Play / pause Red Nine

Red Nine

  • Douglas McGregor
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


At the time when I was going

initially five and then seven aircraft,

on a separate base

when in late 1965

it was announced that they were thinking

and whether any volunteers who might be

on the possibility of that being extended

And of course I was very fortunate

I had the experience on the Gnat much more

and I had a reasonable degree

of pedigree on flying capability,

let alone on the Gnat

So I was very fortunate that way.

And that was

for the new potential members of the red

and my name came

During a

period before it was

which wasn't until the late

I had joined the team in February

and it had four months of just flying

when they were doing their ordinary

And you're learning to fly

So your whole formation was in a V,

whether I was either as a pilot in command

And you'd have a wing tip that was sort of

and so it was all very close knit

and you needed A practice and B

telling you in advance

So you could adapt because if he started

the chaps on the outside

because of the amplification

So it was all good practice

when you actually information

you got quite

pitch of the jet pipe of the aircraft

might have been five, six

so you'd want to stay out of the jet,

Practice is the big thing.

Everything was practice.

We practiced at least two,

and that was

because I wasn't the only new boy

had only had one season of flying

But for all that, it was

it was all pretty much stuff where

once you got

the Gnat it really was very sensitive

That was the thing that really mattered.

And then it's a matter just practice and

The Red Arrows had already

got quite a reputation,

and there were lots of invitations

I suppose we can't have done more.

I think my logbook shows

so it was of that order, I suppose.

A less than glorious event,

when the final maneuver of the Arrows

when you were going to land somewhere

was you get, you do a loop in this,

and the eight and nine

And what happened as you came down

what eight and nine and seven and six

And so I was the first one to land.

Now the one thing you didn't want

the aircraft behind you

because that can be extremely embarrassing

So I was concentrating on getting my speed

and so busy was I doing it

that as the runway hove into view

I was

going quite fast without the wheels down.

And I was so concentrating

on then slowing down

I suddenly realized they weren't there

and they had to wait and see

I had three greens, as it's called,

and I have to go around again.

So I was I applied the power and selected

just managed to get down in time to stop

which was fine, except the leader

insisted over the intercom

and announced that he wished to stress

He was the last to land.

It was another member of the team

without in any way

  • Douglas (l) polishing his Red Arrow, 1966

    © RAF Museum

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