Here’s who is flying the Red Arrows at the Great Yarmouth Air Show
- Credit: SAC Hannah Smoker
Discover who is at the controls of the Red Arrows when they fly today.
All Red Arrows display pilots have flown operationally in frontline aircraft such as the advanced Typhoon, and helped the Royal Air Force to secure the skies every day of the year.
The team has a full complement of nine pilots, but following the crash at RAF Valley in March which left Fl Lt David Stark injured – and sadly led to the death of engineer Cpl Jonathan Bayliss, the Red 3 position is being flown by Sqn Ldr Mike Ling who rejoins the squadron having done nine seasons with them in the past.
The team is led by officer commanding Wg Cdr Andrew Keith, with Sqn Ldr Adam Collins Red 10, the supervisor on the ground.
The pilots, who have a minimum of 1500 flying hours to join the team and have completed at least one front line tour, and passed a gruelling flying test, are:
Red Arrows pilots
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Sqn Ldr Martin Pert
Martin, 40, was born in Scotland and joined the RAF in 2000 through the Sixth Form Scholarship scheme.
He trained on the Firefly, Tucano and Hawk, becoming an instructor on the Hawk TMk1 and was the solo Hawk display pilot in 2006. Postings include the Harrier GR7/9 with operations in Afghanistan. He joined the Red Arrows from 2012-2014 which included fly pasts for the 2012 London Olympics, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 2014 Commonwealth Games. After more operational duties, he’s returned to the Reds and this is his first year as Red 1, Team Leader.
Flt Lt Jon Bond
Born and raised in Epping, Essex, Jon dreamt of being a pilot from a very young age and started flying while at university, joining the RAF in 2006. He taught trainee fast jet pilots and was Tucano display pilot in 2012. Aircraft flown include the Hawk T1 and Typhoon FGR4. Operations served overseas include Quick Reaction Alert in the UK, Lithuania and the Falkland Islands. This is his first year on the team.
Flt Lt Mike Ling
Mike returns to the team as Red 3 for the 2018, covering for Flt Lt David Stark who is recovering from injuries sustained before the season began. Mike was a member of the 2427 (Biggin Hill) Squadron ATC, receiving a RAF Flying Scholarship. He became a flying instructor on the Tucano TMk1 aircraft, completed NATO flying training on the Hawk 115 and was posted to the Tornado F3. He joined the Red Arrows in 2008, and was selected for the Synchro Pair 2009-2010.
Flt Lt Chris Lyndon Smith
Chris was educated in Norfolk and the West Midlands, awarded a RAF Flying Scholarship age 16 and joined the RAF in 1998. Aircraft flown included the Tornado GR4, he completed the Combat Survival Rescue officers course, has been a flying instructor and he flew as Red 2, 7 and 6 between 2011 and 2013. He rejoined in 2016. Married with a son, he is a keen skier, scuba diver, kite surfer, rugby player and motorbike rider.
Flt Lt Dan Lowes
Dan was educated in Hong Kong until moving to school at Weybridge and – with his mum a former RAF pilot and mum a RAF nurse – he joined the RAF age 19 in 2004. His various roles have included multi role combat ready status, quick reaction alert and as QWI in charge of all Air-Air and Air-Ground weapons on Typhoons. He’s recently been in the US conducting airborne weapons trials. He enjoys competitive sports, playing the piano and spending time with his family.
Flt Lt Si Taylor – Synchro Leader
Our Norfolk skies should look familiar to Si, who spent three years at RAF Marham. Si, from Leeds, dreamed of being a pilot after his Dad took him to an air show when he was very little. He joined the RAF in 2003 and has flown the Hawk 115, Typhoon FGR4 and Tornado GR4. Tours have included Afghanistan, Falkland Islands and Libya with exercises in Nevada, Arizona, Oman, UAE and Poland.
Flt Lt Toby Keeley – Synchro Two
Toby will also recognise our Norfolk landscape as he also spent three years at RAF Marham. Toby went to school at Eastbourne where he was a member of the Hailsham ATC and he completed his Elementary Flying Training with Southampton Uni Air Squadron. His work has included tours of Afghanistan, a flying instructor on the Hawk T2 and this is his second year with the REDS. He is married with two children and enjoys golf, skiing, guitar playing and spending time with his family.
Flt Lt Matt Maters
Matt was awarded an RAF sixth form flying scholarship, obtaining his Private Pilot’s Licence before his driving licence. After university and a round the world trip, Matt joined the RAF in 1998. After time on the Tornado F3, he spent time in the National Air and Space Operations Centre, plus flying on 100 Squadron as part of the RAF’s aggressor squadron flying the Hawk T Mk1. This is Matt’s third year on the team.
Flt Lt Mike Bowden
Another Red previously based at RAF Marham with the Tornado GR4, Mike had completed an RAF and Air League flying scholarship and gained his PPL age 17 before being sponsored by the RAF at Cardiff Uni. He joined the RAF in 2002 and became a flying instructor, before tactical weapons training led to flying the Harrier GR9. This is his fourth year on the team.