2018 leavers: Flying with the team was RAF "career highlight" for Red 8

One of four pilots leaving the Red Arrows said flying with the team was the highlight of his Royal Air Force career.

Red 8 for 2018, Flight Lieutenant Matt Masters, departed the team this week following the official conclusion of the latest season.

The former Tornado F3 pilot, who was educated in Southampton before joining the RAF in 1998, has spent three years with the Red Arrows.

Flight Lieutenant Matt Masters, Red 8 for 2018, left the team this week,
Flight Lieutenant Matt Masters, Red 8 for 2018, spent three years with the team. Image by: SAC Rose Buchanan

During his final season, Flt Lt Masters was the team’s executive officer.

He has reflected on some his most memorable parts of being a Red Arrows pilot:

"Flying with the Red Arrows has definitely been the highlight of my Royal Air Force career, especially as it has been a unique time to spend three years in the team.

In my first year, I was fortunate to tour to China. In my second year, I had the opportunity to tour to the Middle East.

“Then, in my final year, I helped celebrate the RAF’s centenary by not only flying over London in July, where the reaction was quite overwhelming, but also to perform the 100 flypast at the end of each display.

“Other highlights include flying with the USAF Thunderbirds at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2017 and now these last few weeks displaying in Menorca and Monaco.

Flying alongside the Thunderbirds in 2017 was a highlight for Flt Lt Masters
Flying alongside the Thunderbirds in 2017 was a highlight for Flt Lt Masters. Image by: SAC Hannah Smoker

“I will certainly miss flying with the team and being part of the RAF.

“I’ve met some amazing and inspirational people over the last 20 years but I look forward to a new adventure, moving to Fife in Scotland working as an airline pilot, improving my kite surfing and also reducing my golf handicap.

“Thanks must go to the airshow-attending public and lastly to my family for all their everlasting support.”

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