The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is proud to announce that a female pilot is one of two candidates selected to join the world-famous ‘Diamond Nine’ for the 2010 display season.

The successful candidates Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore of number X111 Squadron, RAF Marham and Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank of number 1(Fighter) Squadron, RAF Cottesmore, will fly as part of the 2010-2012 display team, enthralling millions with their exhilarating manoeuvres, demonstrating the skills and excellence of the Royal Air Force, promoting British industry and contributing to defence diplomacy.

The Royal Air Force fast-jet pilots will join the Red Arrows in September 2009 to begin training for their three-year tour with the team, based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Around 30 Royal Air Force fast-jet pilots apply for the prestigious places on the team each year. Kirsty is not the first female to have applied to join the Red Arrows, but was the first to make the prestigious ‘shortlist’ of candidates, and is now the first to be selected for the team.

Until recently, no female fast-jet pilot had reached the stage in their flying career to fulfil the application criteria; be assessed as above average in their flying career, have a minimum of 1,500 flying hours and have completed at least one front line fast-jet operational tour. Applications to join the Red Arrows from Royal Air Force fast-jet pilots meeting the relevant criteria are treated equally and considered purely on merit.

Wing Commander Jas Hawker, Officer Commanding and Team Leader of the Red Arrows, said: “The shortlist of candidates to join the Red Arrows represents some of the very finest fast-jet pilots in the Royal Air Force. Their skills, experience, dedication and enthusiasm are second to none. We are equally proud to be welcoming both pilots to the team and are looking forward to their arrival in September 2009.”

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore (31) joined the RAF as a pilot in 1998. Originally from Lincolnshire she has served as an instructor on the Hawk aircraft at RAF Valley in North Wales and is currently flying Tornado GR4 with XIII Sqn based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

Flight Lieutenant Ben Plank (30) from Worcestershire joined the RAF in 2000. Like Kirsty, he has also served as an instructor on the Hawk at RAF Valley, from where he went on to his current operational tour flying the Harrier with 1(F) Sqn from RAF Cottesmore, Leicestershire.

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