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The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:41 pm
by Adam
Now, if you're in North America, bear with me - this is kind of relevant on your side of the Atlantic, too.

Here in the UK we have an aerobatic team called The Blades, formed mostly of ex-Red Arrows pilots, flying four Extra 300LPs. In terms of their status over here, they're kind of like the British equivalent of AeroShell or the GEICO Skytypers - a very common sight at UK airshows, and probably the best-known civilian team in the country. They also offer passenger experience flights and are involved in the Red Bull Air Race. Oh, and did I mention? Their displays are very, very good.

Today, the team's commentator announced this would be their last year flying the Extra, which came as a bit of a surprise to me, so I did some digging online. I found an article by the Royal Aeronautical Society from May this year, and it says that the team have been planning to upgrade to the GameBird GB1 - today's comments would seem to suggest that's now going to happen at the end of this season. The article points out that the GB1 has double the range of the Extra, allowing the team to self-deploy further and display in more remote locations, all at a reduced cost.

But here's something else the article threw up:
"While The Blades are now a regular sight on the UK air show display circuit and their passenger flights a major success for corporate and private ‘experience’ flight - the team are now setting their sights on conquering a bigger goal – the world. The aim is to bring the team's professionalism, skill and passion and conduct passenger flights outside of the UK’s spring/summer flying season – potentially tying into international air shows and other public events around the world – especially in the Middle East and even the US."

As if the prospect of a world-class aerobatic team going on a world tour for six months a year isn't interesting enough, I also wonder whether the procurement of the GameBird fleet will tie in to this. I'm not sure if the old Extras are going to be sold off when the GB1s arrive, but if not, it leaves open the tantelising opportunity of having a "home" fleet and and "away" fleet. They wouldn't be the first UK civilian team to employ such a model.

So, keep an eye out for The Blades coming to an event near you in the future - they're one of the best civilian teams around, and it certainly appears that they have the status, money and ambition to make this global growth work.

Source: https://www.aerosociety.com/news/carvin ... go-global/

Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:03 am
by RyanS
This is very interesting, because the Gamebird is not just a reskinned Extra. It flies very differently than any other aerobatic type that I've seen, more like an RC plane than anything (at least in the hands of Phillip Steinbach). I imagine a professional team could come up with some VERY cool maneuvers with it. So much the better if they perform over here!

For those unfamiliar with the aircraft:






Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:59 pm
by Flightline Uk
The plans are far more profound and larger than Arthur's Bournemouth commentary and the RAeS article hint at. Its not just about the aircraft.

Certainly the plan for the launch of the "new team" during Spring 2020 could be quite spectacular and unique.

Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:21 am
by Adam
Looking forward to hearing more!

Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:17 pm
by kstater94
It would be nice to see the Blades in the U.S.

I've seen them many times in the UK and they are great to watch

Cheers
John

Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:38 am
by Adam
I guess this is the shape of things to come! It coincides with the Dubai Airshow too, it's not mentioned in this press release but I wonder if they will be involved? https://theblades.com/the-blades-to-off ... mn-winter/

Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:54 am
by Flightline Uk
Yes, they are displaying during the Dubai Airshow.

Re: The Blades to "go global" & upgrade to GameBird GB1

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:29 am
by Adam
Yes, just seen them on the show's website. Great news for the team!