The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – the Red Arrows – today announces details of its revised 2010 display season, confirming the Team will fly as a nine-ship formation, but with a slightly delayed start  to the season, following the incident that took place during pre-season training at HAF Kastelli in Crete on 23 March 2010.

Flight Lieutenant Mike Ling, Red 6 Synchro Leader, who successfully ejected from his aircraft, sustained injuries that mean he will be unable to fly with the Team for the 2010 display season. Flight Lieutenant Ling, in his third and final year with the Team, is in the UK undergoing treatment for his injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery and will play an active role on the ground during the 2010 display season, before he returns to operational flying in due course.

To enable the Team to enthral millions of people in the UK and around the world with its iconic nine aircraft display, former 2008 Synchro Leader, Flight Lieutenant Paul O’Grady (33), will return to fly in the position of Red 6 for the 2010 display season.

Flight Lieutenant O’Grady began his work-up as Synchro Leader on Monday 12 April at RAF Scampton.  On Wednesday 14 April, he will be joined by Synchro 2, Red 7 Flight Lieutenant David Montenegro. Flight Lieutenant Montenegro was also involved in the Crete incident but managed to land his aircraft safely, sustaining no injuries.

The remainder of the Team has arrived at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and recommenced pre-season training.  They will be joined in Cyprus by the new Synchro Pair on 27 April.  The Team will then train as a nine-ship formation again, as they begin to perfect the 2010 display sequence.

The entire Team will continue training together at RAF Akrotiri until mid-May, when it is proposed that they will return to RAF Scampton to continue training for around a further month.

Due to this extended period of training, it is anticipated that the Red Arrows will not be ready to gain their Public Display Authorisation (PDA) licence, allowing the Team to display at public events, before Wednesday 16 June 2010.

The delayed PDA date means that the Royal Air Force has had to take the decision to withdraw the Red Arrows from 10 planned displays at the following events scheduled for the beginning of the display season:

Southend – 30 and 31 May

Santa Pod – 31 May

Perth – 6 June

Salthill, Ireland – 7 Jun

Punchestown, Ireland – 7 Jun

Ramsey, Isle of Man – 8 Jun

Douglas, Isle of Man – 8 Jun

Worthing – 12 Jun

Cosford – 13 Jun

(The Team may have to be withdrawn from further events, pending readiness for PDA ).

The Royal Air Force Events Team and the Red Arrows are working with organisers to mitigate the impact on the events concerned.

A spokesperson for the Royal Air Force says: “The decision has not been taken lightly. However, in these exceptional circumstances, we believe it to be in the best interests of all.

“We are aware that there will be disappointment from both show organisers and members of the public, but hope that as many people as possible will still be able to see the Team perform at many of the other locations over the duration of the revised display season.”

Red 1, Squadron Leader Ben Murphy, Officer Commanding and Team Leader of the Red Arrows, says: “Safety is always paramount for the Team, and we hope that everyone will be understanding of the delayed start to the season following the incident in Crete. Our extended pre-season training and revised display season dates reflect the necessary steps to ensure we are ready to perform as a nine-ship to the standard expected of the Team as we represent with pride the excellence of the Royal Air Force both in the UK and around the world.”

Biography, Flight Lieutenant Paul O’Grady

Red 6 & Synchro Leader – Flight Lieutenant Paul ‘Pablo’ O’Grady

Pablo flew the Typhoon before joining the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.

Age – 33

Education – He attended St. Aidan’s High School in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and was a member of 58 (Harrogate) Squadron Air Training Corps. After being awarded a Royal Air Force Sixth Form Scholarship he went onto complete his A – Levels.

Career – Joined the Royal Air Force in 1996. After completing flying training Pablo was posted to Royal Air Force Linton-on-Ouse as a qualified flying instructor where he taught students on the Tucano aircraft.

Following completion of Tactical Weapons Training, he was selected to fly the Jaguar GR3A; one of the Royal Air Force’s single-seat ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft.

In 2006 Pablo joined the Red Arrows, Flying as Synchro Leader for his last year in 2008. Upon completion of his three year tour with the Red Arrows, Pablo was posted to XI Squadron which is equipped with the RAF’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-role jet, the Typhoon.

Due to Pablo’s exceptional skills and performance during his time on the Team he has been requested to re-join for 2010, to replace the injured Flight Lieutenant Mike Ling, and becomes the first Typhoon pilot on the Red Arrows.

Background – Pablo first discovered a passion for flying in the Air Training Corps. In his spare time Pablo enjoys windsurfing, mountain biking and skiing. Pablo currently lives in Stamford with his wife Claire and dog Henry.