Red Arrows return to Sidmouth tonight

The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5777-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5777-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Crowds are expected to pack onto the beach and the Esplanade to welcome back the Red Arrows this evening.

The aerobatic team made a triumphant return to Sidmouth last year after a nine year absence. Despite the less than sunny skies, spectators of all ages took up every inch of the seafront to watch the nine aircrafts flyby.

With the weather looking better this year, Sidmouth town clerk Christopher Holland said that Red 10 will be flying into Sidmouth by helicopter at 4.50pm.

Mike Ling, who is squadron leader for the display team, will be transported from Peak House, in Peak Hill, in the toast rack to the commentary box on the Esplanade. He will be arriving early to make final condition checks and to tell his team which display they will be performing.

Crowds are reminded to stay safe during the display by taking care near rock groynes, not standing on the Esplanade railings and being aware of traffic as they cross over the seafront.

To tie you over until 6.30pm, the Herald has looked up five facts about the display team.

1. The Royal Air Force brought its display teams together in 1964 to form one top unit. Taking the name from the Black Arrows team, the colour scheme of the Red Pelicans and the choice of the Gnat aircraft used by the Yellowjacks, the Red Arrows were born.

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2. By the end of 2015 the display team had flown 4,725 displays in 56 countries. In its first season in 1965 it performed with seven aircrafts at 65 shows.

3. The teams motto is Éclat which is French for excellence.

4. The Gnat completed 1,292 displays before being replaced by the BAE System Hawk T1 in 1979. The aircraft is 39ft in length with a wingspan of 9.4metres and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.2.

5. There are three types of display that the Arrows can choose to fly, either a full, rolling or flat.

The display depends on the clouds base. For the team to perform a full looping display the clouds must be above 5,500feet to avoid the aircraft entering the cloud when it reaches the top of the loop.

A cloud base higher than 2,500feet but less than 5,500feet will mean the team will perform a rolling display which include wing-overs and rolls rather than loops.

If lower than 2,500feet the team will fly a flat display which consists of a number of flypasts and steep turns.