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Kirsty Moore first woman pilot to RAF train

She has put in more than 1,500 hours of flying and took on and beat 40 other determined and experienced pilots to clinch her coveted position.

And now Kirsty Moore has finished her first week's training as the first female pilot with the world famous Red Arrows aerobatic team.

Flight Lieutenant Moore is training at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and will feature in the team from next year.

She will stay with the Arrows until 2012, which means she will feature at the London Olympics opening ceremony.
Kirsty Moore
The 31-year-old redhead is the first woman to be chosen for the Red Arrows team

The 31-year-old was chosen ahead of dozens of hopefuls to gain a place on the world-famous display team.

Although not the first woman to apply for a place, she was the first to be chosen for the team.

Flt Lieut Moore, who is single and grew up in Lincolnshire, said she was 'delighted and honoured' to be selected. She joined the RAF in 1998.

The RAF has had female pilots since 1991, and female fast jet pilots since 1994.
Kirsty Moore
Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore (circled) with the world famous Red Arrows aerobatic team in her first week's flight training

But it is only recently that the first women clocked up enough experience to meet the strict criteria for applying to the Red Arrows.

Around 40 pilots apply each year. Nine of these are sent on a gruelling week-long competition in Cyprus to test their skills.

All applicants must have 'above average' flying skills, a minimum of 1,500 hours in the cockpit and at least one frontline operational tour in fast jets, and competition is fierce among those who hope to don the distinctive red flying overalls.

Across the RAF only 60 out of 2,040 trained pilots are women.
Kirsty Moore
Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore (circled) flying her Hawk aircraft

One RAF insider said: 'You may be the most outstanding fast jet pilot but if your personality isn't suited to teamwork you won't make it in the Reds.'

The Red Arrows, celebrating their 45th birthday this year, fly around 90 displays each season and are famed around the world for the quality of their aerobatic shows.

Based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, the team costs the MoD around £30million a year to run.

Trademark Red Arrows manoeuvres include the 'Diamond Nine' formation flypast and the 'Bomb Burst', in which the aircraft break formation in different directions, trailing red, white and blue smoke.

Wing Commander Jas Hawker, Officer Commanding and Team Leader, said: 'The shortlist of candidates to join the Red Arrows represents some of the very finest fast-jet pilots in the RAF.

'Their skills, experience, dedication and enthusiasm are second to none.'
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