By Stacey Douc | DFW Newsflash | September 2019
Fort Worth — Fort Worth got a taste of the United Kingdom when the Royal Air Force (RAF) Red Arrows performed a flyover above the Lockheed Martin campus before landing at Carswell Field at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base on Thursday, Sept. 12.
The nine-plane acrobatic team executed the flyover with three jets releasing red smoke, three releasing white and three releasing blue in a display of American and English pride.
The team then provided a static display of two of their Hawk T1-A jets next to a Lockheed F-35 plane.
Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility is home to F-35 production, and several flyovers were performed by F-35s.
“With stealth technology, advanced sensors, supersonic speed and superior range, the F-35 is the most advanced, survivable and connected aircraft in the world,” Michael Friedman, Lockheed Martin’s public relations representative, said. “More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in battlespace, enabling men and women in uniform to execute their mission and return home safely.”
The pilots and crew of the RAF Red Arrows made an appearance as well.
“We’ve been on an 11-week tour of Canada and the United States, doing just over 25 cities,” Alicia Mason, part of the Royal Air Force ground crew, said. “Some of them are displays and some of them are fly-pasts. I believe we’ve had over 100 ground engagements as well, mostly with STEM activities. We’re doing what we can to squeeze in as much as we can while we are out here.
“We are literally following the direction of our [public relations] team, directed by Rolls Royce, who has been involved in planning the tour. We think about what our priority is and what the team can do as ambassadors for the UK and for our military and industry. Rolls Royce made the plane and the engine as well, so anything we can link in with that and British industry is great, but we also want to get students excited about sciences, technology, engineering, maths and aviation (STEM), so whether it’s a local school, a university or whether it’s industry, we try to include them if we can.”
The Red Arrow team came out to the runway wearing either red or blue coveralls, and stood in front of the two Hawks and the F-35 for photos.
“The chaps in red are the pilots,” Damo Green, a Red Arrow engineer, said. “There are 11 Red Arrows. Reds one through nine are the actual display [air show and aerobatic] pilots. Red ten is a supervisor/commentator. But eleven is the OCC [Operational Control Center] Officer Commander. He is wearing camouflage. In blues are all the rest of the team made up of mainly engineers [maintenance] and PR staff.”
“We are engineers in the Circus [acrobatic team] for the 2019 season,” Cpl. Lydia Ford said. “We travel around with the pilots and will look out for the aircraft all season. I’m Circus Seven, so I fly with Red Seven. We take care of avionics as well.
“During the UK season, we are unsupported. It’s just the Circus engineers, and we’ve got to deal with a mix of explosives and ejection seats. Mechanical deals with engines and the airframe. Avionics deals with the electrical side.”
“We are both avionics technicians that’s our primary role,” engineer Jamie Stringer said. “She [Ford] is my supervisor. When the Arrows are not flying, we are fixing the radios and anything the pilots noticed trouble with. It’s been a great tour. Next, we are going to Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver and Los Angeles before flying home.”
Written by Stacey Doud