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Mike Ling MBE

Longest serving Red Arrows pilot, motivational speaker, Mike Ling, is a perfect choice for corporate events.  He is both an accomplished event host and inspirational speaker on a wide range of themes including teamwork, leadership, risk management and overcoming adversity.

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Motivational speaker, Mike Ling, is the longest serving member of the prestigious Red Arrows team.  Having served with the RAF he joined the Red Arrows.  His role included flypasts for key events including the London Olympics Opening Ceremony and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  He also served as Red 10 the team supervisor, responsible for safety, training and event commentary. During his career with the team he survived a head on mid air training collision.  The crash had a closing speed of over 750 mph, resulting in surgery and months of rehabilitation before being able to fly again.  Having been involved in a record 10 display seasons, Mike flew 2585 sorties in Red Arrows aircraft.  He also played a part in 700 public displays.  In addition he flew a red hawk into 46 countries as far west as New York and as far east as China.

Current roles

Mike left the Royal Air Force in April 2019 as a Squadron Leader after 21 years of service. He has since become a commercial pilot, flight instructor.  Mike is a full-time member of the Blades Aerobatic Team, the world’s only ‘aerobatic airline‘ and part of 2Excel Aviation.  In this role he performs public displays as ‘Blade 3’ in the Extra 300 aircraft. In addition he relishes the opportunity to give passengers the chance to experience close formation aerobatics. This with a team of all ex-Red Arrows pilots.

More recently Mike has achieved a second of his childhood dreams to fly solo in a Spitfire. As a result he has the chance to share his passion for vintage aviation with passengers through experience flights in the 2-seat Grace Spitfire.

During the Covid-19 pandemic Mike retrained to temporarily fly PA31 Navajo aircraft.  He took on a variety of roles for the Special Missions division of 2Excel Aviation. These roles included search and rescue, oil spill response, counter pollution, fisheries protection. Plus training for the British Army.

Mike is a UK board member on the European Airshow Council. This involves providing air display expertise within the European airshow community. He is also a board member of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Learned Society Board. Here he provides assistance in the oversight of the Society’s output and engagement. Mike is the proud patron of two aviation charities; Fly2Help and the Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship Trust. The former is dedicated to raising the spirits of people living in difficult situations and inspiring young people as they consider their future lives. The latter provides funding for budding young aviators to get their Private Pilot’s Licence.


Mike was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2017 for his services to the Red Arrows. Subsequently he received the Masters Commendation from the Honourable Company of Air Pilots in October 2018. He became a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in March 2019.

Key themes for motivational speaker Mike Ling

Mike is also a popular entertaining speaker with anecdotes from his extraordinary career.  Plus he is an accomplished inspirational speaker and event host. Presentation themes include:

Risk management
Overcoming adversity
Building trust

Feedback includes:

“Mike delivered a fascinating online keynote at IIRSM’s 2020 annual conference and shared his experience and learnings about building trust and team capability. Delivered to an audience of risk managers who are seeking inspiration on how to build effective teams and communication. Mike tailored the presentation for the audience perfectly, covering trust and risk from a display pilot’s perspective that kept everyone entertained and received fantastic feedback. A great closing keynote!”  Clare Fleming, Director of Marketing & Communication, International Institute of Risk and Safety Management.

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