Red Arrows wow New York City with spectacular Statue of Liberty flypast
THE iconic British aircraft the Red Arrows have joined their US counterparts in a historic 19-aircraft flight down New York's Hudson River and around the Statue of Liberty.
Hundreds of thousands of people are thought to have been lining the river, watching Thursday's flypast.
It was the first time the combination of jets had been brought together in such a way.
Jets from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, as they are officially called, painted the Big Apple's skies with signature red, white and blue smoke trails during the flypast.
The British aircraft flew in a large formation, led by the F-16s of the US Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, followed by the nine Red Arrows Hawks, then two F-35 Lightning IIs and a pair of F-22 Raptors behind.
The formation of aircraft approached from the north side of the city, over the river, before passing Manhattan on the left.
On reaching New York Harbour, the jets made a sweeping right turn near the Statue of Liberty and proceeded back up the river for a second pass.
Red Arrows team leader, Squadron Leader Martin Pert, said: ‘To have the opportunity to fly along the Hudson in a fast-jet, with Manhattan's skyscrapers lining part of the route and so many famous landmarks as a backdrop, was a fantastic, rewarding experience.
‘Even more exhilarating was being able to complete this flypast knowing the Thunderbirds were just ahead of us and the F-22s and F-35s tucked in behind our aircraft.’
He added that the Red Arrows were honoured to join their US counterparts in completing this event, which was a showcase of ‘the strength of the relationship between our armed forces and countries’.
‘We'd like to thank all of the authorities who combined to make this rare, historic New York flypast happen,’ he said.
It is the first time the Red Arrows have visited North America since 2008, and during an 11-week tour the team go to major cities including Washington DC, Seattle and San Francisco, as well as landmarks such as Niagara Falls.