Red Arrows pilot flies past daughter's school
THESE pictures capture the moment a Grimsby schoolgirl will never forget.
Ellie Heaton, seven, of Grimsby, watched the skies with classmates at South Parade Primary School as her dad flew with the legendary Red Arrows overhead.
Proud Ellie (front, second right) points to the sky with fellow pupils, family and friends as as her dad (inset) flies overhead with the Red Arrows.
Her father, Cpl Alex Heaton, 36, is an aircraft technical mechanic with the RAF's elite flying team.
He was promoted to the position in March, spending nine weeks training in Greece and Cyprus, before his debut as a flyer on May 25 in Southend.
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Alex joined the RAF in 1991, spending his early years in the force as a rigger, working on the wings and fuselage of military aircraft.
Proud Ellie (front, second right) points to the sky with fellow pupils, family and friends as as her dad flies overhead with the Red Arrows.
He has since worked on Tornado F3 fighters and the famous Harrier GR9 jump jet.
Three years ago, he became part of the engineering team known as the Blues, who work on the Red Arrows' two-seat Hawk aircraft throughout the year. For the last year, he has been the dye team leader, in charge of letting all the colours out of the planes.
He said: "Becoming a flyer came about by working hard at other things. If you work hard and persevere then you get the opportunities you want.
"It is fantastic to be a part of the Red Arrows, even though I am away most weekends and I miss my family, I really enjoy what I do."
Because Alex is part of the Red Arrows, he is able to select a place of his choice for the Arrows to fly over.
He asked for permission to fly over Ellie's school on Wednesday, when the Arrows were en route to Lossiemouth, Scotland, to take part in the Freedom of Forres parade.
They set off from RAF Scampton, in Lincoln, as the children finished their school day and gathered in the playground. A little over three minutes later, the Red Arrows whizzed over the school – to the sound of cheers and clapping.
Just 50 minutes later, they had reached Lossiemouth – one of the most northern parts of Scotland.
Ellie watched the flypast with her two-year-old brother Alfie, his dad's RAF nickname, and her cousins Jamie-Lee Ross, 10, Ella Ross, six, and Rikki-Lee Francis, five, who also attend the school.
Ellie said: "It is exciting that my dad is in the Red Arrows. I am really happy to have got him at my school.
"My friends are a little bit jealous but they are all happy that the Red Arrows were here."
Mum Debbie added: "It is good for the children at the school to see, it has given them something to look forward to during the day."
Find out more
To find out more about the Red Arrows, visit www.raf.mod.uk/reds/