Those who see the Atlantic City Airshow as the crowning event of the summer can look forward to it having a royal display this year.
The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force Red Arrows will make the leap across the pond for the first time in more than 10 years for the 17th annual airshow Aug. 21.
Atlantic City was selected as the second United States stop in the Red Arrows’ 10-week North American tour.
“Atlantic City looks like a really great place for us to display,” said Red Arrows Squadron Leader Adam Collins. “We’re really excited about coming across and putting our red, white and blue smoke down over the Thunder over the Boardwalk.”
Officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows consist of 11 pilots, nine of whom fly in the display, and more than 100 support personnel and technicians.
Each year, airshow organizers reach out to international embassies to contact countries that have their own military demonstration teams, said David Schultz, the Atlantic City Airshow’s air boss.
In 2010, the Brazilian Airforce’s Smoke Squadron landed its green and yellow planes in Atlantic City, and last year the Canadian Snow Birds made their first appearance above the city’s beaches.
Schultz said they have been trying to bring the Royal Air Force to the city for 10 years.
“Atlantic City has an excellent reputation for supporting the performers and being a first-class host, and they are very, very excited to come to the East Coast.”
The team flies sleek red British‐built BAE Systems Hawk T1 fast‐jets with white accents on their wings in the 20-25 minute display, which is broken into two parts.
The first half of the show, Collins said, is for the “more graceful formations” and aerobatic shapes, some of which relate to significant events in history.
The second half of the show features four or five aircraft in more dynamic performances that include opposition passes, where planes pass each other at very close distances.
They train until the maneuvers become second nature. Collins said this allows them to concentrate more on the “what ifs,” including working with different weather conditions and terrain.
The team has had experience battling poor weather and has prepared three shows to deal with it. They can fly “full show,” the “rolling show” for lower cloud base and the “flat” show for poor weather.
Right now, the team is conducting winter training in Greece, where they will have a month of guaranteed good weather to put the finishing touches on their display.
They will perform at home in Great Britain for a shortened domestic tour from June to late July. Then, after a short break, the Red Arrows will prepare to cross the Atlantic.
This is a complex process because British‐built Hawk fast‐jet single engines can only fly for a maximum of two hours before needing to be refueled.
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As a result, the trip includes quick stops in Scotland, Iceland, Greenland and then Canada.
From there, they will perform in Chicago over Lake Michigan and then land their signature red planes in Atlantic City.
In addition to the Red Arrows, the Atlantic City Airshow will welcome back the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Golden Knights and the GEICO Skytypers.
The Airshow will also feature some action on the water. According to the event’s Facebook page, the racing boat Miss GEICO will take to the ocean and the GEICO Skytypers will take to the air to see who is faster.
The full schedule of performances will be released closer to the airshow.
Collins said the group is excited about the tour, and even though they will get a great view of the city from above, they look forward to spending a few days in the resort seeing the sights.
“We’re looking forward to meeting some people there and certainly finding out what Atlantic City has to offer,” he said.