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Red Arrows return to head TT Week airborne invasion 22 May 2009

The Red Arrows will be returning to head the airborne entertainment for the crowds during TT Week, backed up by other aerobatic displays and a wing walkers formation team.

A total of six shows featuring four different groups are on the menu for the feast of aerial activities, beginning on Monday 8th June. The Red Arrows will be joined by The Blades Display Team and the Aerosuperbatics Wing Walkers – both of whom have appeared in the Isle of Man previously – together with a Manx debutant in the form of a Hawker Hunter Fighter. The Hawker Hunter will round off the programme on Friday June 12th.

Hon Martyn Quayle MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, said: ‘It will be great to have the Red Arrows back this year as many people look upon the Royal Air Force contingent as an essential part of the TT scene. They had another commitment in 2008 by way of an international air display competition in Canada but were keen to come back to the Island this year and we are delighted to welcome them.’

Since the team was officially formed in 1965 the Red Arrows have completed over 4,000 displays in 53 countries. Many of this year’s Hawk pilots and support staff have recently returned from Afghanistan or Iraq.

After an eight-month training schedule they were based temporarily at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus for a further month to perfect the 2009 display sequence. Isle of Man crowds will be among the first to see the new programme as they only commenced this year’s displays with a performance at the Southend Festival of the Air on 24th and 25th May.

The Red Arrows will give two displays this year – both on Tuesday June 9th. The first is at 3pm in the north of the Island during the Ramsey Sprint meeting and the second at 7pm over Douglas. A commentary will be provided for the crowds on Douglas Promenade by one of the team, via a tannoy system, from the Villa Marina Colonnade.

There will also be a commentary from the same site when the Blades Display team start the aerial entertainment on Monday June 8th at 7pm. The civilian formation group, which uses high performance piston aircraft, has performed before an estimated 18 million people during the last three years – most famously for the Queen’s 80th Birthday celebrations, not to mention the Beckhams’ Grand Ball.

The end of the week is in the hands of the Aerosuperbatics Wing Walkers and the Hawker Hunter Fighter. The former are due to take to the air over Douglas on Wednesday June 10th at 7pm followed by a trip to Laxey on Thursday afternoon to perform for the crowds at the Motor Cycle Show staged by the Moddey Dhoo Club. The Hawker Hunter replaces the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which was not available this year and brings down the curtain on the flying activities with a display over Douglas on the Friday night of TT Week. Mr Quayle added: ‘The timing of the displays over Douglas have been arranged for early evening so that spectators can make a night of it by watching the aircraft and then going on to attend some of the many events taking place that week in the Villa Marina Gardens. We feel sure that our visiting TT fans and residents will enjoy the flying and evening entertainment we have lined-up.’

The full schedule of air displays is as follows:

• Monday 8th June at 7pm in Douglas – The Blades Display Team.

• Tuesday 9th June at 3pm in Ramsey - The Red Arrows; 7pm in Douglas – the Red Arrows.

• Wednesday 10th June at 7pm in Douglas – the Aerosuperbatics Wing Walkers

• Thursday 11th June at 3pm in Laxey – the Aerosuperbatics

• Friday 12th June at 7pm in Douglas – the Hawker Hunter Fighter Display

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