A Northamptonshire-based aerobatic team has announced a change to its line-up for the 2017 display season with a new team leader.
Ben Murphy, a former Red Arrows leader, will be taking over from team-mate Mark Cutmore in the lead flight position as ‘Blade 1’ at Sywell Aerodrome.
Mr Murphy, who lives in the county with his wife and one-year-old son, joined the Blades in 2015 as ‘Blade 2’, following 16 years and 3,800 hours flying military fast jets in the RAF.
He said: “I’m really excited about leading a world-class, highly experienced team who has gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years.
“We have a busy year ahead but, for now, the winter months will be spent training, planning for the airshow season and organising for about 600 people to come flying with us.”
As well as leading the team, Mr Murphy will continue to fly in the Red Bull Air Race Challenger Cup for a second season, bringing to the team a wealth of expertise in fast, low-level flying.
During his RAF career, Mr Murphy flew the Harrier and served operationally on 1(F) squadron during the Gulf War of 2003 and later on IV(AC) squadron in Afghanistan. He is also a qualified weapons instructor.
The Blades line-up will also include Andy Evans, Kirsty Murphy, Mark Cutmore and Chris Carder.