Red arrows

Red Arrows display, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire

The first day of the 2015 school summer holidays dawned grey, misty and damp; fortunately I had a plan to add some colour to our day.

Every year the Red Arrows perform at the┬áRAF Benson Families’ day. Although the event is only open to airbase employees and families there are plenty of vantage points outside of the airfield to watch them.

Watching the Red Arrows, RAF Benson
Watching the Red Arrows, RAF Benson

Picnic bag in hand, we walked alongside the River Thames from Wallingford towards the air base. I’d planned to eat and watch the display from the riverbank but with the trees in full leaf it would have been hard to see the planes.

Red arrows, RAF Benson display
Red arrows, RAF Benson display

Instead we wandered away from the river and found ourselves an open field to sit in. The Red Arrows were due to arrive at 1pm but we’d eaten all our food well in advance of this. 1pm came and went and I was just about to tell┬áthe kids that the performance was probably cancelled when we heard the sound of approaching aircraft.

Red arrows, RAF Benson display
Red arrows, RAF Benson display – look carefully, the top plane is upside down!

The Red Arrows circled around us and flew in low towards the airfield. We had positioned ourselves well. Perhaps too well given that they proceeded to display right above our heads! My son kept his hands over his ears whenever they were near us and I admit to being slightly fearful watching the planes loop overhead.

Red arrows, RAF Benson display
Red arrows, RAF Benson display

Of course there was no need to worry. The pilots expertly flew upside down, round in loops and terrifyingly low. We’d watch the manoeuvres and then wait for the deafening sound that followed them. Sometimes they’d disappear for a few seconds before we noticed them coming in towards us again.

Red arrows, RAF Benson display
Red arrows, RAF Benson display

The planes crisscrossed the sky with their red, white and blue vapour trails. Everyone on the ground stood enthralled, cameras aloft, dogs barking. The aircraft disappeared from view once again and after another minute or so we realised they weren’t coming back. The display was over.

Red arrows, RAF Benson display
Red arrows, RAF Benson display

The Red Arrows certainly brightened up our day and were a great antidote to the summer weather. I highly recommend checking out the link below to see if they’ll be performing near you.

More info:

  • The RAF Red Arrows perform displays almost every weekend during the summer months. Find details of display events on the RAF Red Arrows website.

17 thoughts on “Red Arrows display, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire”

    1. I don’t think many of the other people out that day realised the Red Arrows were coming. As it’s a RAF Family day the event isn’t publicised externally so we certainly didn’t have any crowds to contend with.

    1. I don’t think you can ever tire of the Red Arrows. We see them most years and I still get excited too.

  1. A wonderful way to brighten up a grey day and a perfect way to start the summer holidays. Sounds like you chose the perfect vantage point, well done indeed. those plane trails look amazing well done on some great photos, rther stunning against the grey sky! Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

    1. I have seen some amazing photos against blue skies but I think they’re such good subjects that it doesn’t really matter too much about the greyness!

    1. You know they’re not going to crash but as they zoom down towards you I do start wondering ‘what if….’

  2. Wow, what a great idea – I am always amazed by the skill of the Red Arrows. Apparently if they’re in your area (or flying approximately that way), you can request a fly past for special occasions too, according to a friend of mine… but not birthdays. I have to think one up! #mondayescapes

  3. Wow some fab shots – I took some shots at an airshow this weekend and it certainly tested my skills. My little one wasn’t too keen on the noise either so we kept needing to dive inside for a bit.

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