Red Arrows: Noisy neighbours who drive up property prices

The Red Arrows take off three times a day in Lincolnshire.
The Red Arrows take off three times a day in Lincolnshire. Credit: ITV News

By ITV News Correspondent Damon Green

In winter and spring, the jets of the Red Arrows take off three times a day.

Three times a day the clear Lincolnshire skies are torn apart by the roaring of their engines; three times a day they race, spinning and rolling, trailing coloured smoke at low altitude over the flat farmland.

More: Dramatic daredevil flying: What's it like inside a Red Arrows jet?

But in the neighbouring village of Scampton, nobody complains. In fact, far from being considered a nuisance, these noisy neighbours actually drive up the value of property.

Because ever since the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team moved to RAF Scampton in 1965, aviation enthusiasts have been moving here too - drawn by the prospect of three displays a day, visible from the kitchen window.

A view from inside the cockpit of a Red Arrows jet.
A view from inside the cockpit of a Red Arrows jet. Credit: ITV News

In the air, what they can do is stunning. Twenty-one separate set-piece display moves, combining speed, power, precision and control - nine Hawk jets synchronised perfectly at over half the speed of sound.

Next month, at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire, they will mark 50 years of aviation excellence which has never wavered, and which is recognised across the world as a measure of British military expertise.

Next month the Red Arrows will mark 50 years of aviation excellence.
Next month the Red Arrows will mark 50 years of aviation excellence. Credit: ITV News

The pilots themselves are an elite within an elite. Drawn from the most experienced fast jet pilots of the Royal Air Force, they must have 1500 hours' flying time in a Typhoon or Tornado, and experience on operational missions in Iraq or Afghanistan just to make the long list of applicants.

Those who make the short list for selection take part in a series of summer exercises on Cyprus - and for every pilot accepted at the end of those two weeks of tests, assessments and interviews, two more are rejected.

And yet there is nothing arrogant about the young men in the red jumpsuits in the briefing room at Scampton. The parking lot outside has more Mazdas and Skodas than Mercedes and red motorcycles. These are quiet, modest men who drive family saloon cars, help you to a cup of tea in the mess room, and make conversation about the football.

It's easy to forget, seeing their extraordinary feats in the air, that the nine Red Arrows are just ordinary young men. But that is what they are - until Red One begins his quiet assessment of the day's objective, a sudden concentration settles over the eight faces in front of him, and the process begins which will seat each pilot in the cockpit of a Hawk jet and make him the master of the sky.