Red Arrows’ daring stunts steal hearts

The roar of the jets began at 3 pm sharp on Tuesday, just as promised by Red Arrows, British Royal Air Force’s aerobatics team.
Many had already gathered at the beach side of Shatti Al Qurum, while some were frantically searching for parking. Others chose to park at the residential areas of Qurum and walked briskly, with family members and children in tow.
Schoolchildren in uniforms rushed in, while many came out of coffee shops and restaurants lining the beach stretch of Qurum when they heard the sound of the jets.

The regular spectators, who have been witness to previous shows, were equipped with binoculars and sophisticated cameras to get a closer look at the planes and to capture the images for posterity.
The audience, consisting of all age groups, gasped each time the Hawk jets formed a pattern on the sky, leaving a trail of red, blue and white.
Neither the scorching heat nor the absence of shade could prevent the public from gazing at the sky for about 20 minutes.
Crowds oohed and aahed as jets flew together and formed a loop in the sky or when they drew a heart in the sky. They rejoiced at the sight of a jet passing through the heart, like an arrow being shot through the heart — a popular stunt performed by the Red Arrows.
The public held their breath as the jets flew past each other extremely close, displaying speed, agility and precision.
Mubarak al Hadadi, who was capturing every moment on his camera, said: “I would love to see an element of Oman in the display. They are fascinating.”
The Red Arrows concluded their show by forming an arrow head with all jets flying together.
Red Arrows have been performing in various capitals of the world this year.
According to the history of Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force amalgamated its display teams into a premier unit – the Red Arrows – in 1964. The name was taken from the Black Arrows team and the colour scheme as a tribute to the Red Pelicans.
In the first season (1965), they performed 65 shows. In the early years, the aircraft chosen to perform the stunts was Gnat. By 1980s, it was replaced by the Hawk.

Lakshmi Kothaneth