The Blades – a leading display team of former Red Arrow’s – are renowned worldwide for flying precision close formation aerobatics to the highest level within a dynamic and cutting edge display. Some of the country’s most experienced display pilots, The Blades are experts in aerobatics and currently hold a world record for flying the most number of consecutive formation loops. Since the Team began, The Blades have flown over 470 displays throughout the UK.
The Blades are returning in 2014 once again under the leadership of Blade 1, Mark Cutmore ‘Cutty’ who took over as Team Leader in 2012. Cutty joined The Blades in 2008 as Blade 3, before spending three years as the Team’s solo display pilot. The Blade 2 position will be shared by co-founder of The Blades Andy Offer OBE, Chris Carder and former Team Leader, Myles Garland. Last year The Blades were proud to announce the arrival of a new member of the Team who is no stranger to the display circuit – taking up the Blade 3 position is the former Officer Commanding for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Ian Smith ‘Smithy’. The Team line-up is completed by Andy Evans who is flying the all-important and impressive solo position as Blade 4.
The Blades display is 15 minutes long and is thrilling from start to finish. Containing a fantastic variety of different aerobatic stunts flown just feet apart, the display not only demonstrates the great skills of the pilots, but also showcases the amazing capabilities of the Extra 300. From high rising looping manoeuvres and dynamic 10g formation breaks, to high-speed opposition passes and breath taking solo aerobatics, each and every display is meticulously planned and executed to deliver the ultimate in aerial excellence.
Photographs courtesy of Glyn Dobbs
- Crew: one pilot
- Capacity: two
- Length: 6.95 m (22 ft 9½ in)
- Wingspan: 7.39 m (24 ft 3 in)
- Height: 2.62 m (8 ft 7¼ in)
- Wing area: 10.44 m² (112.4 ft²)
- Airfoil: symmetrical (no camber), zero incidence, zero dihedral/anhedral
- Empty weight: 682 kg (approx.) (1,500 lb (approx.))
- Loaded weight: 952 kg (2095 lb)
- Useful load: 270 kg (595 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 952 kg (2095 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming AEIO-540-L1B5 MT Propeller composite propeller (3- or 4-blade), 224 kW (300 hp)
- Fuel capacity: 52.7 U.S. gal (199.5 l)
- Never exceed speed: 408 km/h (220 knot, 253 mph)
- Cruise speed: 317 km/h (170 knot, 196 mph)
- Stall speed: 102 km/h (55 knot, 63 mph)
- Range: 944 km with auxiliary fuel (510 nmi, 586 statute mi)
- Service ceiling: 4875 m (16,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 16 meters/s (3200 ft/min)
- Roll Rate : 400 degrees per second