Official SIG Displays
Red Arrows 40th Season, 2004
The R.A.F. Red Arrows celebrated
their 40th display season in 2004.
The occasion was
marked, not by one particular big event or airshow, but by a series of
different events throughout the year. Our SIG was extremely honoured to have
been asked by the Red Arrows, to participate in their 40th display
season. Our specific involvement was to provide some of our models for three
separate Official events during the year :
The official launch
of the season was a private Gala Day, held at RAF Cranwell on Friday 21st May
2004, attended by many dignitaries from the RAF and foreign air forces, Members
of Parliament, ex-Team members and numerous other VIPs. We were asked to supply
a selection of models of RAF display teams, as table "centrepieces" for the
A number of
our SIG members "pooled" our models of RAF teams and set about building 15
special "domed" display cases for the occasion : Each case contained three
1/72nd scale models, representing a history of RAF display teams through the
ages. Each model also had a namecard on the rim of the dome, detailing the team
name, aircraft type and year(s) of existence.
We were invited to the Gala Day, where we
delivered the completed dome cases and placed them on the banquet tables in
College Hall, RAF Cranwell. Then, before the banquet took place, we were
treated to a "private" display by the 2004 Red Arrows and had a chance
to meet them, along with several ex-team members and ex-leaders, during a
photocall on the tarmac around their Hawk aircraft.
Following the Gala
Day, the next event was a special Red Arrows 40th Anniversary Exhibition
at the RAF Museum, Hendon.
We were asked
for our models to also be included in that exhibition, albeit without the dome
cases. These were set up by a couple of our SIG members, just prior to the the
official opening of the exhibition, on Tuesday 25th May 2004. The Red
Arrows themselves were in attendence for the exhibition opening, but this
time, not performing a flying display, so it was somewhat more relaxed and gave
us a little more time to meet and chat to them again.
The models were arranged in a secure glass
display case provided by the Museum. Only having one display case meant that
there was not room for all of the models that were originally displayed in the
dome cases, so we picked a selection that would illustrate a selection of
colours and "shapes", as well as history. We made some special signs to go in
the case and a namecard for each model, explaining briefly what team it
represented, what aircraft type it was and the year(s) that team existed.
The Hendon Exhibition ran for 7 weeks,
closing mid-July 2004.
the Hendon Exhibition closed, it was partly transferred up to the RAF Museum at
Cosford, for another showing there.
Our models were retrieved
from the Hendon display by one of our members, who drove straight up to Cosford
to install them once again on the Exhibition display there. The Cosford
Exhibition was centred around the ex-Red Arrows Gnat (XR977) that they
have had on display there for years. Although overall, the Exhibition was a
somewhat smaller affair than the one at Hendon, the Cosford Museum actually
allocated three display cases for our models, which meant that all the
models that had previously been in the dome cases for the Gala Day Banquet,
could now be displayed at Cosford. Once again the signs were included in the
display cases, along with name/info cards for every model.
The Cosford Exhibition ran for about two
months, after which all our models were retrived and (eventually !) returned to
their individual SIG member owners.
By way of a
"postscript" to all this, as a "reward" for our hard work, our SIG Members were
treated to a special "VIP" visit with the Red Arrows at their home base
of RAF Scampton later in the year.
We spent most of the day with the team,
where we watched them on a few practice sorties, sat in on the pre-flight
briefings and the post-flight debriefings, had lunch with all the Squadron
members and had a personal tour of the Hawk aircraft, the hanger and
maintenance facilities by JEng0, Flt. Lt. Si Race. We were also presented with
a framed, signed lithograph from the 2004 40th Anniversary Team !
Display Teams SIG would like to express our gratitude to the Red Arrows,
especially Flt. Lt. Howard Leader and the team's P.R. Officer, Rachel Huxford,
for inviting us to be a part of these important events in the team's
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