VANDALIA — Another first in Dayton aviation history was made on Thursday as the legendary Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force’s jet demonstration team, made their first-ever visit to Dayton.
The event is being hosted by the city of Dayton and includes a visit with Dayton S.T.E.M. students who had the opportunity to meet members of the jet team. A pair of private receptions were held on Thursday evening as well.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Bond, Red Arrow 7, is part of this historic tour of the U.S. and Canada.
“We’re here on the biggest tour the Red Arrows have ever conducted,” Bond said. “Across the pond, in Canada and the USA. We’re here for 10 weeks. We came about four weeks ago, across the pond, via Iceland, Greenland, and northern Canada.”
The famed jet team recently performed in an air show in New York City, flying with, among others, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.
“I think that’s a memory that everyone on the team won’t forget,” Bond said. “Flying down the Hudson (River) with the Thunderbirds out in front, and fifth generation aircraft, the F-22 and F-35, on such a beautifully clear day, it was a real privilege.”
Bond said that stopping in Dayton is an “amazing opportunity, and only a hop away from our next destination in St. Louis.”
Tours such as this allow pilots of the jet teams, the Red Arrows, Thunderbirds, and US Navy’s Blue Angels, the opportunity to fly together in more than one way. Team members from all get the chance to get some “back seat” time with their counterparts.
The highlight of the tour, so far, for Bond, “has to be going down the Hudson. I think that is one that sticks out.”
The RAF team has also been in demand for other events. They recently did a flyover to open a Washington Nationals baseball game and earlier, for the Toronto Blue Jays.
While the tour is fun for the pilots and crews, the mission of the Red Arrows, like their US counterparts, is to represent their country. They wear their distinctive red flight suits proudly as they carry the British flag “across the pond,” doing Great Britain proud both in the air and on the ground.
Reach Mike Ullery at firstname.lastname@example.org