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Super supporters the Blades make their debut at RIAT 2019

Proudly supporting the RAF Benevolent Fund for the fifth year running, the Blades aerobatic display team made their debut at the world’s greatest military air show last weekend.

Showcasing their world-title winning skills, the team of former Red Arrows' pilots displayed their incredible skills at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) with a breathtaking formation alongside the giant A400M Atlas.

After leaving the crowds spellbound, the Blades peeled off to commence their staggering spectacle, delighting the RIAT crowds for the first time.

A400M Atlas and the Blades RIAT 2019Image credits: Blades / Ian Black

With the capacity to encase all four of the Blades' Extra 300s aircraft within its cargo hold, the Atlas cruised at a low level alongside the Blades at approximately 220kts – a relatively low speed for an aircraft capable of flying over 400kts and at a height of 40,000ft.

Mike Ling, who pilots Blade 3 with the team, and the longest serving member of the Royal Air Force Red Arrows, said: "I've experienced first-hand the support from this mighty aircraft during my career in the military.

Atlas and The Blades at RIAT 2019Image credits: Blades / Ian Black

"This has been an unprecedented opportunity to fly alongside the Airbus transporter in marking, not only the company's 50th anniversary year but also the Blades' 14th display season.

"Displaying at RIAT is a real dream-come-true moment for the Blades; as former military pilots, it's a great feeling to be back at one of the world's largest military air shows.

The Blades debut at Royal International Air Tattoo 2019Image credits: Blades / Ian Black

"It's also a pleasure to be able to display here whilst flying the flag for the our charity partners the RAF Benevolent Fund, in their centenary year.

"We've raised more than £110,000 for them since our partnership began and we're looking forward to getting behind their campaign to reach even more members of the RAF family that need help.

"Having personally benefited from their help, I know how important it is to spread the message. Those who have and are still serving in the RAF need to know that help is there if you need it."

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