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Red Arrows swap wings for wheels in charity ride

September 10th, 2010

The Red Arrows, world renowned ambassadors for The Royal Air Force and four fighter pilots from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part in a sponsored scooter ride across the entire length of mainland UK in support of a number of charities. Supported by Piaggio and the Get On campaign the team will set off from Lands End to John O’Groats on the 30th September 2010.

The ride, organised by Flight Lieutenant Mike Ling will see the 14 pilots covering 1000 miles in just four days on Vespa S125 Scooters. The challenge aims to raise money for The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, The Royal Air Forces Association, Help for Heroes, Whizz-kidz and Fly2Help. To donate go to www.raf.mod.uk/reds or text SCOOTER to 70099.

Supported by a small team from the ‘Blues’ – the Red Arrows famous engineering team – the squadron will set off at 07.30 on Thursday 30th September from Lands End before arriving four days later at approximately 16.00 on Sunday 3rd October at John O’Groats. The feat is a journey that would normally take little over an hour in their usual mode of transport – the BAE Systems Hawk Jet.

Each Vespa S 125 has been liveried up to reflect the trademark Red Arrows fleet whilst helmet providers, Arai, have designed bespoke helmets for the team too. Each scooter will also carry smoke canisters to trail the squadron’s iconic red, white and blue smoke.

The Get On campaign, which is making biking and scootering more widely available to the public by offering FREE one hour taster sessions throughout the country via www.geton.co.uk, will be tracking the ride and keeping up to speed with the team at all times.

All 14 pilots, many of whom had never ridden a bike before, have taken their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and can currently be found riding to and from their base in Scampton in preparation for the ride.

Mike Ling, Red Arrows Pilot and Flight Lieutenant, commented: “I have always wanted to ride a Vespa from Land’s End to John O’ Groats so decided to do it at the end of our display season. The other pilots wanted to get involved as it’s such a great opportunity to raise money for good causes.”

The forces charities are close to all our hearts but I am especially keen to help organisations like Whizz-kidz and Fly2help – especially as I’ve spent time in a wheelchair myself and appreciate the great work these charities do to help people get around and fulfil their ambitions.”