The Blades is a civilian aerobatic display team situated at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, UK and is part of 2Excel Aviation Ltd. This Company provides the corporate sector with a unique suite of high-impact communications tools: unforgettable corporate flying events, exceptional air displays and a truly through-the-line flying bill-board. The Blades are also a partner with The Royal Air Forces Association.
The team flies on four Extra 300 LP aircrafts painted in light blue and black colors. Until the April 2010 the teams' aircrafts were painted in orange-black livery. All planes are equipped with white smoke generators.
Including the five full-time display pilots, there are eight ex-RAF, fully-qualified commercial pilots, who fly passengers during The Blades' corporate flying events.
Blade 1 for 2010 is Myles Garland. A former RAF Harrier pilot and Red Arrows 'synchro lead', this is Myles' second season as the Team Leader following 3 seasons as a wingman and solo pilot. Chris Carder, Andy Offer and Dave Slow share the Blade 2 slot, thus allowing some spare time to concentrate on the other expanding areas of business within 2Excel Aviation, the parent company of The Blades. Blade 3 is Andy Evans and Blade 4 (solo pilot) is Mark 'Cutty' Cutmore. Both Andy and Cutty were RAF Jaguar pilots, Red Arrows and advisors to the Saudi Arabian National Aerobatic Team "Saudi Hawks".
The Blades aerobatic team was founded in 2005 by Chris Norton OBE DFC and Andy Offer OBE. They both left distinguished careers in the Royal Air Force as Wing Commanders to create a unique, aviation-based communications business.
Team's displays have been watched by more than 18 million people at over 150 venues across UK, Europe and the Middle East. Display highlights have included the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Her Majesty The Queen's 80th Birthday Celebrations at Balmoral, the opening of the Bahrain Financial Harbour and the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The Blades have also created bespoke corporate events for many of the UK's leading companies, flying over 1,000 passengers in close formation aerobatic flights.