Red Arrows back in the sky after pilot’s death

LEUCHARS;'Air show; red arrows'photo; WALTER NEILSON
LEUCHARS;'Air show; red arrows'photo; WALTER NEILSON

ORGANISERS of the RAF Leuchars Airshow are waiting for confirmation that the Red Arrows can take part in this year’s event following the death of a pilot at Bournemouth last weekend.

Flight-Lieutenant Jon Egging (33) was killed when his Hawk jet aircraft crashed near Bournemouth Airport on Saturday, shortly after taking part in a display as part of the town’s Air Festival.

A full inquiry was launched and the Red Arrows display team was grounded while investigators tried to establish the cause of the crash.

However, they were cleared to resume flying again yesterday (Thursday).

Saturday’s accident is the first fatality which the Red Arrows have suffered during a public display since they were formed in 1964.

They have now taken part in over 4000 displays in 53 countries around the world and are a popular attraction wherever they go.

They are due to fly up from RAF Scampton to Leuchars for the annual airshow on Saturday, September 10.

Group Captain Simon Blake of the RAF Central Flying School said the Hawk T1 used by ‘the Reds’ had been grounded as a standard safety measure.

He went on to describe Flight-Lieutenant Egging as ‘‘a gifted aviator and a true team player.’’

He added: “He was chosen to fly on the right hand outside of the famous Diamond Nine formation - an accolade in itself, being the most demanding position allocated to a first year pilot.

“Throughout his winter training, and the display season to date, his professionalism, skill and humility have shone through.”

Air Vice-Marshal Mark Green said Flight-Lieutenant Egging’s trademark characteristics were “professionalism, enthusiasm for life and a willingness to help others.”

His wife, Dr Emma Egging, said after the crash: “Jon was everything to those that knew him, and he was the best friend and husband I could ever have wished for.

“I know that he would have wanted me to say something from the heart at this time.

‘‘There was nothing bad about Jon. He loved his job and was an exemplary pilot.Watching him today, I was the proudest I’ve ever been.

’’I loved everything about him, and he will be missed.”