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The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, have flown their American counterparts in the back seat of their Hawk jets.

Officers from the United States Air Force Thunderbirds joined a practice display carried out by the UK team at RAF Fairford, which hosts the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) this weekend.

The event will mark the 70th anniversary of the USAF, with the Thunderbirds performing at the show. Pilots from the American team flew in the back seats of the Red Arrows’ aircraft as passengers during a practice sortie at the airfield.

According to a press release, it was a chance for the officers to exchange experiences of flying, with both teams operating fast-jet aircraft, Red Arrows Hawk T1 and Thunderbirds F-16C.

Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Red 1 and Team Leader said:

“We are very excited to be showcasing the best of British once again at the RIAT event and the chance to partner up with fellow skilled pilots, who are at the top of their game, is a fantastic opportunity.

This is one of our favourite display sites and gives us the chance to meet public, industry and also other air forces such as the USAF Thunderbirds, with whom we enjoy successful partnerships. The last time the teams met was at RIAT in 2007, having flown together at Quebec City airshow in 2008 when the city celebrated its 400thanniversary.

Both teams pride themselves in their precision and professionalism and are ambassadors worldwide for their respective air forces and countries.”

According to a statement:

“Not only will the teams be flying together this weekend but a joint public meet-and-greet session is planned for Saturday at RIAT, where all the Red Arrows and USAF Thunderbird officers will be located at the Red Arrows PR stand ready to say hello to those visiting the airshow.”

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