The pilot in charge of the RAF Red Arrows has expressed his ‘disappointment’ that the planned Red Arrows aerobatic display wasn’t able to go ahead at Southport Air Show today.
The world’s greatest aerobatic team were scheduled to open the show at Southport Beach at midday, to be followed by a line-up that also included the RAF Typhoon, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Chinook, Team Raven, the Great War Display team and more.
But sudden heavy showers at Blackpool, where the Red Arrows were based, saw them grounded and unable to take off.
After the weather cleared, the aircraft headed to Southport at 2.20pm for a flypast over Southport Beach.
Wing Commander Adam Collins. Officer Commanding the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – The Red Arrows, said:
“We’re disappointed that we couldn’t display at the Southport airshow, but unexpected heavy showers, localised to Blackpool meant the runway would not be safe for us to land on after the display. None of the other airfields close to Southport were available for use this weekend.
“Unfortunately the runway wouldn’t have dried in time for our display.
We’re disappointed that we couldn’t display at the Southport airshow, but unexpected heavy showers, localised to Blackpool meant the runway would not be safe for us to land on after the display. None of the other airfields close to Southport were available for use this weekend. pic.twitter.com/AARATJrWJV
— Adam Collins – OC RAFAT (@RAFRedArrows_OC) September 9, 2023
“Delaying until later in the day isn’t an option – we have a large column of restricted airspace specifically for our safety that is only active for a few minutes either side of our planned display time window.
“The brakes on a Hawk work in much the same way as a car. And like in a car, a wet surface massively increases braking distance.
“If we landed at Blackpool in the wet, we couldn’t guarantee being able to stop before the end of the runway.
“That restricted airspace time window is booked weeks in advance with the Civil Aviation Authority and cannot be changed on the day. It’s limited in duration to allow other aircraft into the area when we’re not planning to fly.
“A great deal of thought goes into planning every display. There are many considerations when choosing an operating airfield, including runway length, jet parking capacity and proximity to the show site.”
A Southport Air Show spokesperson said: “Sadly the Red Arrows had to cancel their display due to weather conditions at Blackpool. But at 2.20pm they did a fly past for us.
“Tomorrow’s flying times have been updated, with details on the Southport Air Show Facebook page.
“We have a great line-up, including the Chinook helicopter, which was fantastic today, Team Raven, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Typhoon.
“Plus, we also have a last-minute addition to the programme, a Wing Walker.
“Please arrive early and enjoy the brilliant ground attractions, make a day of it!”
Southport Air Show, organised by Sefton Council’s Tourism team, takes place this Saturday and Sunday (9th and 10th September 2023).
You can book Southport Air Show tickets here. Under 16s go free.