Fly2help is proud to announce the appointment of new Patron Mike Ling MBE FRAeS. Mike has supported fly2help for many years and we are excited to be working with him in the future.
Mike said ” I am honoured and delighted to have been asked to be a Patron of fly2help. Having been fortunate to have worked with the charity for many years in my time in the Red Arrows, I am now very excited to become more involved and help to inspire and to raise people’s spirits through the fabulous medium of aviation”
Mike Ling MBE FRAeS
Born in 1979, Mike grew up in Biggin Hill, a famous World War Two Battle of Britain airfield in Kent. He attended the Biggin Hill Air Fair every year, where his passion for aircraft and air displays developed at a young age, leading him to join the RAF Air Cadets aged 13.
Having joined the Royal Air Force after finishing his A-levels at St Olave’s Grammar School, Mike’s first tour was teaching Basic Fast Jet Training on the Tucano, where he achieved Qualified Flying Instructor status at the age of 22.
After his instructional duties Mike trained for 8 months in Canada and was then posted to RAF Leuchars in Scotland to fly the Tornado F3 as an air defence pilot, including spells as part of the Quick Reaction Alert force responsible for securing the skies of the United Kingdom and the Falkland Islands.
Mike achieved his childhood dream when he was selected to join the Red Arrows for the 2008 display season to fly as Red 3 before then being chosen as Red 7 in the prestigious Synchro Pair for 2009. In March 2010, while leading the Synchro Pair as Red 6, Mike survived a head-on mid-air training collision at a closing speed of over 750 mph. A low-level ejection caused major injuries resulting in surgery and months of rehabilitation before Mike could get back in the air.
Mike left the Red Arrows after his three-year tour of duty came to an end but was posted back as Red 10, the Supervisor, in 2011. In this role he was responsible for the supervision and safe execution of Red Arrows training and displays, whilst also being the ‘voice of the Red Arrows’ as the team’s commentator and became a familiar face across the air display scene. In 2012 Mike flew as Red 9 in flypasts for major events including the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony and Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Following six consecutive years as the team’s supervisor and commentator, Mike moved on at the end of 2017 to be the Air Safety Manager for the Central Flying School at RAF Cranwell. A tragic accident for the Red Arrows in Spring 2018 meant that Mike was recalled to the team at short notice to fly as Red 3 for the 2018 display season, ensuring the Red Arrows were able to fly a nine-ship display for the RAF’s 100th Anniversary year.
At the end of the season, Mike hung up his red suit after a record 10 display seasons. In that time he flew 2585 sorties in Red Arrows aircraft, played a part in 700 public displays and flew a red Hawk jet into 46 different countries; as far west as New York and as far east as China.
Mike was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List at the end of 2017 for his services to the Red Arrows, and subsequently received the Masters Commendation from the Honourable Company of Air Pilots in October 2018. He became a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in March 2019.
Mike left the Royal Air Force in April 2019 after 21 years of service. He has since become a commercial pilot and flight instructor and is a full-time member of the Blades Aerobatic Team, the world’s only aerobatic airline. In this role he performs public displays but also relishes in the opportunity to give passengers the chance to experience close formation aerobatics in a team of all ex-Red Arrows pilots.