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The Blades Aerobatic Team To Fly With A400M

Published: 20 Jul 2019

British aerobatic display team The Blades, who will make their flying debut at the world's greatest military air show this weekend, will make a dramatic entrance flying in close formation with the giant A400M Atlas. The purpose-built aircraft renowned for its military support capabilities, will on Sunday lead the Blades' former Red Arrow's pilots into the display before the four Extra300s break off to showcase their world title-winning skills.

The flypast will celebrate Airbus' rich aviation history and its position as the largest commercial aerospace company in the UK. Saluting the Atlas' current and future service to Britain's armed forces, this aerial demonstration will promote the aircraft's impressive aerial capabilities and maneuverability. As the biggest supplier of larger airframes to the RAF, Airbus will showcase its tactical transport aircraft to an anticipated [90,000]-strong audience including senior figures from foreign air arms and industry attending the show during the weekend. 

With the capacity to encase all four of the team's Extra300s within its cargo hold, the Atlas will cruise at a low level alongside The Blades at approximately 220kts - a relatively low speed for an aircraft capable of flying over 400kts and at a height of 40,000ft. 

Mike Ling, one of the Blades' display pilots, and the longest serving member of the Royal Air Force Red Arrows, said: ''I've experienced first-hand the support from this mighty aircraft during my career in the military. This has been an unprecedented opportunity to fly alongside the mighty Airbus transporter in marking, not only the company's 50th anniversary year but also the Blades' 14th display season. Displaying at RIAT is a real dream-come-true moment for the Blades; as former military pilots, it's a great feeling to be back at one of the world's largest military air shows.'' 

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show I’ve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

“This is THE best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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