City fans end season as Red Arrows engineers after flight to Carrow Road

Engineers sergeant Mike Stace and corporal Ben Lewis

Engineers sergeant Mike Stace and corporal Ben Lewis were able to take a rare ground-level look at Carrow Road when the Red Arrows stayed at Norwich Airport. - Credit: RAF

A pair of Norwich City-supporting Red Arrows engineers enjoyed a flight home to Carrow Road during their season as support crew.

Sergeant Mike Stace and corporal Ben Lewis, both Royal Air Force (RAF) engineers and Norwich City supporters, have just completed a season flying in the backseats of the display team’s jets.

They have been part of a group known as the Circus – the Red Arrows’ handpicked travelling support crew.

And earlier this year, when the team landed at Norwich Airport during their summer display season for a scheduled overnight refuelling stop, the two got the opportunity to briefly visit Carrow Road.

The Red Arrows, with Sergeant Mike Stace and Corporal Ben Lewis aboard

The Red Arrows, with Sergeant Mike Stace and Corporal Ben Lewis aboard, transiting back to base via a flypast over Wembley for the Euro 2020 final in July. - Credit: RAF

Mr Stace, who grew up in Watton, said: “Being one of the Red Arrows’ engineers is an incredibly demanding role and takes you away from home a great deal – sometimes making it hard to get back to Norwich and see a game.

“That’s why it was brilliant to get a moment after work, to quickly pop to Carrow Road with Ben and get a picture there together, even without a match on”.

Sergeant Mike Stace (left) in front of a Hawk aircraft and with the pilot he was paired with for 2020-21

Sergeant Mike Stace (left) in front of a Hawk aircraft and with the pilot he was paired with for 2020-21 – Red 2, Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge (right). - Credit: RAF

The pair, along with 10 other engineers, fly with aircrew on transit flights away from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, where the team are based, servicing the Hawk aircraft and preparing jets for performances.

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As a weapons technician, Mr Stace specialises in maintaining the explosive components, such as ejection seats, fire suppression and emergency systems.

Usually Circus members only hold the position for one season but with so few displays last year due to the pandemic, some of the same team for 2020 stayed for the most recent campaign.

Corporal Ben Lewis (right) with Squadron Leader Jon Bond (left)

Corporal Ben Lewis (right) with Squadron Leader Jon Bond (left), who was Red 6 in 2021 and the Red Arrows pilot the Norfolk-born engineer flew with. - Credit: RAF

The other Norfolk-born engineer is Mr Lewis, who is originally from Norwich and joined the RAF in October 2008. He is responsible for maintenance on the team’s BAE Systems Hawks.

He said: “My father served 22 years as a technician in the Royal Air Force and he was the inspiration behind my application to join the Red Arrows, after he had worked on the team from 1992 to 1997.

“Having the opportunity to follow his example and now flying in the aircraft, as part of the dedicated Circus team, has been a career highlight – a definite dream scenario.”

Carrow Road wasn't the only ground the pair visited this year - they were onboard when the Red Arrows performed a flypast over Wembley before the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy.