Richard Pike became a flight cadet in 1961, at the RAF College, Cranwell where, on graduation, he was awarded the Dickson Trophy and Michael Hill memorial prize for flying. In the early stages of his forty-year flying career he flew the English Electric Lightning before converting to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. On leaving the Royal Air Force he became a civilian helicopter pilot. His duties took him to a wide variety of destinations at home and overseas including the Falkland Islands not long after the end of the Falklands War. His last assignment was in Kosovo helping to distribute emergency humanitarian aid on behalf of the United Nations World Food Programme. He and his wife live in Aberdeenshire.