A former Team Leader of the famed Royal Air Force aerobatic team "The Red Arrows," the UK's Ben Murphy made his debut in the Challenger Class of the Red Bull Air Race in 2016. By the end of the season, he'd claimed three consecutive podiums.
Born and raised in the British Midlands, Murphy gained his Private Pilot's Licence before he could legally drive. He joined the RAF in 1997 and finished his flying training in 2000, earning prizes in aerobatic and formation flying. He went on to fly the Harrier GR7 and became a Qualified Weapons Instructor, teaching operational pilots and students the art of weaponeering.
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.
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 400 public displays across the world, he has amassed over 1,600 hours of display flying and is a highly experienced and respected display pilot. Across all disciplines, he has logged more than 4,000 hours in the cockpit.
Murphy's trio of podium finishes in his first Challenger Class season – second at a rescheduled Budapest race (held in Germany due to weather conditions), plus third place results at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz and the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway – demonstrated his ability to adapt to the rigors of racing.
Murphy explains, "I've been lucky enough to have done some amazing flying in my career so far, but the Red Bull Air Race remains the ultimate challenge for me. My first year in the Challenger Cup was incredibly valuable in terms of building the kind of experience needed to perform in the Master Class, and I aim to continue that in 2017. My goal for this season is to fly smoother, faster and with more precision – and to win, of course!"