January 13, 2023 4.42 pm This story is over 15 months old

Suspended Red Arrows commander replaced by Tornado pilot

A new man at the top for the Red Arrows

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Red Arrows now has a new commanding officer to replace David Montenegro, who was suspended from the team following allegations of an affair with a colleague that came to light during an inquiry into the display team’s “toxic culture”.

David Montenegro was reportedly suspended from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Team in November 2022 – following allegations that he had an affair with a junior colleague and got her pregnant.

It formed part of a wider inquiry into an alleged “toxic culture” within the team, which saw two other pilots lose their titles over claims of sexual assault and harassment.

Montenegro has served as the Officer Commanding of the Red Arrows for two-and-a-half years, and completed his final posting with the team on Thursday, though the RAF neglects to mention the outcome of his suspension.

His replacement will be Adam Collins, who will be commanding the 140-strong unit that includes RAF regular and reserve personnel, civil servants and contractors.

The former Tornado pilot has been completing handovers with his predecessor over the last week at the new base of operations for the Red Arrows, RAF Waddington.

Adam Collins is the new Officer Commanding of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Team. | Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright 2022

Wg Cdr Collins said: “I am delighted to have taken command of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and honoured to be leading such a hard-working and talented team of military and civilian personnel.

“We are all proud to represent the Royal Air Force and the United Kingdom and will continue to endeavour to inspire our audiences both at home and overseas.

“There’s a very busy year ahead, where the team will be performing for millions of people across the globe, I hope we get to meet as many of them as possible at the events.”

Wing Commander David Montenegro was named the new Officer Commanding for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team in April 2020. | Photo: Royal Air Force

Departing OC Wg Cdr Montenegro did not address the allegations surrounding his reported suspension, but he instead said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the current team, for their dedication and hard work – these are extremely talented people, found in every section and role in the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

“From the impact of the pandemic to moving to a new home base and two challenging overseas tours in consecutive seasons, the last two-and-a-half years have been full of unprecedented challenges.

“However, the team has never lost its focus to safely deliver displays and events and I am extremely proud of their resilience, determination and professionalism. I wish Adam and the team the very best for the future.”

The new Officer Commanding’s attention will be turned to preparations for the upcoming 2023 season, which is expected to begin in late May and see the Red Arrows once again tour across the UK and beyond at airshows, sporting events and much more.


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