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
    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
New Products

G-CIVY: The last BA 747 to depart London Heathrow

 – why her story isn’t quite over –

Final Departure from Heathrow

BA 747-436 G-CIVY became the last BA 747 to depart Heathrow (with sister aircraft G-CIVB) on the morning of 8th October 2020. In overcast and drizzly conditions, she carried out a flypast of the airfield before setting course for St. Athan, near Cardiff, where she was scrapped in December 2020.

Twenty-two years of service

G-CIVY first flew on 25th September 1998 and was delivered to her British Airways London Heathrow base four days later. Her Manufacturer Serial Number was 28853. Her final revenue (cargo) flight, as BAW192, landed at Heathrow from Dallas Fort Worth on 5th April 2020, when she was withdrawn from service and entered storage having accumulated over 90,000 flight hours.

Heathrow, United Kingdom – August 03 2019: British Airways Boeing 747-436 registration G-CIVY, flight number BA217 departs Heathrow airport en route to Washington seen from Myrtle Avenue

Origins of the 747

The 747 was the result of the work of some 50,000 Boeing people. Called ‘the Incredibles’, these were the construction workers, mechanics, engineers, secretaries and administrators who made aviation history by building the 747 — the largest civilian aeroplane in the world — in roughly 16 months during the late 1960s. The incentive for creating the 747 jumbo jet came from reductions in airfares, a surge in air-passenger traffic and increasingly crowded skies. As the world’s first wide-body jetliner, the 747 revolutionized air travel becoming known as the ‘Queen of the Skies’, cementing Boeing’s dominance in the passenger aircraft market.

747-400 facts

The 747-400 rolled out in 1988. It was truly monumental in size and required construction of the 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-meter) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Washington, the world’s largest building (by volume). The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 meters) long; the tail as tall as a six-storey building. Its wingspan is 212 feet (64 meters), and it has 6-foot-high (1.8-meter-high) ‘winglets’ on the wingtips. Pressurized, it carried a ton of air. The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes. The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

BA and the 747-400 series

British Airways was one of the Boeing 747’s earliest customers and the world’s largest operator of the jumbo jets. Having operated 15 BOAC 747s following BOAC’s merger with BEA, the British Airways that we know today took delivery of its first 747 in 1974.

The airline’s first 747-400 was delivered in June 1989. Over the years, British Airways operated a total of 57 Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Deliveries of British Airways 747-400s took place for ten years until April 1999.

On 16 July 2020, British Airways announced it was immediately retiring the remaining Boeing 747-400 aircraft. BA had originally intended to phase out the last 747s by 2024 but brought the plans forward in part due to the downturn in air-travel following the COVID-19 pandemic and to focus on replacing the 747 with the more fuel-efficient Airbus A350, Airbus A380, and Boeing 787.

747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY
747 436 British Airways Boeing GCIVY

Continuing the Journey – Icarus Originals and Aerotiques

Prior to her final demolition, sections from the port and starboard rear fuselage were removed. These were acquired by Aerotiques Ltd to produce unique items. Icarus Originals has been entrusted with some of this reclaimed material to manufacture this special range of BA 747-436 G-CIVY cufflinks and desktop models in association with Aerotiques.  These have been produced by melting down the original airframe aluminium and recasting (using the lost wax method) ensuring this iconic aeroplane will live on beyond her retirement.

To find out more about 747-436, G-CIVY and the production process please visit our Original Icons section or click here.

British Airways 747-436 G-CIVY Mini Model

Own a piece of BA 747 history with this model made from aluminium recovered from BA 747-436 G-CIVY.

Created in partnership with Aerotiques, these limited edition mini models feature a perfect replica of a 747 cast from fuselage aluminium recovered from the last BA 747 to leave London Heathrow – 747-436, G-CIVY.

Set on a laser engraved plaque which pays tribute to BA’s famous ‘Oneworld’ design, each of these mini models has been handmade and polished in the UK.

Get your mini model today and continue the journey of this aviation icon.

  • 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

Own a piece of BA 747 history with these cufflinks made from aluminium recovered from BA 747-436 G-CIVY.

