get your pilot license

RAF Red Arrows Celebrate Start Of Their 60th season With Original Folland Gnat In Formation

Red Arrows Formation top
Red Arrows Formation top
On March 8, 2024, the ex-RAF Folland Gnatt G-MOUR flew in formation with the Red Arrows (Photo: RAF)

A vintage Folland Gnat flew in formation with the Red Arrows to mark their 2024 Diamond Season.

On March 8, 2024, an ex-RAF Folland Gnat flew in formation with the RAF Red Arrows aerobatic display team on a special occasion marking their 60th display season. The Folland Gnat was the Red Arrows’ initial display aircraft when the team first started their display in 1965. The type was later replaced by the BAE Systems Hawk T1 in 1979.

The Red Arrows have announced that their 2024 campaign would be their Diamond Season, celebrating their 60 years of history as the Royal Air Force’s main aerobatic display team. The special formation flight was organized above RAF Waddington to celebrate the start of their special Diamond Season.

Squadron Leader Jon Bond, who will lead the team as Red 1 for the first time this year, remarked on this occasion; “To bring together the past, present and potential future of the Red Arrows is the perfect way to launch our 60th season display calendar.

The Red Arrows first flew in 1965, replacing the former Yellowjacks

 The Folland Gnat served as the Royal Air Force’s main trainer aircraft from 1955, serving with the Red Arrows from 1965 to 1979. The Gnat that took part in the honorary formation, G-MOUR, donned a bright yellow livery of XR992. The livery is that of the RAF Yellowjacks, a direct predecessor to the RAF Red Arrows. The Yellowjacks first formed informally in 1963 led by Flight Lieutenant Lee Jones at No. 4 Flying Training School, RAF Valley. With some disapproval by higher authorities, the aerobatic team was reformed as the current Red Arrows in 1965.

It should be noted that G-MOUR, currently operated by Heritage Aircraft LTD, was actually never part of the RAF Red Arrows nor the Yellowjacks. Instead, the airframe flew under No. 4 Flying Training School as XS102 since 1962.

<img data-attachment-id="84980" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="1024,576" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"4","credit":"AS1 Nile Austin","camera":"Canon EOS R5","caption":"A VINTAGE jet, of the type used by the original Red Arrows, has flown alongside the present-day team to help mark their 60th display season.\r\r \r\rThe Folland Gnat, which dates from 1964, joined the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team\u2019s distinctive BAE Systems Hawks above the skies of Lincolnshire.\r\r \r\rPilots and engineers from yesteryear, as well as Air Cadets representing the future of the RAF, were also at the Red Arrows\u2019 home base for the special diamond season event.\r\r \r\rCoinciding with the rare mixed formation flight, dates and locations were released today detailing where people can see the 2024 Red Arrows team display in the United Kingdom this summer.\r\r \r\rSquadron Leader Jon Bond, who will lead the team as Red 1 for the first time this year, said: \u201cTo bring together the past, present and potential future of the Red Arrows is the perfect way to launch our 60th season display calendar.\r\r \r\r\u201cThe Red Arrows will perform a new, nine-aircraft, show at locations across the UK this summer and the whole team of 140 people, both air and ground crew, are humbled by how many individuals have already got in touch to say they can\u2019t wait to see this diamond display.\r\r \r\r\u201cI know, from my own childhood experience at airshows, just how many people \u2013 of all ages and backgrounds \u2013 these events bring together and how important they are to communities.\r\r \r\r\u201cGenerations of families, up and down the country, have enjoyed watching the Red Arrows display ever since the first public show in 1965 and this 60th season will remain faithful to our aims \u2013 to entertain, inform and inspire.\u201d\r\r \r\rTraining for the Red Arrows\u2019 new season is continuing at RAF Waddington, with the first public appearance of the diamond campaign scheduled for late-May.\r\r \r\rDozens of dates, including coastal displays such as Blackpool Airshow and the opening day of the Eastbourne International Airshow, are on the 2024 calendar, alongside other big events including the Goodwood Festival of Speed an","created_timestamp":"1709831886","copyright":"\u00a9 UK MOD Crown Copyright 2024","focal_length":"600","iso":"1000","shutter_speed":"0.001","title":"Gnat's Arrive at RAFAT","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Gnat’s Arrive at RAFAT" data-image-description data-image-caption="

G-MOUR is wearing the former RAF Yellowjacks display team livery, a predecessor to the Red Arrows  (Photo: RAF)

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ decoding=”async” class=”size-large wp-image-84980″ src=”″ alt width=”706″ height=”397″ srcset=” 706w, 460w, 128w, 768w, 678w, 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 706px) 100vw, 706px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

G-MOUR is wearing the former RAF Yellowjacks display team livery, a predecessor to the Red Arrows  (Photo: RAF)

Under the formal name of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows were first based at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire. The team took home around the UK before settling down at RAF Scampton for the longest time before its closure in 1995. From October 2022, RAF Waddington has been the team’s home base. Despite RAF Scampton’s closure, the Red Arrows still use the airspace above the former base as their main area of training.

The Red Arrows’ first official display was on May 6, 1965, as a media affair, with the first public display happening three days later in Clermont-Ferrand as part of the French National Air Day. The team currently boast a record of over 4,800 displays in 57 countries over the years. In their 1995 season, the Reds displayed a record breaking 136 times in a single year. The biggest tour happened only a few years back in 2019 during the Red Arrows’ North American tour during which 21 displays and 30 flypasts were made over 25 cities.

2024 Red Arrows Diamond Season display schedule has also been released

With the 2024 display schedule released, the Red Arrows are set to kick off their Diamond Season in Souda Bay, Greece on May 21 at the Battle of Crete Commemoration. With this year marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the teams’ activities are expected to be focused along the English Channel.

While the Red Arrows’ 50th anniversary in 2014 saw the Hawk T1 with a special commemorative tail, this 60th anniversary livery is expected to be more subtle with an added decal on the rear fuselage and tail.

<img data-attachment-id="84981" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="1024,1024" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Red Arrows Formation 2" data-image-description data-image-caption="

Announced schedule for the Red Arrows’ 60th anniversary Diamond Season (Photo: RAF)

” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” class=”size-large wp-image-84981″ src=”″ alt width=”706″ height=”706″ srcset=” 706w, 460w, 96w, 768w, 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 706px) 100vw, 706px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Announced schedule for the Red Arrows’ 60th anniversary Diamond Season (Photo: RAF)

As a side note: by pure accident we have discovered that the team, for unknown reasons, has blocked us on X.

About Wonwoo Choi
Wonwoo is a student journalist and contributor to The Aviationist based in London, United Kingdom. Currently studying MEng in Aeronautical Engineering with a keen interest in OSINT, plane spotting and aircraft design. He is a former Sergeant of the Republic of Korea Army, having served as an artillery Fire Direction Centre Vehicle Radio Operator.

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

get your pilot license