News story

New pilots join the Red Arrows

The 2 newest members of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, for 2014 have been announced.

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Flight Lieutenants Stewart Campbell and Joe Hourston [Picture: Corporal Graham Taylor RAF, Crown copyright]
Flight Lieutenants Stewart Campbell and Joe Hourston

Flight Lieutenants Stewart Campbell and Joe Hourston, who have both previously flown operations with the RAF in Afghanistan, will stay with the Red Arrows for 3 years.

They will begin training in the coming weeks and will be part of the aerobatic team’s famous 9-aircraft formation in 2014 – displaying in front of millions of people at home and overseas and representing the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force.

Flight Lieutenants Campbell and Hourston are joining the Red Arrows after impressing during a tough selection process that involved flight tests, interviews and other exercises.

The team is the public face of the Royal Air Force and assists with recruiting into the service, contributes to defence diplomacy and supports wider national interests by promoting the country’s industry.

Next year is the 50th display season for the aerobatic team which, since its formation, has performed more than 4,500 displays in 54 different countries.

Flight Lieutenant Stewart Campbell
Flight Lieutenant Stewart Campbell [Picture: Corporal Graham Taylor RAF, Crown copyright]

Flight Lieutenant Campbell joined the RAF in 2003. Before the Red Arrows, he was posted to 617 Squadron and flew 2 operational tours in Afghanistan in Tornado GR4 combat reconnaissance aircraft supporting UK and allied front line troops with key intelligence and precision weapons.

He said:

The Red Arrows represent the pinnacle of fast jet display flying and I’m honoured to be joining this famous team. The way the team operates and how it represents the RAF and UK as a whole is something I very much wanted to be part of.

Although, my selection hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t think I will feel like I’m a member of the Red Arrows until I taxi out with the team leader and go through the first loops and rolls.

He added:

I’m looking forward to the training in the coming months. The skills and requirements are similar to what is expected in other fast jet roles – just as we work up to fly operationally in Afghanistan, we will now be preparing and working hard for a busy and demanding display season in 2014.

Flight Lieutenant Joe Hourston
Flight Lieutenant Joe Hourston [Picture: Corporal Graham Taylor RAF, Crown copyright]

Flight Lieutenant Hourston started his initial officer training with the RAF in 2001. He is also a former Tornado GR4 pilot with 617 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth and has served in Afghanistan.

He said:

I’m very proud to be joining the Red Arrows and the 50th display season in 2014 makes this a particularly special time to arrive.

Since day one of deciding to be a pilot I’ve always wanted to be a member of the team because of what it represents and the variety and challenge of the flying itself.

It’s wonderful to be part of this team and, in turn, help inspire people to consider a career in the RAF and also promote UK plc. If anything, I’m sure 3 years with the Red Arrows will seem far too short by the end.

On completion of a 3-year tour with the Red Arrows, the pilots will either return to the front line or instructional or staff duties.

Published 13 September 2013