The Hounorable Company of Aiprilots awards Sqn Leader Mike Ling the Masters Commendation for commendable achievement in aviation.
Sqn Ldr Ling 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.
Since Joining Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, Mike has had the privilege of flying Tucano TMk1 aircraft as a flight instructor, Hawk 115 aircraft, based at Cold Lake in Alberta, and Tornado F3 at Royal Air Force Leuchars in Scotland. As a passionate aviatior Mike carries this enthusiasm throughout the General Avition world and regularly flies recreational Light Aircraft and is a member of the RAF Flying Clubs’ Association. Known throughout the world Sqn Ldr Mike Ling is truly an inspiration to all aviators from Aspiring Pilots through to Private and Professional.
Mike Ling has recieved the Masters Commendation from the Honourable Company of AirPilots of which he is most deserving. We are proud as an association to have followed his journey and we will continue to follow as he sets to take up the reigns as member of The Blades Aerobatics Display Team. Good luck and congratulations Sir.
Air Pilots Citation
Sqn Ldr Ling spent nine years on the Red Arrows team, including six as Red 10, and has landed a red Hawk in 46 countries and been involved in 640 displays. A stalwart of the team, Sqn Ldr Ling was recalled to the Red Arrows for the 2018 season as Red 3 following a tragic accident. Sqn Ldr Ling’s willingness to fill the gap was typical of his commitment to the long-term success of the Red Arrows.
But it is for his role in promoting the best of British science, engineering and education around the world that this award seeks to recognise, including his tireless dedication to using social media to highlight the work of the team, often with eye-catching photography.
This, combined with his role as Red 10 – the team’s supervisor tasked with monitoring safety flying with the display pilots as a mentor – made him one of the most recognised faces on the UK display circuit. Red 10’s job is crucial because it also entails ensuring nothing untoward is going to affect the team such as airspace infringements, and to act as the go-between linking the team and the display director as well as commentating during the display itself.
The role has enabled Sqn Ldr Ling to meet tens of thousands of people on the ground around the world and provide an inspiration to future generations of Mike Lingaviators and others interested in aerospace as a career, such as Air Cadets.
Ling was himself a member of 2427 (Biggin Hill) Squadron Air Training Corps, reaching the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer and receiving a Royal Air Force Flying Scholarship. He cites meeting the great Ray Hanna – another former Red Arrow – at the Biggin Hill Air Fair, as well as his beloved Red Arrows, for inspiring his service career.
After completing the first stages of flying training, he was posted to 72 (R) 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. He then completed NATO Flying Training in Canada on the Hawk 115 aircraft, after which he was posted to the Tornado F3 and joined 111 (F) Squadron based at RAF Leuchars in Scotland. Here 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 major training exercises in the UK, Belgium, India and Denmark.
Joining the Red Arrows for the 2008 Season, he was selected for the Synchro Pair for the 2009 and 2010 Seasons. He was injured that year while ejecting from his Hawk during a training exercise in Crete. He recovered from his injuries and began flying again the following year.
Promoted to Squadron Leader on leaving the team, he became the Subject Matter Expert for the future UK Military Flying Training System while being a part-time pilot with No 1 Air Experience Flight at MOD St Athan, flying air cadets in the Grob 115E Tutor, before being recalled to the Red Arrows.
In recognition of his dedication to duty and tireless support for promoting the Red Arrows and the ‘Best of British’ abroad, particularly embracing the opportunity social media presents to reach new audiences, Squadron Leader Ling is awarded the Master’s Commendation.