THE Red Arrows are in freefall after a pilot was fired over an alleged affair and a second resigned in disgust at the team’s toxic culture.
Members of the RAF aerobatic team are said to be “hating one another” amid the unit’s worst morale crisis since its formation in 1964.
The shock departure of a third ace for family reasons followed in January.
A shortage of trained pilots meant that commanders had to scrap some of the well-known formations, like the Diamond Nine, days before their first air show.
The seven-man skeleton team still managed to wow the crowds.
Emergency reserves were drawn in for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee flyby in June.
But it was too late to train pilots to do stunts at more than 60 shows in the UK, Denmark, France and Bahrain.
A former pilot told The Sun: “This is a disaster for the RAF. The Red Arrows are their public face and the public loves them, but they have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.
“That’s why the RAF tried so hard to keep it under wraps. Something is really fishy on this team. It was supposed to be the pinnacle of a pilot’s career flying for the Red Arrows but they lost three this year. The hierarchy must ask why?
“There are good people there trying to fix it, but it’s an unfortunate place.”
The Arrows typically consist of nine pilots, Red 1 through Red 9, their supervisor Red 10, a commanding officer, and a ground crew.
Red 8, Flt Lt Damon “Damo” Green left the company in January for personal reasons and was replaced by Sqn Ldr Jon Bond.
In April, Red 5, Sqn Ldr Nick Critchell, 36, confronted Red 1, Tom Bould, 41, over a “toxic culture” while training in Croatia and Greece.
Critchell reportedly resigned in disgust. The RAF said he left “for personal reasons to pursue another career opportunity”.
Days later, Flt Lt Will Cambridge was suspended after a fellow flyer complained about an alleged affair with a colleague.
The Chiefs opened an investigation into alleged unacceptable behavior following allegations that his behavior with a junior pilot broke rules.
In May, the Red Arrows only announced that two pilots had switched to other roles.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston is reportedly furious over claims of foul play.
An RAF spokesman said: “The steps have been taken with an open mind and have been taken for both personal and professional reasons.
“However, we will take action wherever wrongdoing is proven.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5999172/the-red-arrows-toxic-culture-pilot-sacked/ Red Arrows drama as pilot fired over ‘affair’ and second resigns over toxic culture