Flight Lieutenant Simon 'Kermit' Rea (31) is in his first year with the Red Arrows. Born in Hawera, New Zealand Kermit became interested in aviation through travelling overseas as a child and through some initial flying lessons at his local Aero Club. Educated at Hawera High School, Kermit joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force at the age of 18. On completion of flying training Kermit was posted to the 'strike attack' role and flew the Aermacchi MB339CB trainer and A4-K Skyhawk both in Australia and New Zealand. In 2002 Kermit transferred to the Royal Air Force.
He was posted to fly the Harrier GR-9 ground attack aircraft and carried out operational missions over Afghanistan, flying reconnaissance and close air support missions in support of British and Coalition ground forces.
After his tour on 3(F) Squadron, Kermit was posted to the Harrier Qualified Weapons Instructor Course and on completion took up a post on the Operational Conversion Unit training new pilots to fly the Harrier.
Kermit is married to Mandy and in his spare time enjoys scuba diving, running, tennis and skiing. When not outdoors Kermit enjoys watching Formula 1 motor racing and rugby.