Four ex-Red Arrows pilots are part of a team taking on a 100-mile cycle ride around Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to raise money for the charity named after their late friend and colleague – the Jon Egging Trust.
The 15-strong group of cyclists, call themselves ‘Team Fly’, and include Chris Lyndon-Smith, now a pilot for TUI who flew as Red 2, 7 and 6 during the 2011 to 2013 Middle East tour, and Red 5, 4, and 8 during the tours of the Far East, Middle East and North American between 2017 and 2019.
Chris was a close friend of Jon Egging, who tragically died when his Hawk T1 aircraft, Red 4, crashed after a display at Bournemouth Air Festival in 2011, which the duo both took part in. Jon’s wife Emma later launched the Jon Egging Trust (JET) to support vulnerable young people to get back on track and realise their potential, and has helped more than 30,000 children over the past decade.
Team Fly will take on the 100-mile cycle ride on September 26 to raise money for JET, with the route starting and finishing at RAF College Cranwell – donate to the fundraiser here.
It is part of ‘JETRide’ with three different routes available of 50, 80 and 100 miles, and there is still plenty time to sign up. Weather permitting there will be a flypast from the BBMF at the end.
Chris told The Lincolnite: “I served alongside Jon when I was in the Red Arrows and we were together when it [the crash] happened. When his wife set up the trust I wanted to get involved as it is close to my heart.
“Jon was a charismatic individual and extremely professional, and a very capable pilot. The trust is now at the forefront of my mind and what was such a sad event to have happened, something good has happened in his legacy with the trust helping 30,000 children.”
He added that Team Fly would like to thank Breitling UK and are grateful for all their support.
This isn’t the first time Chris has raised money for JET. Earlier this year he took on a 14-mile paddle board challenge with Emma Egging in the River Witham.
Reflecting on his time in the Red Arrows, Chris added: “It was magical. Being able to be trusted to represent the RAF, the armed forces and Britain is something that I felt very honoured to do.
“Flying the British flag and representing the best of Britain is something I never took for granted and something I was very proud to do for six years.”
James Kirk, who is part of Team Fly and now working for aviation firm DEA, told The Lincolnite: “Having personally been inspired by Jon Egging and his colleagues to pursue a career in aviation, it is fantastic that Jon’s legacy continues to inspire and empower children and young adults.
“The JETRide is always a great event and we are all very much looking forward to taking part while raising as much money as possible for JET.”
JET’s accredited programme increases young people’s self-confidence, self-esteem and other vital life and work skills. The programmes are based on the four cornerstones of inspiration, teamwork, employability and leadership.
The JET team works closely with teachers to identify young people most in need of support. All of the students face significant life challenges which threaten their futures – from deprivation and hardship, to bereavement and low self-worth.
- Chris Lyndon-Smith – former Flight Lieutenant – ex-RAF Tornado and ex-Red Arrows pilot, who is now flying for TUI
- Dan Lowes – former Flight Lieutenant – ex-RAF Typhoon and ex-Red Arrows pilot, who is now flying for JCB
- Flight Lieutenant Alun Pepper – ex-BBMF navigator, ex-RAF Tornado navigator, and also Britain’s ‘Manliest Man’ in 2014. Currently serving in the RAF
- Sergeant Victoria Lyndon-Smith – ex-RAF Tornado and ex-Red Arrows engineer, as well as flying Circus 5 in 2014. Currently serving in the RAF
- Dave Davies – ex-squadron leader – ex-RAF Tornado F3 pilot and former Red Arrow, who is now flying for British Airways
- Garry Stratford – ex-squadron leader – ex-RAF Tornado F3 and Typhoon pilot, who is now flying for TUI
- Any Massey – former Flight Lieutenant – ex-RAF Tornado GR1 pilot, who is now flying for TUI
- Emma Egging – CEO of the Jon Egging Trust
- James Kirk – graduated from Airline Pilot Training and now working for DEA
- Katie King – graduate from Cambridge about to gain her Doctorate in nanotechnology. Completed her internship with NASA in astrochemistry and is in the process of applying to NASA to become an astronaut
- Ross Wilkins – team Leader in the engineering department at Siemens, who is also a keen aviation enthusiast
- Coralie Wilkins – works in the finance department for City of Lincoln Council
- Dan Jones – RAF Typhoon pilot, who is still serving in the RAF
- Gavin Murphy – MD of Breitling UK
- Hannah Ager – UX manager for Kallidus