Interest

The Red Arrows – Origins of the World’s Greatest Aerobatic Display Team

We are really proud at Icarus Originals to work with the Red Arrows, as one of their official licensees and so we thought it would be good to give a bit of insight into the origins of the team.

The Royal Air Force Red Arrows have a special place in the hearts of the British public and have delighted crowds around the UK and indeed around the world for decades.  As famous as the ‘Reds’ are amongst aviation fans and the general public alike, less is known about their predecessors and how the Red Arrows came to be.

Early Years – Aerobatic Displays and the RAF

After World War 1, and a heightened public interest in aviation, there were a series of displays during the 1920s.  These included a pageant in 1920 featuring a number of squadrons, and notably the 1925 ‘London Defended’ display.  This event featured 32 Squadron flying specially-adapted Sopwith Snipes during a series of evening displays above the Wembley arena.  The event entailed:

  • Red painted aircraft with white lights fitted to the wings and tail to aid visibility.
  • The firing of blank ammunition.
  • The dropping of pyrotechnics into the arena coupled with explosions on the ground

Into the Jet Age

The post-war years were to see a plethora of unofficial and official display teams utilise a wide range of aircraft. The increasing sophistication of the available jets was to allow for a number of ‘firsts’, both in airmanship and technical innovation. Aircraft used in displays included:

  • De Havilland Vampires
  • Gloster Meteors
  • Hawker Hunters
  • English Electric Lightnings
  • BAC Jet Provosts
  • Folland Gnats

The first of what came to be the iconic smoke trails was utilised by No. 54 Squadron in the mid 1950s, whilst in 1956 No. 111 squadron became the official RAF team, flying Hawker Hunters.  For the first time, these aircraft sported a special all-black paint scheme, becoming known as the ‘Black Arrows’.

Official Teams

The Black Arrows became the first of a number of teams with specific names and liveries that were to originate from various RAF commands.  They achieved a world record in 1958 with a 22-ship formation performing a loop and barrel roll. The Black Arrows passed the mantle of display team to No. 92 Squadron, also flying Hunters, but now known as the Blue Diamonds.

The creation of the Red Arrows

During the early 1960s there were a number of display teams in addition to the Blue Diamonds, including the ‘Tigers’ and the ‘Firebirds’, both flying English Electric Lightnings.  By 1964 the ‘Red Pelicans’, a team of six BAC Jet Provosts became the leading display team for the Royal Air Force. Even so, that same year yet another team emerged when No. 4 Flying Training School sent a team of five Folland Gnats to perform at Farnborough.  This latter team would become known as the ‘Yellowjacks’.

RAF senior leadership became understandably concerned that a sizeable portion of their aircrew were spending more time practising for aerobatic displays, than for front line operational duties.  Hence in 1964 it was decided to amalgamate all the teams into one official unit – The Royal Air Force Red Arrows.

A Final Word – Why the Red Arrows?

The name Red Arrows comes from an amalgamation of “Red” from the Red Pelicans, and the heritage of the Black Arrows.  (If you’ve ever wondered why red was chosen as the team colour – aside from the name of course – then unsurprisingly it’s simply due to the higher visibility that colour confers to both aircrew and spectators. Also, it looks awesome!

  • Official Red Arrows Bracelet
    £45.00
  • Red Arrows Box Set reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Ultimate Gift Set
    £184.99
  • RAF Red Arrows Cufflinks made from Hawk T1 aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • Red Arrows Cufflink Gift Set made from Hawk T1 Aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Cufflinks Gift Set
    £169.99
  • Red Arrows Hawk T1 Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Mini Model
    £54.99
Interest

Three Interesting Facts about Planes

3 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Planes 

Planes have evolved a lot since their first inception. The vast technological advancements have created some of the best engineering designs that have defied air travel as we know it. 

