Red Arrows pilot fired after ‘affair’ and others quit over ‘toxic culture’

Flt Lt Will Cambridge (left) was said to have been suspended after a fellow pilot complained
an alleged affair with a female colleague, while Sqn Ldr Nick Critchell apparently left in disgust
(Image: PA)

The Red Arrows are feared to be in freefall after one pilot was reportedly sacked following an alleged affair, with another said to have quit due to the team’s “toxic culture”.

Members of the RAF’s Aerobatics Team are also reported to ‘hate each other’ amid the unit’s worst morale crisis since it was formed in 1964.

The latest two apparent holes in the team follow the shock departure of a third ace for family reasons in January.

The lack of trained pilots is said to have forced bosses to ax some of the best-loved formations, including the Diamond Nine, days before an air show this year – although a skeleton team of seven still surprised fans.

Emergency reserves were said to have been drawn in for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee flypast in June – reportedly leaving it too late to train pilots for stunts at more than 60 shows in the UK, Denmark, France and Bahrain.

A former pilot said: ‘This is a disaster for the RAF. The Red Arrows are their public face and the public love them, but they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.

“That is why the RAF has tried so hard to keep a lid on this. There is something really rotten in this team. It should be the highlight of the pilots’ careers to fly for the Red Arrows, but they have lost three this year. The hierarchy must ask itself why?

“There are good people there trying to fix it, but it’s an unhappy place.”

Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge

Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge allegedly had an affair with a female colleague (Image: RAF)

Squadron Leader Nick Critchell

Sqn Ldr Nick Critchell is said to have confronted a colleague about a “toxic culture” during training in Europe (Image: RAF)

Tom Bould - Red 1 of the Red Arrows

Tom Bould is known as Red 1 – one of a team which normally consists of nine pilots (Image: RAF)

The Arrows normally consist of nine pilots – Red 1 to Red 9 – along with their supervisor and a Red 10 commander, as well as ground crew.

Red 8 – Flight Lieutenant Damon ‘Damo’ Green, left for ‘personal reasons’ in January and was replaced by Squadron Leader Jon Bond.

Red 5, Sqn Ldr Nick Critchell, 36, is said to have confronted Red 1, Tom Bould, 41, over a “toxic culture” during training in Croatia and Greece.

Critchell reportedly resigned in “disgust”, while the RAF has been quoted as saying he was leaving for personal reasons to “start another career opportunity”.

The red arrows on the run

The unit is said to have been forced to ax some of its beloved stunt formations as it is down to a “skeleton crew” (Image: PA)

Red Arrows aerobatics during the Queen's Jubilee

The Red Arrows’ aerobatics on June 2 to mark the Queen’s jubilee were seen by millions (Image: AFP)

The Red Arrows are performing this month

Flashing over crowds in Scarborough, also in June, for Defense Day 2022 (Image: PA)

Days later, First Lieutenant Will Cambridge is said to have been suspended after a fellow pilot complained about an apparent affair with a junior student pilot.

The Chiefs have reportedly launched an investigation into whether his rumored behavior broke the rules.

In May, the team announced that only two pilots had moved to other roles, with Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston reportedly furious at allegations of foul play.

An RAF spokesman said: “The withdrawals were made without prejudice and are the result of both personal and professional reasons.

‘However, we will take action where there is proven wrongdoing.’

A spokesperson for the RAF today told Metro.co.uk that while they cannot elaborate on the “individual circumstances” of “movements” by the stunt unit, it will not stand for behavior that breaches its standards.

They added: “The RAF has a zero tolerance for unacceptable behavior and allegations will be thoroughly investigated to ensure the highest standards are maintained.

“We will not comment on the individual circumstances surrounding these moves, which have been made without prejudice and are the result of both personal and professional reasons.

‘However, we will take action where there is proven wrongdoing.’

Known as the pride of the air force, the ‘stunt’ planes spew perfect plumes of red, white and blue smoke as they flash above crowds at key British events, air shows, festivals and the most prestigious royal celebrations.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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