Special Events

Official SIG Displays
for the
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 Gala Banquet.

College Hall, RAF CranwellA 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.

The Red Arrows at HendonWe 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.

Immediately after the Hendon Exhibition closed, it was partly transferred up to the RAF Museum at Cosford, for another showing there.

Cosford ExhibitionOur 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 !

The Aerobatic 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 history.

Home  ¦  SIG Details  ¦  About IPMS  ¦  Models Gallery  ¦  Features & Articles  ¦  Links  ¦  Contact  ¦  Members ONLY