Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team
Sixteen Hunters of the Black Arrows perform aerobatics at the Farnborough Air Show, England.
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Role||Aerobatic flight display team|
The Black Arrows, one of the predecessors of the current Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, were an aerobatic demonstration team formed in 1956 by Squadron Leader Roger L.Topp, then Commanding Officer 111 Squadron (treble-one). One of the many memorable feats accomplished by the Black Arrows was the execution of a World record loop 22 Hawker Hunter formation in 1958 at the Society of British Aircraft Constructors' show at Farnborough This was a world record for the greatest number of aircraft looped in formation, and remains unbroken to this day. After the loop the Black Arrows performed the world's first 16 aircraft barrel roll. Roger Topp handed over the lead of the Black Arrows to Squadron Leader Peter Latham in late 1958. Latham expanded the size of the team to 9 aircraft and lead the Squadron for two years.
No. 111 Squadron were formed at RAF North Weald where they received the Hunter before transfer to RAF Wattisham in Suffolk. Until 1961, the Black Arrows were the RAF's premier team. In the early years of the 1960s the Blue Diamonds of 92 Squadron and The Tigers of 74 Squadron, equipped with the new English Electric Lightning, started flying. The large number of squadron display teams led to their replacement by a single unit from the Central Flying School.
|Hawker Hunter||4||1955 — 1956|
|5||1956 — 1958|
|9||1958 — 1960|
Notes and references
- Videos of the Black Arrows' last ever show, in Barcelona
- Red Arrows website, accessed on 1 May 2007.
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