This weekend the public will get the chance to see British Airways’ brand new A380, the world’s largest commercial airline, fly with the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire tomorrow.
British Airways’ senior first officer Peter Nye, who was on flight deck for the first A380’s arrival into London on July 4th will be at the controls with captain Charles Everett in command of the aircraft.
Captain James Basnett who flew that very first flight will also be with them, along with captain Mike Blythe.
Nye said: “We’re looking forward to being part of the Royal International Air Tattoo, especially alongside the Red Arrows – it’s a real privilege to be involved and will be a very British celebration.
“A lot of work has gone into planning the display and it’s sure to be quite a spectacle, so we hope there will be a great turn-out of people to cheer us on.”
The aircraft are due to meet above RAF Lyneham before they head to the air show over Royal Wootton Bassett for the fly-past at 14:30.
The A380 and one of the Red Arrows conducted a test flight earlier this week around the National Trust’s White Cliffs of Dover.
Squadron Leader Mike Ling, Red 10, who flew the Red Arrows Hawk jet during the practice sortie with the British Airways Airbus A380, said: “The practice flight went extremely well and, together with the British Airways team, we were able to work through all of the safety and technical aspects required to make Saturday’s fly-past at the Royal International Air Tattoo possible.
“Putting a jet behind or alongside an aircraft of the size of the Airbus A380 obviously involves a great deal of precision but the task is essentially the same as the careful flying required for air-to-air refueling with a big tanker aircraft.
“Royal Air Force fast jet pilots train hard to gain the necessary skills to carry out air-to-air refueling and the air force’s new KC-30 Voyager fleet is based on the Airbus A330, so flying with much larger aircraft is something we practice and carry out on operations.”
He added: “The opportunity to fly with the first British Airways A380 aircraft will be a highlight for the Red Arrows this year and also provide a wonderful sight for those at RIAT.”