Home » Uncategorized

Three new pilots and manager join Red Arrows

The RAF Red Arrows have announced their new line-up for 2013, with three new pilots and a new manager.

The line-up to fly the distinctive red planes alters every year at the beginning of October, with pilots selected to join during Exercise SPRINGHAWK.

Pilots are chosen on merit, and must have flown at least 1500 fast jet hours and complete a front line tour as a fast jet pilot first.

The three new pilots are Flight Lieutenants Mark Lawson (Red 3), Steve Morris (Red 5) and Oliver Parr (Red 2).

In addition to the new pilots, the Red Arrows also have a new manager: Squadron leader Ruth Shackleton, who joined earlier this month.

Flight Lieutenant Lawson said: “Being selected for the Red Arrows is a true honour to me and I am proud to play a part in representing the professionalism and dedication of the people of the Royal Air Force”.

Meet the new Red Arrows pilots:


Mark Lawson

Flight Lieutenant Mark Lawson (34) from Harpenden has been selected to fly with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows. Mark has joined the Team at their base in RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire and will begin training in October. Mark will stay with the Team for three years.

He was educated at Sir John Lawes secondary school in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. There he gained A-levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Mark went on to read a degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Loughborough University, graduating in 1999.

Mark joined the Royal Air Force in 2000. On graduating from Initial Officer Training he undertook Elementary Flying Training at Royal Air Force Wyton. He was then ‘streamed’ to fly fast jet aircraft. On completion of basic and advanced fast jet training on the Tucano and Hawk aircraft respectively, Mark was posted to Royal Air Force Lossiemouth in north Scotland. There he began flying the Tornado GR4 on 617 Squadron, the Dambusters.

He went on to undertake the Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) Course before instructing on the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) for a short period. Mark then assumed the role of squadron QWI pilot on IX(B) Sqn at Royal Air Force Marham. Over the seven and a half years Mark has been flying the Tornado GR4, he has enjoyed numerous detachments and exercises in North America, Canada, Romania, Germany and Cyprus. Mark has deployed in support of operations in Iraq on Operation TELIC, Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK and more recently over Libya on Operation ELLAMY.


Steve Morris

Flight Lieutenant Steve Morris (31) from Sheffield has been selected to fly with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows. Steve has joined the Team at their base in RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire and will begin training in October. Steve will stay with the team for three years.

Steve was educated at Westfield Comprehensive School in Sheffield. Whilst at school he was a member of the Air Training Corps. He then went on to study A-Levels in Maths, Physics and Computing at The Sheffield College. After completing his A-Levels Steve studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Sheffield, where he was sponsored by the Royal Air Force and spent much of his time flying the Tutor training aircraft at the Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron, based at Royal Air Force Church Fenton.

He joined the Royal Air Force in 2002 and after successfully graduating from Advanced Flying Training at Royal Air Force Valley, was selected to remain with 208 Squadron, to become a Qualified Flying Instructor. After his ‘Creamie’ tour Steve completed Tactical Weapons Training on 19(R) Squadron and after which he was selected to fly the Harrier GR9. Steve was the last pilot to complete the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit and was posted to 1(F) Squadron at Royal Air Force Cottesmore where he became Combat Ready shortly before the Harrier was disbanded in December 2010. Steve then went on to fly the Tornado GR4 and was posted to IX(B) Squadron at Royal Air Force Marham. Steve was involved in Operation ELLAMY over Libya during his first few months on IX(B) Squadron and took part in exercises in both the UK and North America. This is his first year on the Team.


Oliver Parr

Flight Lieutenant Oliver Parr (36) from Bath has been selected to fly with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows. Oliver, known as “Olly”, has joined the Team at their base in RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire and will begin training in October. He will stay with the Team for three years.

Olly was educated at Kingswood School in Bath. Before completing his A-Levels, he gained sponsorship to join the Army as the Royal Air Force wasn’t recruiting pilots at the time. He then went on to study at Kingston University in London, where he spent time on the Officer Training Corps. Upon graduation he attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, although upon completion of the course in 1999 he chose to switch his Commission to the Royal Air Force with a view to pilot training.

He officially joined the Royal Air Force in the autumn of 1999 and immediately began pilot training. After completing Elementary Flying Training he was streamed to fly fast jets and progressed through to graduate from the Tactical Weapons Course at Royal Air Force Valley in the spring of 2003. He was role-disposed to fly the Tornado GR4, and upon completion of the Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Lossiemouth he was assigned to 31 Squadron (Sqn) based at RAF Marham. After a busy tour which was to include two tours to Iraq and multiple exercises in the USA ,Canada and Cyprus, he was posted to become an instructor at Royal Air Force Valley. During another busy tour he gained his A2 and Central Flying School accreditation on the Hawk T1. In 2009 he was posted back to 31 Sqn for a second time on frontline service where he became the Sqn QFI and completed a four month tour of Afghanistan.