Squadron Leader Martin Pert, Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, has given an update on pre-season training and the 2019 Red Arrows pilots.
The Red Arrows have another week of flying before a short halt in activity in the air, to allow the team's engineers to work on the jets before departure to an annual, scheduled overseas training exercise after Easter.
Sqn Ldr Pert, who flies as Red 1, said: "I thought you’d all appreciate a training update as preparations for the Red Arrows’ 2019 display season continue.
"Some of you may have noticed that, recently, we’ve been flying with eight aircraft.
"That’s because Flight Lieutenant David Simmonds, who flies as Red 3, has hurt himself playing sport.
"The knee injury – which was sustained as he turned to chase a football, with no contact with anyone else in the game – involves broken bones.
"Unfortunately, this means Simmo will be unable to take part in the 2019 display season.
"He’s recovering and remains very much part of the Red Arrows family but Simmo will miss too much of the season work-up to maintain his Red 3 place for this year.
"I am pleased to announce, however, that Flight Lieutenant Mike Bowden, who left the Red Arrows at the end of 2018 after four years as a display pilot, will now return for this season.
"This will allow the Red Arrows to fly as our iconic nine-ship formation.
"I’m sure you’ll join with me in wishing Simmo a speedy recovery and Mike the very best during his short stand-in as Red 3.
"All of the team are now working hard to prepare for summer 2019, which will see the Red Arrows perform safe, visually-exciting and memorable displays in the UK and across North America."