A MECHANICAL technician from Chester will be spending the summer flying high with the world-famous Red Arrows, as part of their back-seat support crew.
Corporal Phil Ackerley, 35, will be part of the 10-strong team of engineers known as ‘Circus’, who will each be assigned to a specific aircraft and pilot throughout the 2008 summer display season.
He will travel as a passenger in one of the Red Arrows’ two-seat Hawk aircraft in transit flights to more than 90 display venues throughout the UK, Europe and North America, flying at speeds of over 350mph.
Once his aircraft arrives at the display’s operating base, Phil will be responsible for servicing it before it can fly safely again.
He said: “I enjoy my job as a Royal Air Force engineer and to fly with the Red Arrows will be an extra bonus.”
Phil is originally from Chester and was educated at Bishop Heber High School, in Malpas. Phil joined the Royal Air Force as an airframe mechanic in 1990. He has served on Tornado GR1/4, Merlin EH101 and Tornado F3, which involved him in multi-national exercises throughout the USA and Europe. He also worked on the Sea King helicopter at Royal Air Force St Mawgan, which included a stint in the Falkland Islands.
Phil lives in Lincoln with his wife Annette and two children, Amie and Liam. He enjoys most sports and is a follower of Liverpool FC.
This year will be the Red Arrows’ 44th display season. Since the team’s creation in 1965, the Red Arrows have flown more than 4,000 displays in 53 countries. The team exists to demonstrate the professional excellence of the Royal Air Force to millions of people both in the UK and worldwide.
Today the Red Arrows are renowned throughout the world, acting as ambassadors for Great Britain and UK industry when displaying overseas.