New officer flies in to Red Arrows commander role

A former team pilot has returned to the Red Arrows as the new Officer Commanding the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

Wing Commander David Montenegro was a team pilot between 2009 to 2011 and a team leader from 2015 until 2017. He will take up his new role on Thursday, April 2 that puts him in charge of the entire 130-strong team.

During his previous three-season stint as Red 1, Montenegro led the team on a global tour across the Middle East and Asia, including visits to Singapore, Malaysia and performing in China for the first time in the team’s history.

He later worked in the Typhoon Force Headquarters at RAF Coningsby before being selected to complete a masters degree in defence and military studies at the Australian War College in Canberra.

Wing Commander Montenegro said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to command an RAF squadron that reaches out to all spectrums of society.

“Previous generations of RAF personnel have helped build and shape the Red Arrows into a globally recognisable brand – it is a great privilege to continue to develop this squadron’s rich aviation heritage in the coming years.”

Wing Commander Andrew Keith RAF. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

He succeeds Wing Commander Andrew Keith, who has been Officer Commanding since September 2017. The pair carried out a detailed handover period in recent weeks in preparation for Thursday’s change of OC RAFAT.

Wing Commander Keith said: “I feel extremely proud and privileged to have had this opportunity to command the RAFAT during some memorable years.

“It has been truly inspiring to be a part of an incredible team and witness the excellence and skill of all involved, creating wonderful opportunities and reaching such a diverse audience.”

The Red Arrows team

The 2020 Red Arrows team is as follows:

  • Squadron Leader Martin Pert, Red 1 and Team Leader, will lead the nine-ship display team.
  • Red 2 – Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge
  • Red 3 – Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell
  • Red 4 – Flight Lieutenant James Turner
  • Red 5 – Flight Lieutenant David Simmonds
  • Red 6 – Flight Lieutenant Jon Bond
  • Red 7 – Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston
  • Red 8 – Flight Lieutenant Damo Green
  • Red 9 and Executive Officer – Squadron Leader Steve Morris
  • Red 10 and Supervisor – Squadron Leader Adam Collins

It was previously announced that, given the current restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the decision was taken not to send the Red Arrows overseas for work-up training this year.

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