James McMillan

Blade 2

James McMillan’s career highlights

  • Joined the Blades in April 2018
  • More than 3,000 flying hours
  • Former Typhoon & Harrier pilot
  • Flew with The Red Arrows
  • Led The Red Arrow’s Synchro Pair
  • The youngest qualified fast-jet pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force

The 2018 season is James’ first with the team, flying as Blade 2 on the right-hand side of the Team Leader.

Leaving the Red Arrows on promotion in 2014, James was posted to RAF Coningsby to learn to fly the Typhoon and became a Flight Commander on the OCU in 2015. As well as teaching students how to fly the aircraft, James helped to coach and supervise the Typhoon display pilot in 2016 and 2017. James retired from RAF flying duties and will continue to fly full time with the Blades.

More about James

Passionate about becoming a fast-jet pilot for as long as he can remember, James was accepted for pilot training in the Royal New Zealand Air Force whilst still in his last year at school. After completion of his basic flying course he was selected for fast-jet training where, upon gaining his ‘wings’ at age 20, he became the youngest qualified fast-jet pilot in the RNZAF at the time, flying the Aermacchi MB339.  In 2002, James accepted an offer to return to the UK and join the RAF where he was promoted to Flying Officer.

On completing his training on the Hawk T1 in 2003, James spent several years teaching advanced jet training to students at RAF Valley. James then completed his instructional tour and Tactical Weapons Course in 2006 and was selected to fly the Harrier where he served with 1(F) Sqn at RAF Cottesmore. During his time on the front line, James was proud to serve in Afghanistan.. He also participated in numerous exercises, both in the UK and overseas, and was fortunate enough to complete detachments flying from the aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal. Completing his time on the Harrier with a short stint on the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), James was selected for the Red Arrows in 2011, flying in the Red 4 position. James was then selected to become a part of the iconic Synchro Pair for his second year.

James has a love for all things water-related including kitesurfing, sailing and wakeboarding. He enjoys trips to the Lake District with his partner Jennie, loaded with mountain bikes, kayaks and camping kit.

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