Flight Lieutenant Mike Ling (29) is in his first year with the Red Arrows. He grew up in Biggin Hill in Kent where his dream of flying with the Red Arrows first began, after seeing them display every year at the Biggin Hill Air Fair. Mike was educated at St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington and joined 2427 (Biggin Hill) Squadron Air Training Corps to further his knowledge of the Royal Air Force. Following his A-levels and a Royal Air Force Flying Scholarship, Mike joined the Royal Air Force in 1998.
After completing the first stages of flying training, Mike was posted to 72 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse where he became a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Tucano TMk1 aircraft, teaching basic fast-jet flying to future pilots. Following his instructional tour, Mike completed NATO Flying Training in Canada on the Hawk 115 aircraft, based at Cold Lake in Alberta.
Mike was posted to the Tornado F3, a two-seat fighter-interceptor aircraft in 2005 and joined 111 (Fighter) Squadron based at Royal Air Force Leuchars in Scotland. During his time on this squadron he played an active part in the air defence of the United Kingdom and the Falkland Islands on Quick Reaction Alert duties as well as participating in training exercises in the UK, Belgium, Denmark and India.
Mike is married to Natalie and enjoys hill walking, skiing, fencing and watching rugby. He has recently finished an Open University course in website design.