Kirsty Murphy

Blade 3

Kirsty Murphy’s career highlights

  • Joined the Blades in 2016 as Blade 3
  • First, and only, female Red Arrow pilot
  • Former Tornado pilot
  • RAF flying career spanned almost two decades
  • Qualified flying instructor on the Extra 300
  • One of just three female pilots who competed in The Formation Aerobatic Championships in China in April 2017

Now into her third display season with the Blades, Kirsty flies on the left-hand side of the Team Leader. Kirsty’s work day  varies hugely – from intense training to taking an active role in events planning.

More about Kirsty

Kirsty was introduced to the idea of the RAF at a young age by her father who was a navigator on the Tornado GR1, and at 16 years old had gained 15 hours of flying experience. At eighteen, Kirsty moved to London to study Aeronautical Engineering with German at London Imperial College.

After gaining her Master’s Degree, Kirsty joined the RAF and completed flying training on the Tucano and the Hawk T1. Her first tour with the RAF was as an instructor on the Hawk T1 at RAF Valley in Wales. She was subsequently posted to the Tornado GR4 and joined XIII Sqn at RAF Marham, with whom she flew operational sorties in Iraq.

In 2009 she became the first female pilot to be selected to fly with The RAF Red Arrows and went on to fly a total of 136 public displays and 133 flypasts in 11 different countries. In her last year, she was selected to be the Executive Officer.

After a final three year posting on promotion within the Flying Training Headquarters, Kirsty left the RAF in 2015.

When time permits, Kirsty enjoys skiing, kitesurfing and walking holidays. In the past, she has kept fit through triathlon training and yoga, but nowadays it is mostly through chasing after her three year old son.

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