A BRADFORD man is flying high after being selected to join the Red Arrows next year.

Flight Lieutenant Thomas Bould, 32, will form part of next season's elite nine-strong team for the Royal Air Force's aerobatic team.

He will stay in his role as Red Arrows pilot for three years and was selected following a gruelling process which included flight tests, interviews and other exercises.

The former student at Woodhouse Grove School, Apperley Bridge, was also a member of Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron.

He joined the Royal Air Force in 2005 and has previously had several deployments to the Falkland Islands and exercises in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Flt Lt Bould was the Tucano display pilot in 2010 and was selected to fly the Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft. He was then posted to 1(F) Squadron.

Based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, the squadron uses BAE Systems' Hawk T1 jet and are known for its trademark Diamond Nine formation.

He has been appointed alongside Flight Lieutenants Michael Bowden, 33, and Emmet Cox, 35, who have completed operational tours of Afghanistan and flew missions over Iraq respectively.

Mr Bould spoke of his "immense pride" after being selected for the prestigious squadron and is ready to take on his "demanding and rewarding" new role.

He said: “It was the professionalism of the Red Arrows and the excellence of what they do that stood out to me and inspired me to apply to join.

"I believe the Red Arrows firmly stand for these qualities and I will be immensely proud to be part of the team.

"Aerobatic flying will be very different to frontline missions, but incredibly demanding and rewarding in different aspects."

To apply to join the Red Arrows, Royal Air Force pilots need to have at least 1,500 fast jet flying hours, to have completed a frontline tour and be assessed as above average in their flying role.

Once they have finished their three-year tour with the team, the pilots return to frontline, instructional or staff duties.

The squadron, which first displayed to the public in 1965, has performed more than 4,500 times in 56 countries at events including air shows and fundraising events.

The new recruits will succeed those pilots who are finishing their three-year tour with the Red Arrows at the end of the current season in Malta on September 28.

They are Flight Lieutenant Mike Child, Flight Lieutenant James McMillan and Flight Lieutenant Martin Pert.

This year's display season started on May 31 and will see the Red Arrows performing across the UK, including last month's British Grand Prix, and Europe, including Denmark and Switzerland.

Next year's schedule for the squadron, featuring Flt Lt Bould, is yet to be announced.