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Astronaut Tim Peake joins Red Arrows for military air show flight

The astronaut sat behind Sqn Ldr Martin Pert for the journey.

Tim Peake sits in Red 1 before taking part in a practice display (Andy Matthews/PA)
Tim Peake sits in Red 1 before taking part in a practice display (Andy Matthews/PA)

Astronaut Tim Peake has joined the Red Arrows for a rehearsal flight at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

He sat behind Sqn Ldr Martin Pert, known as Red 1, in one of the team’s distinctive Hawk fast-jets.

The display over RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire took place two days before the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

During the flight, lasting 20 minutes, the Red Arrows showed off their famous precision flying and Diamond Nine shape.

Three years ago I landed on the steps of Kazakhstan and I haven’t had the wow factor since then until today Astronaut Major Tim Peake

Major Peake, 47, gave a thumbs-up from the cockpit of the plane after it landed.

“Three years ago I landed on the steps of Kazakhstan and I haven’t had the wow factor since then until today,” he said.

“This was incredible. As a young child I watched the Red Arrows so many times and to have the opportunity to fly with them today was such a privilege.”

Sqn Ldr Pert, 38, added: “He absolutely loved the flight. He was just smiling from ear to ear, so it was a real pleasure for me as well.”

Major Peake’s appearance at this year’s air tattoo, which will continue on Friday, ties in with its space theme.

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Tim Peake (right) with Red 1 team leader, Squadron leader Martin Pert (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, landing in a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 and returning to Earth six months later.

When asked about the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Major Peake said: “It is incredibly awe-inspiring.

“It has remained an inspiration, not just for all the people that watched it live but for all the people that followed, who have been born into a world where humans have walked on the moon.

“I think as well as celebrating what we have done, it’s a great opportunity to look to the future.”

The Royal International Air Tattoo, which is the largest military air show in the world, will run from July 19 to 21.

PA

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