There’ll be a second chance to view precision formation flying this morning (Thursday October 17th) as the RAF aeronautical display team, the Red Arrows take off from Stornoway airport on the final leg of their transatlantic crossing.
The 12 fighter jets flew into Stornoway in formation shortly after 6pm last night, providing a waiting crowd alongside the airport approach road with a superb demonstration of skills as they peeled away from the flight to land in succession and taxi down the runway.
The team spent the night in Stornoway, their first UK landfall after 11 weeks touring the USA and Canada. Wing commander Andrew Keith said that it was ‘good to be home’ after the team touched down
He admitted the overnight stop was unscheduled after they ‘ran out of daylight’ during the crossing of the North Atlantic via Greenland. Flying at an average speed of 450-500mph gave them fuel economy, but with a headwind to battle against they were at the extreme edge of their 700-mile range as they approached Stornoway, escorted by the Danish air force for search and rescue support throughout the whole transit from Canada.
Flying without engineers for safety reasons means pilots have to get down to work themselves this morning to service and refuel their jets in preparation for take-off, although this is something Wing Commander Keith said the team were trained and prepared to do when necessary.
The team will return to their home base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire this morning, where they will be reunited with the air transport carrying the engineering and ground crew and will complete a handover before some well-earned leave.
And welovestornoway.com was flying high, too, with our coverage of the landing on our Facebook community page last evening…
By 7pm today, after around 24 hours, this video had been viewed almost 60,000 times and
the post was determined by Facebook to have reached nearly 135,000 people.