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Former student flies with RAF Red Arrows

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Former Selby College student flies with RAF Red Arrows

A ROYAL Air Force engineer from Selby has completed a season flying with the Red Arrows as a member of a handpicked support team.

Senior Aircraftsman Technician Adam Carse flew across the United Kingdom and overseas in the backseat of one of the display team’s distinctive fast-jets.

The 30-year-old, who grew up in Thorpe Willoughby, near Selby, North Yorkshire, is an aircraft mechanical technician, currently with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

For 2020, he was selected to be part of a group known as the Circus – a small number of engineers who form the Red Arrows’ travelling support team during the summer months.

These technicians are paired with a pilot for a season, flying with them on transit flights away from the display team’s home base and servicing the aircraft in-between sorties, as well as preparing the jets for performances.

Adam said: “To be selected for Circus 2020 after only being with the team for about a year was something I wasn’t expecting when my name was announced but then a sense of excitement and realisation quickly took over.

“As an engineer in the Royal Air Force, the opportunity to fly in a fast-jet is few and far between and to have been given the chance to travel across the UK and beyond in the backseat of a Red Arrows aircraft – iconic around the world – is definitely something I feel very lucky and proud about.”

Adam attended Thorpe Willoughby Primary School and Selby High School, before studying business at Selby College.

He joined the RAF in 2010 and has worked on frontline, combat jets, including the Typhoon, before his latest posting with the Red Arrows began two years ago.

Adam said: “During college I was in the process of applying for university, to study business, but had a change of heart when I looked into different career paths I could take.

“I’d always had an interest in engineering and had aspirations to work on aircraft from being a little kid, I’d also wanted the opportunity to travel so I thought what better way to start my career than to bring it all together and apply for the RAF, beginning my basic training in August 2010.”

Adam said the chance to work for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team is an opportunity he had pursed ever since joining the Service.

He said: “Speaking to many people outside of the RAF, as well as family members, about the Red Arrows, it makes you realise just how renowned the team’s displays are world-wide and that it is such a highly sought-after position to have been a member of the Circus.

“My main role on the team is as a mechanical technician – working on mechanical systems, carrying out fault diagnosis tasks and fitting components on a daily basis, to ensure there is enough aircraft available to the pilots to carry out sufficient training for the display season and keeping a fully-serviced fleet of jets across the summer.

“I also take part in many public relations activities and events highlighting the importance of the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and with the aim of inspiring younger generations.”

During his posting with the Red Arrows, Adam has had the opportunity to travel across the UK, mainland Europe and beyond, for both public displays by the team and for pre-season training.

This included an 11-week deployment to North America in 2019, when the team carried out its largest-ever visit to Canada and the United States.

As with the aircrew, Circus team members have individual numbers – denoting which pilot they fly with.

For 2020 Adam was Circus 8, being paired with Red 8 and accompanying his aircraft on transit flights – but not in displays – and ensuring the jet was serviced at each location when operating away from the Red Arrows’ home of RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.

Although the impact of Covid-19 saw fewer airshows and public events this year, the season still involved the Red Arrows carrying out high-profile flypasts over London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Paris as well as shows in Finland.

Members of the Circus receive specialist training to prepare them for their role ahead of the season, including completing medical tests and emergency sea drills.

Adam said: “Circus training saw us take part in sea survival drills during a three-day exercise, which was a great experience and was an amazing insight on the equipment and procedures we use.”

With the Red Arrows’ 2020 campaign now finished, training is soon to begin for next year’s display season.

For more information on the Red Arrows, follow @rafredarrows on Twitter, like the team’s Facebook page at RAF Red Arrows, view pictures on Instagram @rafredarrows or visit

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