Photo Report : Red Arrows Springhawk 2016 - Tanagra AB
Springhawk 2016 – Red Arrows training in Greece
George Karavantos visited Tanagra Air Base to attend one of the overseas training days of the Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic display team.
The famous British aerobatic team, the RAF Red Arrows, visited Greece for the second consecutive year for their rehearsals before the air show season. Since we had an open invitation from the Commander of the base, we took this opportunity to watch one day of their training from closeby.
On the 17th of March, eleven Red Arrows aircraft left their Lincolnshire base bound to Greece. In the back seats of the Hawks were the RAF engineers specially selected from the Squadron to accompany the Reds throughout their training. The team made a technical stop in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, to refuel before continuing to Tirana, Albania, where they made their night stop. The aircraft and personnel arrived at Tanagra, home of the HAF 114 Combat Wing and Greek Mirage 2000 fleet, the following day and stayed in Tanagra for five weeks. During this period the team was practicing three times per day, five days a week. The first display was flown at 8:30, the second at 11:30 in the morning, and third one at 14:30 in the afternoon. The duration of their display is approximately 20min.The first two displays were taking place over the airfield while the third one was taking place over Voreios Evoikos Kolpos, a seaside location north of the airport.
The scheduled flights of the base were starting after the end of their display, when the Red Arrows were all back on the ground. If there was a need for an immediate take-off (scramble) due to operational reasons, the tower could stop their display and direct the team to a specified area not affecting the departures of the Mirages. The team's observer, one of the Red Arrows pilots, remained inside the tower during the displays. Another team member responsible for filming the routine was standing next to runway to record footage for the Reds’ debriefing.
In addition to the pilots the Red Arrows deployment was supported by over 120 staff, including operations and flight planners, engineering technicians, photographers, safety equipment experts, drivers, public relations personnel, suppliers and administrators. The UK personnel used the infrastructure of the base but were housed in hotels nearby.
This was not the first time that the Red Arrows came to Tanagra. The first time was back in 2006. The base that Red Arrows normally use for pre-season practise is Akrotiri on Cyprus, but for the last two years Greece is better suited for the team’s annual overseas training, also known as exercise Springhawk. Greece also has the consistently good weather conditions because of its climate. Last year the Red Arrows stayed at Tanagra for three weeks and then one week in Andravida. Due to the large-scale exercise 'Iniohos' at Andravida this year, the Reds only used Tanagra.
The Red Arrows display season will officially start on the 8th of May, when the team will perform their first public 2016 display at the Shuttleworth Airshow in the United Kingdom.
Let the shows begin!
Report and photos by George Karavantos ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 18 April 2016