LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain’s Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, have introduced the team’s first woman pilot.
Twenty years since women were first allowed to become RAF pilots and 45 years since the Arrows were formed, Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore, 31, will take her place as “Red 3” in the legendary formation.
Moore is the daughter of a retired RAF navigator who used to take her as a child to see the Red Arrows. She joined the RAF in 1998, becoming a Hawk instructor and then a Tornado pilot.
She has served on two operations in Iraq in support of British, American and Iraqi ground forces.
Moore was not the first female pilot to apply to be a Red Arrow. However, she was the first to be shortlisted and subsequently selected.
“Having the opportunity to represent the Royal Air Force is a great honor, and I am delighted to have been selected for that role,” Moore said.
“It is certainly a major personal achievement for me -- just as it is for every pilot that is chosen for the team.”
The Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton in Lincoln, eastern England. They fly their nine Hawk trainer jets at times as close as just six feet apart at 400 mph.
With their trademark red, white and blue vapor trails, they are a familiar sight at British ceremonial occasions and are expected to appear at the London 2012 Olympics.
Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison