Display team bids farewell to Leeming

Grp Capt Tony Innes, centre, is presented with a picture from members of the Black Eagles team as thanks for the help provided by RAF Leeming during their UK stay.
Grp Capt Tony Innes, centre, is presented with a picture from members of the Black Eagles team as thanks for the help provided by RAF Leeming during their UK stay.

An historic visit to Royal Air Force Leeming has come to an end with the departure of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s aerobatic display team after a highly successful visit to some of the UK’s most prestigious air shows.

The North Yorkshire air base hosted the Black Eagles as they prepared for and participated in the Waddington Airshow and the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford following almost 20 years of preparation and liaison between the two countries.

As the first aerobatics display team from Asia to perform in Europe, the Black Eagles – in their distinctive T-50 ‘Golden Eagle’ supersonic light-trainer jets – made a hugely successful UK debut. The team won the trophy for best display at the Waddington Air Show and were presented with both the King Hussein Memorial Sword and the As the Crow Flies trophy at RIAT.

Following their ground-breaking performances, the Black Eagles returned to RAF Leeming to dismantle their jets before returning home. Soojung Lee is one of the managers at the marketing division of Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd, which maintains the T-50s. She said: “Without the help of RAF Leeming we could not have been so successful. It was difficult at times because of the weather, but we managed. We are very thankful to everyone at RAF Leeming who helped.”

Station commander Grp Capt Tony Innes said: “It was honour to accommodate and support the Republic of Korean aerobatic display team the Black Eagles. I was delighted that the efforts and professionalism of the team were recognised with their awards for best display and take great satisfaction in the knowledge that Royal Air Force Leeming played its part in making their historic visit to the UK so successful.”