The RAF Red Arrows has confirmed that they will fly as a nine-ship team in 2024, two years since they last graced the skies with a Diamond Nine of jets.
Although the ambition to return to a 9-ship has been known for some time, this was made official today as the RAF announced the 2024 pilot line up. The 9-ship team will be led by veteran Red Arrows pilot Sqn. Ldr. Jon Bond, who will be flying in the Red 1 position for the first time.
The Red Arrows last flew as a 9-ship in 2021. The following year, the loss of three pilots from the squadron during pre-season training (of which only one could be replaced) meant that only seven aircraft were used for displays. A further pilot then dropped out mid-season due to injury, and the team finished the year as a six-ship. Due to limits on the number of new pilots that can be trained each season, a maximum of eight pilots could perform in 2023.
2024 marks the Red Arrows’ 60th display season and looks set to include a major oveseas tour. Sadly, this means that most UK airshows will not be able to host the team during their anniversary year.