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Red Arrows team gains new pilots
Flight Lieutenant Stewart Campbell, left, and Flight Lieutenant Joe Hourston are new Red Arrows pilots (Cpl Graham Taylor (RAF)/PA)
The Red Arrows have appointed two new pilots. The aerobatic specialists have been beset by tragedy during the last two years with a pilot crashing to his death and another dying after being ejected from his grounded plane.
Flight lieutenant John Egging, 33, was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed near Throop, Dorset, in August 2011. His colleague Flt Lt Sean Cunningham died three months later when he was ejected from his Hawk T1 which was on the ground at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.
Now the RAF has announced the appointment of Flt Lts Stewart Campbell, 33, and Joe Hourston, 34, for 2014 - the team's 50th display season. The pair - who have both previously flown operations with the RAF in Afghanistan - will stay with the Red Arrows for three years.
They will begin training in the coming weeks and will be part of the aerobatic team's famous nine-aircraft formation - displaying in front of millions of people at home and overseas and representing the speed, agility and precision of the RAF.
Flt Lt Campbell, who was brought up in the Royal Burgh of Peebles in the Scottish Borders, joined the RAF in 2003. Before the Red Arrows, he was posted to 617 Squadron ('The Dambusters') and flew two operational tours in Afghanistan.
He said: "The Red Arrows represent the pinnacle of fast jet display flying and I'm honoured to be joining this famous team. The way the team operates and how it represents the RAF and UK as a whole, is something I very much wanted to be part of.
"Although my selection hasn't sunk in yet, I don't think I will feel like I'm a member of the Red Arrows until I taxi out with team leader and go through the first loops and rolls."
Flt Lt Hourston was born in Inverness, grew up in the Black Isle village of Cromarty. He is also a former Tornado GR4 pilot with 617 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth and has served in Afghanistan.
He said: "I'm very proud to be joining the Red Arrows and the 50th display season in 2014 makes this a particularly special time to arrive. Since day one of deciding to be a pilot I've always wanted to be a member of the team because of what it represents and the variety and challenge of the flying itself.
"It's wonderful to be part of this team and, in turn, help inspire people to consider a career in the RAF and also promote UK plc. If anything, I'm sure three years with the Red Arrows will seem far too short by the end."