Antony ‘Parky’ Parkinson describes his time flying with the world-famous Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows

Red 1’s view of The Champagne Split, as the even-numbered jets break away to the left. (Key Publishing Collection)

I guess we all have moments in our lives we can remember vividly, as if it happened just seconds before. For me, it was April 2000 and the Officer Commanding the Tornado F.3 Operational Conversion Unit was holding out his hand and congratulating me. I look at him incredulously until the realisation dawns that I’ve been selected to fly with The Red Arrows. I’m utterly gobsmacked and, for those few seconds, reckon I was the happiest person on the planet.

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