Whether it’s through the creation of the Concorde airliner, which at its fastest speed – 1,354 mph – was twice faster than the speed of light. Or even the introduction of jet fighters such as the F-35 aircraft, whose major advances in aircraft design, avionics, and weapon systems have sky-rocketed the aircraft industry into a new generational shift of fighter aircraft and innovations never seen before… 

However, all of this aside, there are still a number of things you probably don’t know about this magnificent man-made machinery. Don’t believe us? Well, I can guarantee we’ll prove you wrong…

1) Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes 

For safety reasons, planes hit by lightning mid-flight undergo inspection after landing, but in most cases, the aircraft is either unharmed or sustains only minor damage.

The last commercial plane airliner that was struck by lightning, according to Scientific American, was in 1967. As a consequence of the strike, the plane’s fuel tank exploded. Since then, technological advancements have been developed to reduce this risk factor. 

Indeed, airplanes are highly intricate machines. As a result of technical wiring now implemented into planes, if a lightning strike does occur, it will typically strike a sharp edge of the plane – such as a wingtip or nose. This means that electrical charges from the lightning bolt will only ever prevail around the outside of the vessel, with the electrical wiring blocking the electromagnetic fields and protecting the interior from any voltage. 

Airline giants such as Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are amongst the few within the industry to introduce composite materials to reduce the overall electrical conductivity of the fuselage and wings to fully withstand any lightning strikes, should they occur. 

So for anyone traveling during a storm, there’s really no need to worry, right? 

2) You don’t need both engines to fly 

Ok, some of you may all be familiar with this one. 

As aforementioned, technological advancements have continued to increase the safety of airliners. They have been thoroughly manufactured and tested to withstand a range of external and internal elements that could affect the plane during flight. As such, engineers have to meticulously create a ‘back-up’ plan should fail occur. 

As such, airplanes can function with only one of their engines properly working. Whilst two-engines allow pilots to reach higher altitudes, save fuel, and reach high speeds due to a reduction in friction if one engine fails then the plane can still continue to fly to safety! An engine failure does mean that the plane is going to have less power and will be forced to fly at a lower altitude – warranting an emergency landing. 

The same can be said for those larger commercial liners such as the Boeing 747 – equipped with 4 engines. From a safety perspective, it is not that dangerous if one engine completely fails. Pilots have reported flying a 747 with one engine malfunctioning and continuing to the destination. Both he and his 416 passengers lived to tell the tale. 

3) There is not really the safest seat on the plane 

As a general rule of thumb, there is no safe seat on a plane. 

While plane crashes on jetliners are rare, researchers have conducted tests to analyse where is the safest location on a plane itself. In 2012, researchers decided to take an uncrewed Boeing 727, fill it with crash test dummies and cameras, and fly it into the Mexican Desert.  

As expected, the results indicated that there was no safe seat on the airliner. However, passengers at the back were recorded to have less severe injuries to those located at the front of the airliner or in the cockpit. These findings align with a TIME study of plane accidents which concluded that the middle seats in the back of the plane had the lowest fatality rate in a crash. Their research indicated that the back of the aircraft had a 32% fatality rate, compared with 39% in the middle and 38% in the front third. Although, with so many variables at play, it’s difficult to draw a definitive conclusion. 

But don’t worry, crashes are incredibly rare. So on that note, enjoy your next flight!! 

Icarus Originals

For those plane-enthusiasts amongst us, At Icarus Originals, we have a range of bespoke and handmade plane cufflinks and mini models – the perfect bespoke gift or collectible item for those with a genuine passion for aviation. 

Taken from some of the most iconic aircraft that defined their generation and changed the landscape of aircraft technology as we know it, At Icarus Originals, we have afforded you the opportunity to own a slice of aviation history…

Whether you are seeking some speed and searching for a Concorde cufflink taken from the genuine aluminum of the fastest model of its kind, or from the fastest jet fighter of its generation – the F-35A, At Icarus, we have the perfect bespoke gift for your loved ones.  All our plane cufflinks and mini models blend high tech design with the best of traditional British craftsmanship.

Shop our range now to find a collectible or gift that will last a lifetime.

  • 747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY Cufflinks
    747-436 G-CIVY Mini Model
    £54.99
  • 747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY Cufflinks
    747-436 G-CIVY Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • 747 4q8 tinkerbelle bracelet g-vbig
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Bracelet
    £45.00

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.