David Stark

The Pilot Who Survived The Red Arrows Crash

David Stark

It is understood that the Red Arrows pilot who survived a crash in Wales is Flight Lieutenant David Stark.

Flight Lieutenant Stark, 35, was able to eject himself from the aircraft before it hit the ground and is currently receiving medical treatment.

Forces News understands his injuries are not life-threatening.

The Red Arrow Hawk jet had just begun what should have been a routine flight from RAF Valley to RAF Scampton following training when it crashed.

An engineer who was also onboard the aircraft died as a result of the crash but has not yet been named.

Police and Crime Scene investigators supported by other specialists will now begin a joint and full investigation led by the Defence Accident Investigation Branch to establish what caused the crash.

Red Arrow Crash RAF Valley
Picture: David Robert Jones via Twitter

Flt Lt Stark joined the Red Arrows as Red 3 last year and was currently training for the next display season, which starts in June.

At the end of last year, Forces News interviewed the new team as they started preparing for the RAF's 100th anniversary.

At the time he said:

"Certainly this morning knowing we were finally going to fly on the wing of Red 1 I had to pinch myself."

"Generally it's a healthy mix of excitement and trepidation. Excitement at the opportunity we have been given, but the knowledge that we need to meet the standards that we have been set prior to us over the next six to seven months, in order to wear a red suit, which is our ultimate aim."

Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Flt Lt Stark was educated at Nottingham High School.

He joined the Royal Air Force in 2005 and used to fly the Tornado GR4 operationally.

He told us he was "proud" to fly with the Red Arrows, as he considers the team to "reflect the excellence of the UK Armed Forces and the nation as a whole".

To apply to join the Red Arrows, RAF pilots need to have at least 1,500 fast-jet flying hours, to have completed a frontline tour and be assessed as above average in their flying role.

If they make the shortlist, they then have to attend a week-long selection of tests, interviews and peer review.

However, once chosen, they have to complete winter training.

Pilots fly three-times-day, five-days-a-week with each sortie filmed and scrutinised in detail.

An assessment is then carried out by senior RAF officers in the spring and if successful, public display authority is granted and the pilots can change from green coveralls worn during training to their red suits.

Similarly, the Red Arrows’ ground staff can switch to their royal blue coveralls.

Once they have finished their three-year tour with the team, the pilots return to frontline, instructional or staff duties.

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