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‘Recycled’ Red Arrow returns to rainy RIAT

We're once again delighted to be displaying some of our new, and favourite pieces at the Royal International Air Tattoo. Among them is a unique coffee table constructed from the wingtip of the longest serving Red Arrows Hawk, that has wowed crowds all around the globe.

Day one of Europe's largest airshow, unfortunately got off to a very wet start. The forecast for the weekend doesn't look entirely promising but our pieces are safely ensconced in the prestigious 'First Class Lounge' and 'Lightning Pavilion' providing an eye-catching backdrop to proceedings.

Over the course of the weekend, more than 200 000 people will visit this enormous festival of aviation. Millions have visited previously and many will have been inspired by display teams like the Red Arrows in the past, including our machine, XX227.

Built in 1979, she was part of the first tranche of BAe Hawks delivered to the team on 6th February 1980. 38 years, 8077 flight hours and 13 855 landings later, she retired on 16th February 2018, becoming an instructional airframe at RAF Cosford. We learned yesterday from a former Red Arrows pilot who'd flown her, that she was favourite amongst the team, often serving as the boss' choice. Evidently, each of the airframes has their own handing characteristics and foibles, particularly under G, although he described '227 as 'a pretty straight jet'.

During her long life, she underwent many repairs and upgrades including 3 sets of wings! We acquired her second set, and the coffee table on display is the first of several unique pieces to come from this historic aircraft.

When it comes to historic aircraft, the Spitfire is, of course, an icon. We're delighted to also have on display a genuine 1940s Spitfire propeller. Built by F Hills & Sons of Manchester, one of a number of subcontractors to our former neighbours, Rotol, they produced tens of thousands of blades during WWII. This one was, we believe, scrapped and disposed of by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and research is ongoing to its history.

We've also launched some new, 'civilian' pieces at the Air Tattoo. A set of propellers from a Piper Cherokee Arrow, bent when the pilot neglected to lower the undercarriage whilst flying into an airfield for a job interview. He was unhurt - apart from some dented pride and an emptied wallet - and we think he still got the job!

There's also a stunning polished engine cowling from a Hawker Siddeley HS125-700B business jet. Delivered in 1979, this aircraft served with a Swiss and a number of UK operators, including Arrows Formula 1 team supremo, Eddie Jordan. Another of our SNEB rocket pod tables and a host of other compressor and propellers complete the 'set dressing'.


With aviation under increasing scrutiny from environmentalists, RIAT organisers, Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises has focussed on sustainability for this year's event. They implemented ISO 20121, the international management system standard in Event Sustainability and announced that they had been successfully audited earlier this year and certified to the standard. 

Organising a 'pop up' major event for hundreds of thousands of visitors on an active military base in the middle of the Gloucestershire countryside is no mean feat environmentally. Hospitality has, traditionally, been a very much 'single use' environment. Miles of temporary carpet, tons of plastic cutlery and mountains of waste and the like, leave a huge footprint. Exhibitors and service partners were asked to provide copies of our sustainability or environmental policies this year and update the organisers on any ideas or products that we have, or are working on, that can help to improve the event in environmental terms.

In all honesty, we don't actually have a written sustainability ot environmental policy. We're a small business and, beyond the legal obligations of Health & Safety etc. we don't actually have very much written down at all. That said, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. The propeller piece pictured above is a prime example. Every single component is repurposed. The leg we made to supoort the blades and hubcomes from an Explorer helicopter skid, welded to a runway light base plate, all mounted on a piece of reclaimed oak. Reuse, recycle, repurpose is what we do.

We love aviation and we know it's importance and value. We accept that it has an inevitable environmental impact but we categorically do not subscribe to the growing clamour that we all need to stop flying immediately. We've been around long enough to see, first hand, the changes the industry has made in recent years. The scrapping of the 747 fleet during the pandemic, for example, has seen something like a 7% reduction in long haul capacity. The Dreamliners and A350s now plying those international routes are carrying 93% of the passengers but using anything up to 60% less fuel.

By reusing, repurposing and upcycling aircraft components, otherwise destined for landfill, we can make a small, but positive contribution for good. We've doubled the number of pieces we've provided for the Air Tattoo this year, we'd love to see that growth expand not just at our local airshow but across all sectors. We really can reduce your carbon footprint while giving you the ultimate talking point for our event, office or home, permanently, or on a hire basis.

Fingers crossed that the weather improves for the rest of the show!

We're offering our members an exclusive 10% discount on the new pieces on display, and all our other website items using the coupon code 'RIAT23', which will remain valid until the end of July.

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