Created in partnership with Aerotiques, these limited edition cufflinks are a perfect replica of a 747 cast from fuselage aluminium recovered from the last BA 747 to leave London Heathrow – 747-436, G-CIVY.

Individually cast, each of these cufflinks has been handmade and polished in the UK.

Get your cufflinks today and continue the journey of this aviation icon.

Special Occasions

Our 2021 Top Father’s Day Gifts

Fathers Day Banner
Fathers Day Banner

With Father’s day just around the corner, we thought we’d highlight some gifts that might appeal to men that might be a little more tough to buy for. There’s no shortage of gifts out there, but finding something unique can be tough. With that in mind, keep reading for our top gift ideas based around the three things most dads love – trains, planes and automobiles.

Planes

Officially Licensed Red Arrows Range

We’ve all missed seeing the Reds in action over the past year, and in time with them recently securing public display authority, you can give your father the perfect red arrows memento with a piece of the teams Hawk T1 jet. 

Officially licenced by the Royal Air Force and made from aluminium reclaimed from a former Red Arrows Hawk, this beautifully rendered bracelet is a unique gift combining iconic aviation history with modern wristwear suitable for any occasion.

If a bracelet isn’t his thing, why not check out the other items in this range such as the Limited Edition Cufflinks or Mini Model that we currently have available.

  • Official Red Arrows Bracelet
    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
  • Concorde Cufflink Gift Set made from Concorde Aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Cufflinks
    £174.99
  • Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model
    £54.99

Concorde G-AXDN Range

If you’re after something a little more formal than a bracelet, and maybe want something supersonic to boot, what could be better than gifting a piece of the fastest ever Concorde to that special man in your life? 

These limited edition cufflinks are made from aluminium reclaimed from Concorde G-AXDN, perfectly capturing one of the greatest icons of aviation history.

We aren’t wearing cufflinks very much at present, so make sure you’ve come prepared with some super(sonic) special ones for the next cufflink wearing opportunity.

If Cufflinks aren’t his thing, why not take a look at the Mini Model we have to offer instead.

Trains

InterCity 125 Range

If the Father figure in your life ever spent any time as a long distance commuter, the chances are he spent a lot of time on the InterCity 125.

Still soldiering on almost 50 years since its inception, capture a piece of this legendary train with a Mini Model or set of our Cufflinks cast from aluminium reclaimed from one of the InterCity’s carriages.  

  • HST InterCity125 Model
    HST InterCity125 Model
    £59.99
  • Aluminium, Icarus Originals, Gift, Gift for Him, Christmas, Fathers Day, Birthday, Present, Enthusiast, Accessories, Jewellery, Icon, reclaimed, upcycled, Silver, military, air force, royal air force, militaria, memorabilia cufflinks, wristwear, watch accessory, formal dress, shirt, Cuff Links Train, Rail, Railway, Industry, Track, Locomotion, Locomotive, express High speed train, InterCity 125
    HST InterCity 125 Cufflinks
    £134.99

Automobiles

  • E-Type Pin Badge
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Pin Badge
    £69.99
  • 1961 Series 1 Jaguar E-type Cufflinks made from reclaimed EType Aluminium
    1961 Series 1 E-Type Cufflinks
    £174.99

E-Type Cufflinks

Enzo Ferrari called the E-Type “the most beautiful car in the world”.

Just like Concorde, the E Type is a well known British icon and 2021 marks its 60th anniversary.

What better way to celebrate the “Father” in your life than by presenting him with a pair of limited edition cufflinks melted down from the pistons of an original 1961 Series 1 Coupe!

DeLorean DMC 12 Range

2021 also marks the 40th anniversary of the DMC DeLorean, which is also well known for its role as Doc’s Time Machine in the Back to the Future Trilogy. 

He will have very likely seen and loved the Back to the Future movies like the rest of us, so we don’t need to say too much more other than how 1.21 GW cool it’d be for him to own products made from an original DeLorean car.

If you’re clued up on your DeLorean’s you’ll know that they were notable for being made with Stainless Steel; our products are cast from aluminium reclaimed from part of the wheel.

