After hosting the Black Tie gala for the project, Mike Ling MBE FRAeS was so taken by the team’s dedication and the story surrounding what they are working towards that he expressed a desire to do more for the project.
In the days following the gala, he and the project director spoke to review the event and Mike was asked if he would become an ambassador for the project. He has gladly accepted and it is with pleasure that we can formally announce he has joined the team.
Mike, or “Lingy” as he is more commonly known, was the longest-serving Red Arrows pilot which included three years flying and six years commentating, supervising and consulting on overseas tours. In fact, many on the global air show scene will recognise his voice with his commentary becoming synonymous with the Red Arrows display.
He survived a mid-air collision and ejection in 2010, becoming a member of the Martin Baker Ejection Tie Club in the process, and in 2017 he was formally recognised for his outstanding service to the RAF and the community by HRH The Queen in the New Year’s Honours, where he was made a ‘Member of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ (MBE).
Joining the RAF as a direct entrant straight after his A-Levels. At 22 Lingy had achieved Qualified Instructor status on the Tucano, before then flying the Tornado F3 as an air defence pilot at RAF Leuchars. In 2008 he earned the privilege of wearing a red flying suit, where he started his Red Arrows career as Red 3, before flying in the synchro pair. In total, Lingy has been involved in 640 public displays, in 46 countries, in front of tens of millions of people.
In 2018 he became a member of The Blades Aerobatic Team, flying the Extra 300, and he also now flies the iconic “Grace” Spitfire with Ultimate Warbird Flights at Sywell.
Sam Worthington-Leese, project director, said “I first met Lingy properly at the Black Tie Gala, which he kindly agreed to host for us and did a smashing job. I was particularly taken by his keenness to find out about the project, and the entire backstory of the Typhoon, a story which I think even surprised him. He is a real ‘doer’, jumping in at the last minute to help the team with place settings and final preparations for the gala, buying into what we are doing from the first instant. He will be a great asset to the team, and I can’t wait to start working with him on driving the project further forward.”
Lingy brings with him a vast amount of experience in aviation and a great breadth of contacts to whom he is able to introduce the project. It is with great pleasure that he is welcomed to the team as an ambassador, alongside Paul Bonhomme and James Holland.