Leyland RAF pilot who won top bravery award joins Red Arrows for 2024 season
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Flight Lieutenant Chris McCann, who attended Wellfield High School and Runshaw College, will fly as Red 2 next season.
He joins three other new recruits to the world famous aerobatics team, who will perform in flypasts and displays during the Red Arrow’s 60th anniversary year.
Who is Flight Lieutenant Chris McCann?
After being a member of the 2050 (Leyland) Squadron Air Training Corps and studying aerospace engineering at the University of Liverpool, he joined the Royal Air Force in 2005 and operated the Tornado GR4 on the frontline, serving on 617 and IX(B) Squadrons at RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Marham.
Flt Lt McCann has completed numerous operational deployments around the world, being awarded the Air Force Cross during his final tour.
This honour marks "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry while flying, though not in active operations against the enemy".
He said: “I was lucky enough to fly once with the Red Arrows early in my RAF career.
“Experiencing first-hand the teamwork and the incredible flying they perform daily really inspired me to pursue joining the team.
“Looking further ahead to the 2024 season, it will be great to meet people at airshows and events and learn more about those organisations we support.”
Training for a new season gets underway shortly, at the team’s home base of RAF Waddington, in Lincolnshire.
A building block approach is used and pilots fly up to three times a day, with small formations of aircraft at first before more are added – increasing the complexity.
How are new pilots chosen?
New pilots join the Red Arrows each year, succeeding those who finish their tour at the end of the season, and are selected following interviews, flying tests and other assessments.
Up to three new pilots can be trained each winter.
Typically, pilots will spend three years with the team before returning to the frontline, instructional or staff duties.
To be in position to apply for the team, a candidate must have amassed approximately 1,500 fast-jet hours, have completed a frontline tour and be an exceptional pilot – graded as “above average” during their flying career.