RAF Red Arrows Impress at MCAS Miramar During Their Farthest Show from Home.

The RAF Red Arrows perform a dramatic crossover maneuver at MCAS Miramar near San Diego, California. (All images: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

Dignified and Reverent, The RAF Red Arrows Bring Elegance and Spectacle to Show.

In their first ever flying display at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, wowed a massive crowd of over 200,000 spectators with a stunning low altitude display of coordinated aerobatics and unique formation flying.

The Red Arrows stopped at MCAS Miramar as a part of their 11-week, 25-show 2019 North American tour. This show is the farthest-west flying display in the 55-year history of the team. The team is flying two full demonstrations at MCAS Miramar, one each on Saturday September 28, and Sunday, September 29, 2019.

The 2019 Red Arrows North American Tour, “Promotes the best of Britain and deepens relationships with Canada and the United States,” according the Red Arrows’ spokesmen.

A marvelously precise knife edge pass.

Beyond the official press releases, the “Reds” won the favor of a large crowd at MCAS Miramar with their poise and approachability, hosting a massive meet and greet under the shadow of their Airbus Defense A400M transport before their flight demonstration. During the public social, team members signed autographs, answered questions and came out from behind the crowd barriers to mix in with the crowd for handshakes and selfies. The crew of their A400M signed profile prints of the aircraft for fans and sold team patches while handing out color guidebooks showcasing the team’s history, aircraft, maneuvers and members.

All of the Red Arrow maneuvers were new to U.S. air show fans.

If the poise and approachability of the Red Arrows won the favor of fans in the prelude social, it was their flying that truly impressed a tough crowd with many U.S. Marines and their families at MCAS Miramar. By the end of the show, the pilots would receive a standing ovation from the crowd line as they deplaned and walked through the massive airshow audience back to their team area, shaking hands and posing for photos the entire way.

Weather conditions at MCAS Miramar for their 2019 airshow have been mixed, with all practice and arrival days leading up to the first public display day for the Red Arrows featuring dull skies and low ceilings. But the bright red livery and billowing red, white and blue smoke of the Red Arrows shone brightly against the grey cloud cover at Miramar.

The Red Arrows begin their takeoff roll in a haze of bio-friendly red smoke.

In contrast to the other major jet display team flying at the 2019 MCAS Miramar Airshow, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the Red Arrows flew a program without music, which is their normal practice. The narration was animated by frequent radio calls from the cockpit of the team leader, Red 1, Squadron Leader Martin Pert. Narration from the ground team described a unique set of maneuvers new to most U.S. airshow audiences that included spectacular crossover maneuvers like the “Reds 6-9 Break”. Maneuvers were also dedicated with specific names commemorating events and noteworthy pilots in RAF history.

Red Arrows squadron leader Martin Pert climbs out of his BAE Hawk at MCAS Miramar following his arrival.

The quiet display flown without music and the grace of the team’s BAE Hawk aircraft combined with maneuvers and formations new to U.S. audiences along with the undeniable approachability of the team members made the Red Arrows an instant sensation during the MCAS Miramar show. This reaction by the MCAS Miramar audience was in spite of the fact that the “Reds” flew their Saturday display one aircraft short of their normal nine-plane formation due to a crewmember’s maternity leave, another feature that won the favor of the MCAS Miramar audience.

Despite dull weather the Red Arrows put on a dynamic and thrilling display on Saturday at MCAS Miramar.

MCAS Miramar is the 21st show in the Red Arrows’ North American Tour, with four more North American shows remaining: San Francisco, California – October 1-2, Long Beach, California – October 2, The Great Pacific Airshow, Huntington Beach, California – October 4-6, and Rapid City, Iowa – October 8, 2019.

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.