A new face in the Red Bull Air Race Master Class for 2018, Great Britain's Ben Murphy is a decorated former Royal Air Force pilot and Team Leader of the famed RAF aerobatic team "The Red Arrows." Across two seasons of Challenger Class competition, he claimed five podiums, as well as two pole positions, in locations from Japan to his own home skies at Ascot, UK. Now he's looking to build a team and a racing record with potential to extend the UK's reign as the nation with more World Championship titles than any other in the sport.
Born and raised in the British Midlands, Murphy has flying in his blood. Both his grandfathers were Royal Air Force pilots, and Murphy himself took an interest in flying at an early age, eventually joining the Air Cadets as a young teenager and the Air Squadron at Newcastle University. Murphy joined the RAF in 1997 and finished his flying training in 2000, earning prizes in aerobatic and formation flying, then went on to fly more than 1,000 hours in the Harrier GR7 all over the world – including aircraft carriers – and serve as an Instructor.
Murphy joined The Red Arrows as a Team Pilot in 2006 and led the Synchro Pair before being promoted to Commanding Officer and Team Leader. He was the second-youngest ever to have held that top role, which included command of over 100 personnel as well as leading the team's nine iconic red jets in the air at locations around the globe.
Today Murphy is Team Leader for the Blades Aerobatic Display Team – the world's only civilian display team that additionally acts as an airline, taking passengers on close formation aerobatic flights. Having flown more than 450 public displays internationally, he has amassed over 1,875 hours of display flying and is a highly experienced and respected display pilot. Across all disciplines, he has logged more than 4,250 hours in the cockpit. When he's not flying, his favourite ways to stay fit include kitesurfing, running and triathlon.
"It's a huge honour to be moving up to the Master Class, and 2018 will be an important year for us in many ways," says Murphy. "With a new aircraft and a new team, it will be important to lay solid foundations for the future. But we also need to develop quickly – both on and off the track. I have a great team behind me; full of enthusiasm and with a determination to win. With the right people, anything is possible!"