Graham Duff

Graham Duff is a distinguished RAF pilot who has completed tours with the Red Arrows as a display pilot as well as deploying in Afghanistan with UK Special forces on the ground. His post-military work as a commodities broker and an entrepeneur make him an authority on the parallels between the battlefield and the boardroom. Missing the RAF, Graham re-joined in August this year.

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Graham Duff grew up climbing mountains with his father in The Lake District, near his home, whilst spending the summer holidays watching the Royal Air Force jets fly low overhead.  His ambition was always to be a pilot and he joined the Air Training Corps as early as possible on his 13th birthday.  Graham's flying career started by building, flying and crashing remote control aeroplanes with his step-father.  He gained his Hang-Glider Licence at 16 years old.  17 years was the minimum age to fly aeroplanes. He was recommended to go to Penrith Grammar School and whilst there, the RAF sponsored him to obtain his private pilot's licence several months before his driving licence.

He went on to study Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol University where he was a member of the University's Air Squadron, the RAF's university club.

Graham joined the Royal Air Force as a trainee pilot in 1996 and after Officer Training he qualified as a member of the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Team, where he worked for 18 months whilst waiting to begin flying training, during that time he had his second visit to Nepal on expedition. Graham graduated top of his flying class and went on to to operationally fly the ground-attack Jaguar GR3A, which is a single seat fast jet fighter-bomber aircraft, and he gained extensive experience defending the No Fly Zone in Northern Iraq. He also took part in exercises in the USA, Europe and the Middle East. During OP TELIC, Graham spent four months in a ground post, working with UK Special Forces, before, during and after the start of Gulf War 2 in 2003.

After a tour as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Hawk jet aircraft, teaching both students and instructors, for the Central Flying School, Graham was posted to the Empire Test Pilots' School at MoD Boscombe Down. Whilst there he instructed on the Alpha Jet, Hawk and Tucano aircraft, and flew over 30 types of different aircraft, including multi-engine aeroplanes and helicopters.

Graham then completed a 3 year tour (the maximum possible) with the Red Arrows in 2010, as a display pilot, before deploying to Afghanistan again with UK Special Forces for a 4 month ground tour.

Graham continued, when postings allowed, to work with the RAF Mountain Rescue Team. With the Mountain Recuse Service, Graham built up 5 years of experience rescuing and training in some very hostile mountainous conditions. Graham has climbed the highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley (the coldest place on Earth).  He has also climbed to the top of Europe and Africa.  In May 2011 he reached the summit of Mount Everest, after a 2 and a half month expedition, where he had an epic experience and lost 2 and a half stones.

Graham left the RAF in 2011 but after three years as an entrepeneur, found he missed the comraderie and motivation and re-joined in August 2014.

In his spare time, Graham is very happy outdoors or playing with the latest electronic gadget and keeping up with current affairs.  He has run the London Marathon and several mountain races and enjoys using his bicycle to travel round London.

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