Red Pelicans

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The Red Pelicans were an RAF display team flying Jet Provosts from 1960 until 1973, and they were the RAF's official aerobatic display from 1964 until 1965 when the Red Arrows were formed.

The team was originally formed  by the Central Flying School in 1960 under the name "The Pelicans" after the the bird on the CFS' crest.

Initially the team flew four silver and red Jet Provost T.3 aircraft, but by 1962 the team had converted to the more powerful Mk.4 and added a fifth aircraft.

For the 1963 season the team added a sixth aircraft and adopted an all-over Day-Glo red colour scheme, becoming "The Red Pelicans".  During this season the team displayed at many European air events.  All aircraft were equipped with smoke generators, to enhance their displays.

In 1964 the Red Pelicans became the official RAF display team. Led by Flt. Lt. T E L Lloyd, the team ended their season flying co-ordinated displays with the 'Gnats' of "The Yellowjacks" at the SBAC Airshow, Farnborough.

In 1965 the Red Arrows team was formed flying Gnats, and they took over the role of the official RAF display team. According to this page the Red Arrows got the "Red" in their name from the Red Pelicans (the "Arrows" came from the Black Arrows).

For the 1970 season, the "Red Pelicans" converted to the Jet Provost T.5, and were led by Sqn. Ldr. E D Evers.  The aircraft carried standard RAF training markings, with "The Red Pelicans" titles on the rear fuselage and a unit badge on the tail.

For the 1971 season the team was led by Flt Lt Terence Francis (who flew as number two in the 1970 season), and here is the programme from that season.

The Red Pelicans continued to entertain the crowds at air shows, often alongside the Red Arrows, until they were forced to disband at the end of the 1973 season by the 1973 oil crisis.


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