Ministry of Defence
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First female pilot takes flight as historic reds line-up unveiled

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, yesterday unveiled its historic 2010 line-up at Royal Air Force Scampton, its home base near Lincoln. The 2010 team includes the first-ever female pilot, Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore (Red 3), as well as new Officer Commanding and Team Leader, Squadron Leader Ben Murphy (Red 1), and fellow newcomer Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank (Red 2).

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore, 31, was born and raised in Lincolnshire.  She attended Stamford High School, before studying for her Masters in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College, London.  A Flying Scholarship granted by The Air League Educational Trust launched Kirsty’s flying career and she subsequently became a member of the London University Air Squadron before joining the Royal Air Force in 1998. 

Following her flying training, Flight Lieutenant Moore spent three years as a Qualified Flying Instructor, teaching students how to fly the advanced fast-jet trainer aircraft at Royal Air Force Valley.  Kirsty was then posted to XIII Squadron, based at RAF Marham, where she flew the Tornado GR4, serving on two operations in Iraq in support of British, American and Iraqi ground forces.

Kirsty was not the first female pilot to apply to be a Red Arrow.  However, she was the first to make the applicant ‘shortlist’ and subsequently be selected to join the team.  Looking to the future, there is every chance that there will be more female Red Arrows pilots.

Flight Lieutenant Moore said:

“Having the opportunity to represent the Royal Air Force is a great honour, and I am delighted to have been selected for that role. It is certainly a major personal achievement for me – just as it is for every pilot that is chosen for the team. 

“Becoming a Red Arrow gives each pilot the opportunity to demonstrate the professionalism, quality leadership, team work, motivation, commitment and camaraderie of the Royal Air Force to audiences all over the world.”

Squadron Leader Murphy joined the Red Arrows in 2007, and was proud to fly in the prestigious position of Synchro Leader in his third display season with the team this year.  He takes over the highly coveted position of Red 1 from Wing Commander Jas Hawker who led the team from 2007-2009. He will lead the Red Arrows for the 2010-2012 display seasons.

Aged 34 and from Loughborough, Squadron Leader Murphy gained his private pilot’s licence aged 17, before he had even learnt to drive! He joined the Royal Air Force in 1997 and flew the Harrier GR7 before joining the Red Arrows, serving on operations in Iraq during the Gulf War 2003 and more recently in Afghanistan.    

Squadron Leader Murphy said:

“I am extremely proud to be leading such an exceptionally talented team of pilots, engineers and support staff who all work together to showcase the excellence of the Royal Air Force’s personnel and equipment to millions of people both in the UK and overseas. 

“We all feel it is a great honour to be an ambassador of professionalism, precision and team work while also contributing to the promotion of the British industry and diplomacy around the world.”

“This is a particularly important and exciting year for the team as we welcome Kirsty, our first female pilot.  We hope that many young men and women will be inspired by her historic achievement.”

Fellow newcomer, Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank (30), from Worcestershire, completed a flying scholarship aged 17. He then became a member of Oxford University Air Squadron where he completed his elementary flying training. Ben joined the Royal Air Force in 2000.  Before joining the Red Arrows, he flew the Harrier GR9 serving on operational missions in Afghanistan. Ben will fly in the position of Red 2 towards the front of the formation, to the right side of Red 1.

Flight Lieutenant Plank said:

“I can remember being taken to an airshow when I was little and just being so in awe of the Red Arrows. Without doubt seeing them inspired me to become a Royal Air Force fast-jet pilot, and I dreamed of one day becoming a Red Arrow.  For me, being selected for the team is the pinnacle of my career so far, and I hope that I will help to inspire future generations of fast-jet pilots.”

The full 2010 display team is:

RED 1, Officer Commanding and Team Leader – Sqn Ldr Ben Murphy (from Loughborough, Leicestershire)
RED 2 – Flt Lt Ben Plank (from Worcestershire)
RED 3 – Flt Lt Kirsty Moore (from Stamford, Lincolnshire)
RED 4 – Flt Lt Dave Davies (from Colwyn Bay, Wales)
RED 5 – Flt Lt Zane Sennett (originally from Hong Kong, educated in Surrey)
RED 6 – Flt Lt Mike Ling (from Orpington, Kent)
RED 7 – Flt Lt David Montenegro (originally from Bogota, Columbia, educated in Dulwich)
RED 8 – Sqn Ldr Graham Duff (from Penrith, Cumbria)
RED 9 – Flt Lt Simon Rea (from New Zealand)
RED 10 and Road Manager – Sqn Ldr Graeme Bagnall (from Cumbria)

For the latest news and information on the Red Arrows go to


Background information
2010 will be the Red Arrows’ 46th display season.   Since the Team’s creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have flown over 4,200 displays in 53 countries.  Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world, acting as ambassadors for Great Britain when displaying overseas.  They also support UK industry by demonstrating the capabilities of British equipment and expertise.  The Royal Air Force has some 3,000 servicemen and women deployed overseas on operations at any one time.  Many of the Red Arrows’ pilots and support staff have recently returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and many will be temporarily sent on operations overseas during their time with the Red Arrows.  As soon as they leave the Team, all will return to duties which directly support the Royal Air Force’s operational commitments around the world.
Media contacts:
Nikki Wright, Public Relations Manager, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, Red Arrows
Tel:  +44(0)1522 733007
Mob: +44(0) 7780 583697
Fax:  +44(0)1522 733003

Emma Thomas, Public Relations Officer, The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, Red Arrows
Tel:  +44(0)1522 733007
Mob: +44(0) 7780 583697
Fax:  +44(0)1522 733003

Wing Commander Julie Parry, RAF Desk, Ministry of Defence Press Office
Tel: +44(0)20 7218 7950
Mob:  +44(0)7795 223849
Fax:  +44(0)20 7218 6460

Ben Wilkinson, Operations Desk, Ministry of Defence Press Office
Tel:  +44(0)20 7218 9006
Mob: +44(0)7768 316281
Fax:  +44(0)20 7218 6460


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department

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