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Red Arrows Join New York Flypast

The Red Arrows have joined their United States counterparts in a historic 19-aircraft flight down New York’s Hudson River and around the Statue of Liberty.


Jets from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team painted the Big Apple’s skies with signature red, white and blue smoke trails during the mighty flypast. The British aircraft flew in a large formation, led by the F-16s of the US Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, followed by the nine Red Arrows Hawks, then two F-35 Lightning IIs and a pair of F-22 Raptors behind.


Hundreds of thousands of people are thought to have been lining the river, watching this morning’s flypast – the first time this combination of jets have been brought together in such a way.

The flypast forms part of the Red Arrows’ largest-ever tour to North America, aimed at promoting the best of British and supporting a range of UK interests across trade, business, education and defence.


“To have the opportunity to fly along the Hudson in a fast-jet, with Manhattan’s skyscrapers lining part of the route and so many famous landmarks as a backdrop, was a fantastic, rewarding experience.

“Even more exhilarating was being able to complete this flypast knowing the Thunderbirds were just ahead of us and the F-22s and F-35s tucked in behind our aircraft.

Squadron Leader Martin Pert
Red 1 and Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows

He followed that by saying:

“The Red Arrows were honoured to join our US counterparts in completing this event, which was a showcase of the strength of the relationship between our Armed Forces and countries.

“We’d like to thank all of the authorities who combined to make this rare, historic New York flypast happen.”

F-22s and F-35s

The formation of aircraft approached from the north side of the city, over the river, before passing Manhattan on the left. On reaching New York Harbour, the jets made a sweeping right turn near the Statue of Liberty and proceeded back up the river for a second pass.

The Red Arrows are headlining the New York International Air Show on August 24-25 – one of 25 cities being visited on the 11-week tour of the United States and Canada.

It is the first time the Red Arrows have visited North America since 2008.

The tour is being carried out in support of the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign – providing opportunity to enhance international trade and investment between the UK, Canada and the US, worth more than £208 billion in 2018.

It is also a chance to mark the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity and extensive security cooperation with long-standing and close allies.

USAF Thunderbirds

For more information on the Red Arrows, follow @rafredarrows on Twitter, like the team’s Facebook page at RAF Red Arrows, view pictures on Instagram @rafredarrows 

Use #RedArrowsTour online to keep up-to-date with the Red Arrows’ tour of North America.