Squadron leader to fly Red 3 while Red Arrows crash pilot recovers

This story is over

Squadron Leader Mike Ling will fly in the Red 3 position for the Red Arrows 2018 season while his colleague Flight Lieutenant David Stark recovers from injuries sustained in the crash at RAF Valley last month.

As previously reported, Flight Lt Stark was discharged from hospital a few weeks ago after the crash at the base in Anglesey in March, where engineer Corporal Jonathan Bayliss tragically lost his life.

Squadron leader Ling is a qualified Hawk T1 pilot and among the most experienced Red Arrows pilots having completed nine seasons with the team.

Flight Lieutenant David Stark joined the Red Arrows in 2017. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Scampton-based Red Arrows acrobatic team are preparing for a packed summer display in the 100th anniversary year of the RAF, and Squadron Leader Ling will enable the trademark nine aircraft formation to happen.

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “Careful consideration was given in making the decision to bring in a pilot to the Red 3 position.

“As the squadron recovers from the tragic loss of a colleague, the on-going convalescence of Flt Lt Stark and the safe operation of the Red Arrows is paramount for us.

“The decision will also allow the most visually-appealing solution for the 2018 season and maintain the Red Arrows’ famous Diamond Nine shape.”

Jonathan-Bayliss was on the Circus team – the small group of highly-trained engineers who travel with the aircraft and provide technical support to the Red Arrows when the aircraft operate away from their home base.