LONDON: A pilot from British military’s famed Red Arrows aerobatic display team was killed when his aircraft crashed in southern England , prompting authorities to ground the stunt group.
Afghanistan veteran Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging’s Hawk jet crashed on Saturday in a field near Bournemouth airport after taking part in the Bournemouth Air Festival in Dorset.
The 33-year-old Egging, known to colleagues as “Eggman” , was pronounced dead at the scene after he made a dramatic attempt to steer the falling plane away from nearby houses.
The nine-plane stunt team had finished a display over the seafront in Bournemouth and was returning to the airport when the accident took place.
Chief inspector Steve White of Dorset Police said the aircraft had come to a rest on the banks of the River Stour. “The pilot, who had been thrown from the aircraft , was pronounced dead at the scene,” he said.
The Red Arrows are famous for their airborne stunts, red, white and blue vapor trails, dramatic flypasts and trademark diamond formation . Formed in 1965, they have flown more than 4,000 displays in 53 countries. Their red single-engine jet trainers are a familiar sight at air shows and military events.
The pilots are drawn from front-line RAF squadrons, and return to active duty after three years with the Arrows . In 2009, Flight Lt Kirsty Moore became the first female member of the team.
The nine-pilot team last had an accident in 2010, when two jets crashed in training in Crete. Neither pilot was seriously injured.
Other flight demonstration teams, including the United States Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the US Navy’s Blue Angels, have had deaths in training and during displays, although they are relatively rare. In 2007, Blue Angels pilot Lt Cmdr Kevin Davis died at an air show in South Carolina when he briefly lost control of his F/A 18 Hornet jet.