Red Arrows treat Graduation crowds to memorable fly-past

Not many things bring campus life to a complete standstill, but when the Red Arrows pierced the sky this morning, all attention was focused up above - including the School of Science Graduation ceremony which paused for a brief but exciting moment.

The 10 red Hawk aircraft passed over Loughborough University, heading east to west, at precisely 10.40am today, leaving behind their signature red, white and blue vapour trails as well as countless awestruck spectators.

Staff, students, graduands and their parents gathered in crowds at various locations on campus all hoping to get a clear view of the RAF’s revered aerobatic display team and catch a glimpse of the iconic Diamond Nine formation.

Click for pictures and videos of the Red Arrows Graduation fly-past

The squadron has a close link with the University through two of its pilots, Flt Lt Simon Taylor and Flt Lt Jon Bond, who are both proud Loughborough alumni.

When the aircraft appeared, those who were quick enough with the cameras and phones captured memorable images of the RAF’s finest pilots.

The fly-past was organised by Loughborough University as a special addition to the Graduation celebrations.

Lord Sebastian Coe, the University’s Chancellor, was ready to begin conferring degrees at the morning ceremony, but not before the packed hall turned its attention to the live feed on a giant screen behind the main stage.

Lord Coe said: "What other university gives students a Red Arrows fly-past on their graduation?

"We knew they were on their way, and we sat in the hall waiting, with a live link to outside, and Professor Linton (Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor) was explaining that the Arrows would be leaving at 10.28am, from RAF Scampton, and it took 11 minutes for them to get here.

"And, as he was coming to the end of explaining the schedule, there was a low rumble and the Red Arrows flashed by on the screen – with two of our own in the cockpits, of course.

“What a fantastic way for people to remember their graduation.”

Loughborough’s Arrows

Flt Lt Simon Taylor is in his third year with the team. He is Red 6 and Synchro Lead. With Red 7, the Synchro pair performs the most thrilling manoeuvres of displays.

Simon graduated from the Loughborough Design School in 2002 with a BSC in Ergonomics.

Flt Lt Jon Bond, who flies as Red 2, is in his first year with the team.

Jon graduated from Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering with a BSc in Air Transport Management in 2005.

He went on to complete an MSc in Transport Policy and Business Management the following year.


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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2019, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.