Eleven jets from the Red Arrows aerobatic team have left their Lincolnshire base bound for the Squadron’s annual overseas training – known as Exercise Springhawk.
The Hawk aircraft took off from RAF Scampton and flew to Germany for refuelling, before continuing to Albania and staying overnight in Tirana this evening.
It is the first time the Squadron has formally visited the country and will provide a chance for the team to meet military officers and NATO partners in Albania. The aircraft will then complete the transit to Greece tomorrow.
For the next five weeks, the team – including pilots, engineers and other support personnel – will operate from Tanagra, an Helenic Air Force base, as they prepare for the 2016 season.
The annual training sees the Red Arrows fly three times a day, five days a week, to perfect their performance.
The overseas location provides the better weather which is essential to enable the team to practice and polish the 2016 display, which will be seen by millions of people this summer. It will be the Red Arrows’ 52nd display season since the first in 1965.
Exercise Springhawk is the final part of the pre-season preparation and is also when senior Royal Air Force officers assess the team and decide whether to give approval for the Red Arrows to display in front of the public – known as Public Display Authority (PDA).
It is hoped the Red Arrows will attain PDA at the end of April before returning to the UK. Fore more information on the Red Arrows click here