  • delorean dmc aluminium bracelet
    DeLorean Bracelet
    £45.00
  • DMC Back to the Future DeLorean Cufflinks
    DeLorean Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • DMC DeLorean Model
    DeLorean Model
    £59.99
  • DeLorean Time Machine Bracelet
    DeLorean Time Machine Bracelet
    £45.00
  • DMC Back to the Future DeLorean Cufflinks
    DeLorean Time Machine Cufflinks
    £134.99
  • DMC DeLorean Back to the Future Model
    DeLorean Time Machine Model
    £59.99

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New Products

Introducing our Aviation Mini Models

Introducing our Exclusive New Mini Model Products….

“A souvenir memento, keepsake, or a token of remembrance…All our range of aviation mini models are a tangible representation of an iconic design that has defined history.” 

As you try to come up with a thoughtful gift, you should consider all the things that define the receiver. Naturally that is going to include hobbies. A truly thoughtful gift often transcends what is clearly visible on the outside, showing the recipient that their inner qualities are recognised and appreciated. 

With this being said, we are delighted to announce the introduction of our range of mini models, complementing our existing range of bespoke and sentimental one-of-a-kind products in store. Handmade and crafted by master jewellers here in the UK, these mini profiles are created from an assortment of aviation designs that were the first of their lineage and defied air travel as we know it! 

Whether you are an aviation enthusiast or shopping for someone who has an affiliation with any of our unique airplane designs, these gifts provide the perfect opportunity to own a piece of aviation history. Whether it’s the Concorde G-AXDN mini model, representing the fastest plane to grace the skies, or the Vulcan XH558, a plane that has been instrumental in British warfare, each piece has its own backstory that the owner will truly appreciate. 

Thanks to our partnership with the UK ministry of Defence, we were able to produce five truly unique and beautiful mini models cast from melted down parts reclaimed for their historic aircraft. By combining our skill in the field of design and production, together with the unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the ministry of defence, we were able to create finely crafted renderings of each design. We believe these products are a great way to support these aircrafts and is an ideal gift or memoriam of a lost love-one or a treasured memento of some of the most iconic designs ever produced here in the UK. These include; 

Official Red Arrows Mini Model

  • Officially licensed by the UK Ministry of Defence, this striking mini model commemorates the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows. Made using aluminium reclaimed from the airframe of a Hawk T1 that formerly flew as part of the famous squad, every piece of this mini model has been crafted in the UK. 
  • Mounted on a serialised laser etched stand in the red, white and blue of the team and supplied with a certificate of authenticity, this is the ultimate high-flying desk accessory.

Concorde G-AXDN Mini Model 

  • This Concorde mini model is made from the genuine air intake assembly of Concorde 101 (G-AXDN). Produced in collaboration with Duxford Aviation Society (DAS), this mini model comes mounted on a serialised, laser etched base and is supplied with a certificate of authenticity.

Key product details

  • 100% designed, made and finished in the UK.
  • Cast from the genuine Hiduminium aluminium alloy of Concorde G-AXDN (Concorde 101 – the fastest ever Concorde).
  • Hand polished by jewellery finishers to a mirror shine.
  • Presented in a high-quality box with gold foil embossed certificate of authenticity,
  • Limited to a worldwide production of 4,500.
  • Product dimensions (unboxed) 85mm x 60mm x 35mmm.

Tornado GR1 ZA326 Mini Model

  • Created in partnership with the Panavia Tornado Preservation Group (PTPG), this ‘mini model’ captures a beautiful rendering of Tornado ZA326 atop a serialised laser etched base.  Made from genuine airframe aluminium recovered from the aircraft, this model allows you to own a small piece of aviation history.
  • Icarus Originals are proud to support both the Panavia Tornado Preservation Group and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.  For every ZA326 mini model sold, we will donate £5 of the purchase price to each organisation to help them continue their vital work.
  • Red Arrows Hawk T1 Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Official Red Arrows Mini Model
    £54.99
  • Tornado GR4 ZG750 Mini Model in reclaimed aluminium
    Tornado GR4 “Pinky” Mini Model
    £54.99