Red Arrows for 2020

Friday 6th December 2019

The three new pilots come into the job ahead of the 2020 display season, having all flown Typhoons during their time in the Royal Air Force.

Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge, Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell and Flight Lieutenant James Turner join the team after four pilots stepped down on Wednesday. 

Each pilot is an Royal Air Force officer with experience of flying Typhoon aircraft operationally.

Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge

Flight Lieutenant Cambridge will fly as Red 2 in 2020.

He has described it as a “huge privilege” to make the team and says it will be the “highlight of my flying career”.

The 36-year-old went to school in Kent and studied modern history at the University of Oxford where he was a member of the Oxford University Air Squadron.

In 2006, he joined the RAF and after flying training, he was selected to operate the Tornado GR4 aircraft before transferring to the Typhoon in 2014.

He has flown the aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert, as well as taking part in NATO air policing missions in the Baltic region.

In 2018, Flight Lieutenant Cambridge was posted to teach Typhoon pilots at 29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, prior to his selection for the Red Arrows.

“It is a huge privilege to be selected for the Red Arrows,” said Flight Lieutenant Cambridge.

“The Red Arrows are an iconic team and being part of it, even for only a short, three-year period, will be the highlight of my flying career.

“I cannot wait to focus on the skill of formation aerobatic flying. It is very different to any discipline I have learnt so far in my flying career.”

Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge 291119 CREDIT RED ARROWS
Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge (Picture: Red Arrows)

Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell

Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell will fly as Red 3 in the upcoming season.

He joined the RAF in 2008 after studying aerospace business systems at Salford University.

After completing his flying training, Flight Lieutenant Critchell flew the Typhoon while serving with 1 Fighter Squadron and 2 AC Squadron.

In 2016, he was posted to RAF Valley as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Hawk T2 aircraft.

The 33-year-old, who was a member of the Manchester and Salford Universities’ Air Squadron during his student days, said it was the Red Arrows who inspired him to pursue a flying career.

“Watching and meeting the Red Arrows when I was young instilled a passion to pursue a career in the Royal Air Force, so to end up in the position to do the same to the next generation is a real honour,” he said.

“Meeting the public after a display is an aspect of the job I am most looking forward to.

“As the Red Arrows are a British icon with a large fanbase, I think it is important to take time to meet the people that hold the team in such high regard.”

Flight Lieutenant Critchell flew the Typhoon in the Falkland Islands, as well as on Quick Reaction Alert in the UK and the Baltic with NATO. 

Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell 291119 CREDIT RED ARROWS
Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell will fly as Red 3 (Picture: Red Arrows).

Flight Lieutenant James Turner

Flight Lieutenant James Turner will fly as Red 4 in the 2020 season.

Born in Hertfordshire, he studied computer science at Imperial College, London, where he was a member of the University of London Air Squadron.

He joined the RAF in 2006 and flew the Typhoon operationally with 1 Fighter Squadron from 2013. 

He conducted operations including Quick Reaction Alert in the UK and the Falklands. 

Flight Lieutenant Turner went on to work with 29 Squadron where he instructed on the Eurofighter Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit.

“With the Red Arrows, I am very excited to be able to focus on one specific area of flying and perfect it,” he said.

“In my previous flying in the RAF, the skills required are very varied, but in the Red Arrows, I will have the opportunity to practice formation with the aim of flying each manoeuvre at each display to the best of my – and the team’s – abilities.

“Flying as part of the Red Arrows will be demanding but it will also be rewarding, as it will allow me to strive towards perfection in one specific area of flying – formation.”

Flight Lieutenant James Turner 291119 CREDIT RED ARROWS
Flight Lieutenant James Turner is also a former Typhoon pilot (Picture: Red Arrows).

Meanwhile, Flight Lieutenant David Simmonds has returned to the team as Red 5 after a football injury forced him out of last year’s display season.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of taking precision flying to the next level whilst on the public stage,” he said.

“The Red Arrows are renowned for their extremely high standard of formation flying and I am focussed on achieving that.”

The team is now training for the 2020 season at the Red Arrows’ home base of RAF Scampton.

Pilots are flying three times a day, starting with small formations of only a few aircraft before gradually building up to the trademark, full nine-ship formation.

The arrival of the new pilots comes after four pilots stepped down earlier this week.

Cover Image: From left to right: Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge, Flight Lieutenant Nick Critchell and Flight Lieutenant James Turner (Picture: Red Arrows).

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