New Red Arrows Team Leader from Bradford aims to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds with new display

Sqn Ldr Bould joined the RAF in 2005 Credit: Crown Copyright

An RAF pilot from Bradford has been appointed as the new Red Arrows Team Leader.

Squadron Leader Tom Bould takes over as Red 1 for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team’s 2021 campaign.

The 39-year-old, who previously flew Typhoon jets on the frontline, is about to begin training for next season. He said the team’s aim for the year will be to "inspire people" of all ages and backgrounds with a "trademark Red Arrows display".

Training for the new season usually lasts six-to-seven months and is largely based around flying at the Red Arrows' home, RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Squadron Leader Tom Bould said: "I can remember being inspired by the Red Arrows as a child – the thrill of seeing this awesome, dynamic show of speed and teamwork. It really motivated me.

"That is what I’m most looking forward to now, to have this special opportunity to create a memorable display that will inspire yet more people, of all ages and backgrounds."

Sqn Ldr Bould went to Woodhouse Grove School in Apperley Bridge, before studying at Manchester University and joining the RAF in 2005.

He was previously a Red Arrows team pilot between 2015 and 2017.

Sqn Ldr Bould said he was excited to return to the Red Arrows and represent the RAF and United Kingdom, both at home and overseas, over the next three years: "My first reaction was disbelief that I had been chosen as the next Team Leader, which very quickly turned into excitement then trepidation for the enormity of the job.

"The most daunting aspect of taking over as Red 1 is being able to maintain and build on the reputation that the Red Arrows have forged for the last 56 years."

Training for the new season usually lasts six-to-seven months Credit: PA images

As Red 1, Sqn Ldr Bould will be primarily responsible for all aspects of the display, from running the training programme and creating and choreographing a new 20-minute aerobatic show, to leading the nine-aircraft.

He said: "The 2021 Red Arrows show will feature all the exciting elements you expect and enjoy from our displays – namely dynamic flying, world-class precision and, above-all, teamwork.

"I've already got plans for big, new formation shapes and other ideas to add – but I don’t want to give away too much, just yet.

 "Training for next year gets underway in just a few days. This will involve a building block approach, gradually adding more complexity to our routines.

"Every member of the team hopes individuals, wherever they are, will continue to follow our progress online and through social media.

"We are grateful for this overwhelming, incredible support – it’s fantastic motivation for us all and we look forward to displaying to people when we can as the Red Arrows very, very soon."

The latest campaign will be the team’s 57th display season, Credit: PA Images

He takes on the role from Sqn Ldr Martin Pert, whose three-year tour as Team Leader finishes at the end of this week.

Sqn Ldr Bould paid tribute to the departing Red 1: "I’d like to thank my predecessor, Squadron Leader Martin Pert, who has done an amazing job leading the team for the last three years and showcasing the very best of British."

The latest campaign will be the team’s 57th display season, since the first in 1965.