever played.
The boys have done the nation proud and tributes to England’s cricketing heroes have been pouring in across the country.
If you’re looking for the perfect way to celebrate and remember this important sporting occasion in our history, then we have an incredible range of commemoratives available.
Please note, since England’s magnificent win we have experienced a huge spike in collector demand and numbers are now limited across the range. It is advised that you secure your favourites as soon as possible to avoid missing out.
The Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 50p Coin Set
*** OVER 85% SOLD ***
If you’re a 50p fan then this set is for you. This fantastic set features five new specially commissioned designs that have been fully approved by the ICC and Buckingham Palace.
The coins come packaged in Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 packaging, meaning you can keep them safe for generations to come. And perhaps most importantly, this set is the only way you can own all five 50p coins in superior Brilliant Uncirculated Quality. Other than the Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Logo coin none are available to purchase individually.
There is now less than 15% remaining of the 9,995 worldwide edition limit and these are selling quickly. If you’d like to secure one for your collection then you’ll need to be fast. Click here to order yours >>
The 2019 England Cricket DateStamp™
This brand new DateStamp™ provides you with an extremely limited way to own the highly sought-after UK Cricket 10p and capture this historic Cricket World Cup Final Day forever.
The 10p comes protectively encapsulated in a tamper-proof capsule and will be officially postmarked by Royal Mail with the Cricket World Cup final date – 14th July 2019. Only 2,019 will ever be postmarked with this special day and as such these are proving extremely popular amongst collectors.
This is the ultimate memento to celebrate England becoming Cricket World Champions for the first time. Don’t miss out – order yours here >>
The England Cricket 2019 Winners Medal
The boys have only gone and done it! And what better way to celebrate than with the brand new England Cricket 2019 Winners Medal.
Expertly plated in 24 Carat Gold, the ‘England Winners’ design is beautifully brought to life in vivid full-colour detail. The medal comes complete in a Deluxe Presentation Case with accompanying Certificate of Authenticity, meaning you can cherish it for years to come.
Only 2,019 have been issued and these are unsurprisingly flying out. A sell-out is expected so order yours today while they’re still available >>
The Cricket 2019 Commemorative Coin Cover
If you’re a stamp collector then this would make the perfect memento for you! This special Commemorative Cover features the complete set of 1973 Royal Mail Cricket Stamps, the second ever sports-related stamps to have been issued, alongside the 2nd Class ‘Three Lions’ Definitive Stamp.
These are paired with the new ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Logo 50p Coin and the stamps have been officially postmarked by the Royal Mail on the first day of the Cricket World Cup tournament. Due to the stamps’ limited availability, only 1,000 covers have been issued for worldwide distribution.
These have already proven extremely popular with collectors and cricket fans alike, so order yours today to avoid missing out >>
The Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 50p
The Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 50p coin has been struck to a Brilliant Uncirculated quality – a superior finish sought-after by collectors.
It has been fully approved by the ICC and features the Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Logo on the reverse design. This is the perfect piece if you’re new to collecting or looking for a fantastic addition to your 50p collection.
Housed in Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 packaging this is a great way to remember what has turned out to be a truly historic tournament. Find out more and orders yours today >>
JUST ANNOUNCED: Brand NEW Royal Mail Stamps to be released to celebrate England’s historic win…
This special stamp issue will be available late Summer 2019. If you’d like to be one of the first-in-the-know, then please register your interest below and we’ll be in touch as soon as they go on sale.
I can still remember crawling under my bed sheets as a child at night armed with a torch, and reading, fascinated, about the adventures of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy – the Famous Five – as they set off in their rowing boat to explore Kirrin Island and uncover shipwrecked gold, stumbling into all sorts of hijinks and thwarting crime in the process.
I still have that copy of the Famous Five’s first adventure, Five on a Treasure Island – now passed on to my children and, I hope, one day to my grandchildren.
But for me – and I’m sure for the many Famous Five lovers across the world – the joy of the “Five” novels is more than just the story.
Part of it is, of course, the beauty of the illustrations bringing the words to life. But it’s also the classic design of the books’ front covers, instantly recognisable and perfectly sized for a child’s hands. Books that are cherished as collectable in their own right.
And that’s why I have been so excited over the last few months to be able to work personally on an exclusive and highly collectable representation of Five on a Treasure Island. Something I’m confident will be passed from children to grandchildren in years to come, just like my battered family copy of the Famous Five.
Authenticity, heritage and limited edition
That’s because, for the very first time, the actual book fronts of the Famous Five novels are being faithfully reproduced on a series of Limited Edition Silver-Plated Ingots.
As you can see from the enclosed photos above and below, the first Ingot is a perfect limited edition recreation of the Five on a Treasure Island book cover, including the original coloured illustration that you, I, and many generations of children have grown up to love.
Throughout the process, authenticity and heritage have been paramount. And that’s still the case when you turn your Five on a Treasure Island Ingot over. As you do so, you reveal the words: “There was something else out on the sea by the rocks – something dark that seemed to lurch out of the waves… What could it be?” – the very text from one of the book’s most dramatic scenes.
Importantly, each Ingot has been struck to the very highest standards. The ingots themselves have been specially created to match the exact proportions of the original book and are finished with fine silver-plate.
Your invitation to SAVE £10.00 when you order today
Today, I would like to personally invite you to own the Five on a Treasure Island Silver-Plated Ingot for JUST £9.99 – an exclusive SAVING for you of £10.00.
Since it was first published in 1942, over 100 million copies of the Famous Five series have been sold. Today, two million copies of the books are still sold each year! And that’s when you realise where the collectible significance of this newly released Silver-Plated Ingot lies.
Only 9,995 ingots have been authorised.
Almost certainly,that’s far from enough for all the Famous Five lovers in Britain, let alone the rest of the world.