|Royal Air Force Red Arrows (double click on picture to see full size) |
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Royal Air Force Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, tragically died on Saturday August 21st 2011, following the completion of a classic RAF Red Arrow aerobatic display which ended at 1.38pm, during the Bournemouth Air Festival.
Flt Lt Jon Eggings flew operational sorties in Afghanistan and was a highly experienced aviator joining the Red Arrow team in late 2010. He had little or no chance of surviving the air crash as he fought to steer his striken jet away from a housing development. The Air Festival was set to be cancelled after torrential rain hit the area cancelling flying on the first day of the event.
A full military air crash investigation will now take place, but some people are questioning the decision to carry on with the festival in view of the abnormal weather conditions the previous day, and the possibility of wind shear. It is not yet known what caused the BEA Hawk trainer jet to malfunction, but clearly as the pilot had not ejected or bailed out, he considered that he could still pull the aircraft round and away from a residential development. He did avoid the houses and there was no 'collateral damage', sadly there was some form of contact with the ground or overhead cables and his body was flung from the aircraft and found by local residents in the River Stour.
The wreckage of 'Red 4' spread over a wide area, as it apparently hit the ground two or more times according to eyewitness reports and amateur video. The Red Arrows has been flying in various guises as a display team for nearly 50 years, in 1964 it became an all RAF affair. In 1966 the formation was increased to nine in order to complete the classic 'diamond nine' formation.
The team is regarded as one of the worlds best having completed more than 4,000 displays in some 53 counties. The Hawks fly at a speed of 345 miles per hour, and previous deaths suffered by the team in 1988 and multiple deaths in 1971 were during practice sessions.
The aircraft type will now be grounded until the results of the investigation are known. Flt Lt John Eggings leaves a widow Emma, who did see the final show at Bournemouth.
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