August 4, 2021 4.41 pm This story is over 33 months old

Former Red Arrows pilots ready to wow crowds at Lincolnshire air show

The Blades will take to the skies

An aerobatic display team of former Red Arrows pilots known as The Blades are preparing to perform a thrilling display at the East Kirkby Air Show this weekend.

The county’s biggest independent air show will be held at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre on Saturday, August 7.

Blade 3, Mike Ling, is the Red Arrows’ longest serving pilot having flown more than 1,700 hours over his 10 years with the Reds. Now Mike is giving back to the RAF Benevolent Fund, who helped him get back on his feet and in the air after a crash in 2010.

Blade 3, Mike Ling. | Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund

During a Red Arrows training session in Crete in 2010 Mike was involved in a mid-air collision with another Red Arrow jet. He spent weeks in hospital with injuries including badly damaged legs, arms, substantial burns, a dislocated shoulder, lacerations on his face and damaged lungs.

The RAF Benevolent Fund provided a powered wheelchair for the remainder of his recovery, which helped Mike regain some of the independence he lost after his accident and allowed him to take care of himself again.

The charity is supported by the Blades Aerobatic Team who help spread the word about the work the charity does providing financial, emotional, and practical assistance to serving and retired RAF personnel and their families. Mike is now helping to raise awareness of the charity’s work.

Mike is now helping to raise awareness of the work done by the RAF Benevolent Fund. | Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund

He said: “I’ve a real affinity with Lincolnshire, having spent so much of my time in the RAF based here. To be back in the county displaying amidst the history, sights and sounds of former RAF East Kirkby is a real treat. The old and new aviation spectacle that will be on show today is going to delight the crowds.

“That sentiment also echoes with the aims of our charity partner, the RAF Benevolent Fund, who stand alongside members of the RAF Family in their times of need.

“I know first-hand the difference their support can make so I’m keen to spread that message to others who might not know the many ways in which the Fund can help.

“If the past year and the pressures of COVID-19 have shown us anything, it’s that we all need to be there for one another, so if I can reach just one more person through our partnership with the Fund, then that will be the perfect end to what I hope will be a great display.”

The Blades will perform at the air show held at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. | Photo: Claire Hartley

The airshow raises funds for the ongoing restoration of Avro Lancaster Lancaster NX611 and tickets were limited to 5,000. There will be re-enactors, Lancaster taxy runs, trade stats, vintage cars, Military vehicles and more – see more information here.

Tickets are still available priced at £21 for adults and £6 for children – book a ticket here.