Confusion over Red Arrows fly past

CONFUSION still reigned today over a mix-up which left fans of the world's most famous aerobatics team deeply disappointed.

CONFUSION still reigned today over a mix-up which left fans of the world's most famous aerobatics team deeply disappointed.

Crowds waited more than two hours to see the Red Arrows make a flypast at Felixstowe - only to later learn the jets turned up more than two hours earlier than announced.

Organisers of the flypast said they had been told the event to mark the 90th anniversary of the RAF would happen between 4pm and 6pm, but RAF officials said they would never give such a vague timing and had said it would be 1.51pm.

The port viewing area was packed with people waiting to see the fly over, with hundreds more on Landguard nature reserve.


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But as the two-hour time-slot ticked they became increasingly frustrated - only to discover the jets had already come and gone.

Tony Scott, of Sunningdale Drive, Felixstowe, said: “There were a lot of very disappointed and disgruntled people.

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“We waited until 6.20pm. That was two-and-a-half hours which could have been better spent in my garden.”

Nick Ward, of Chatsworth Crescent, Ipswich, said his family waited from 4pm to almost 6.45pm at Landguard Fort and were “bitterly disappointed”.

Red Arrows public relations officer Emma Thomas said: “Timings for these flypasts are exact and event organisers are informed of these in advance.

“This weekend we were performing at the White Air Extreme Sports Festival on the Isle of Wight.

“On our return to our home base of RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire we were able to perform a flypast over Felixstowe as requested by the Felixstowe Museum.

“The museum was told on Thursday that the flypast would be 13:51 and this was the time that our aircraft flew over Felixstowe.

“It appears that the wrong time for our flypast was publicised which is disappointing. We appreciate the support our fans give us and would never wish to let anyone down - especially those who were looking forward to seeing us.”

But Phil Hadwen, from the museum, said no call had been received on Thursday.

“We had a call ten days before the event telling us it would be between 4pm and 6pm. We had no call on Thursday because there is no-one at the museum on a Thursday,” he said.

“We feel very upset about what has happened and very disappointed for everyone who was looking forward to seeing the planes.”

Did you see the Red Arrows over Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Red Arrows

The Red Arrows BAE Systems Hawk T1 jets perform around 90 displays and more than 100 flypasts each year.

These are at a wide variety of events - airshows, national celebrations, sporting events, music festivals and community fetes.

Flypasts are free and the team is only permitted to perform them when it is already flying close to the event so it does not incur extra fuel and aircraft operating costs.

Timings for flypasts are exact and event organisers are informed in advance.

Since the team's creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have flown over 4,000 displays in 52 countries.

All nine Red Arrows display pilots are fast jet pilots used to flying Tornado GR4, Harrier GR7, Tornado F3 and Jaguar GR3, and must have at least 1,500 flying hours under their belts.

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