THE Red Arrows are in freefall after a pilot was sacked 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 “hate each other” in the unit’s worst morale crisis since it was formed in 1964.
It also follows the shock departure of a third ace for family reasons in January.
A lack of trained pilots meant commanders had to axe some of its well-known formations, such as the Diamond Nine, days before their first airshow.
The skeleton team of seven still managed to wow crowds.
A former pilot told The Sun: “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 is going on behind the scenes.
“That’s why the RAF have tried so hard to keep a lid on this. There is something really rotten in this team. It should be the highlight of pilots’ careers to fly for the Red Arrows but they have lost three this year. The hierarchy has to ask itself why?
“There are good people there who are trying to fix it but it is an unhappy place.”
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The Arrows normally consist of nine pilots, Red 1 to Red 9, their supervisor Red 10, a commanding officer and ground crew.
Red 8, Flt Lt Damon “Damo” Green, left for personal reasons in January and was replaced by Sqn Ldr Jon Bond.
Critchell is said to have resigned in disgust. The RAF said he left “for personal reasons to embark on a different career opportunity”.
Days later, Flt Lt Will Cambridge was suspended after a fellow flier complained about an alleged affair with a female colleague.
Chiefs launched an investigation into alleged unacceptable behaviour over claims his conduct with a junior trainee pilot broke rules.
In May, the Red Arrows announced only that two pilots had moved to other roles.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston is reportedly furious at claims of foul play.
An RAF spokesman said: “The moves were made without prejudice and are a result of both personal and professional reasons.
“We will, however, take action wherever wrongdoing is proven.”