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Red Arrows didn't fail to amaze spectators at RAF Marham Families' Day

Flight of Fancy: By our very own air hostess from Marham, Elaine Rix Clarke

Having lived in Marham for over fourteen years, this year was the first time I have been lucky enough to be able to attend the RAF Marham Families’ Day.

When we were stood in the queue to enter, one of the group behind us was saying that usually 12,000 people attend but this year it was only 2,700, so we felt even luckier to have been given tickets.

The queue to enter was dealt with very swiftly: tickets checked, bags searched, wrist bands attached and sent on your way with a very warm enjoy your day.

The Red Arrows flying over Wittering. Photo: Lucy Holland (51017935)
The Red Arrows flying over Wittering. Photo: Lucy Holland (51017935)

Some airport security teams could learn a great deal from the RAF personnel who were overseeing this process.

Even though I have spent nearly 30 years in aviation I have never considered myself any sort of aeroplane geek until now.

We went into a hangar where a Rolls Royce engine from a Tornado jet was on display. What I had never appreciated is that these aircraft are almost all engine.

There is a fuselage encasing it, somewhere for a pilot and navigator to sit and somewhere for weapons but the engine makes up most of it.

These aircraft are so different from the ones I am used to in my working life.

I handled a black box, which isn’t black at all it is orange, and it is really heavy. I have always wondered if the black box survives aircraft crashes then why not build the whole aircraft from the metal used.

Simple answer the aircraft would never get airborne due to the weight. As for the reason it is orange not black, so they can find it.

Once we had had a good look around it was time for the air displays to start, with cups of tea in hand we settled down and watched some amazing air displays. There were biplanes, Spitfires, Typhoon, F35 and other aircraft which I have no idea what they were.

One of the highlights for me was watching the F35, thinking wow I would really like to have a go at doing that.

The grand finale was the Red Arrows. They were amazing.

Red Arrows display team in action
Red Arrows display team in action

They made a fantastic entrance in a nine aircraft formation, called the diamond, trailing red, white and blue smoke behind them and they didn’t fail to amaze the spectators.

Red Arrow number 5 had a bird strike to the engine but thankfully landed safely and the remaining Arrows continued to provide an amazing aerobatic stunts display. No wonder the pilots who fly these aircraft are the best of the best.

There were so many wow moments. One of my favourites was a heart being made from red smoke with an arrow going through it.

All too quickly the day came to end.

The program stated that “the Red Arrows will finish RAF Marham’s Families Day in spectacular fashion” – they certainly did.

I can only hope I am lucky enough to be given tickets again.

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