Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Red Arrows will take to skies again

The Red Arrows plan to perform displays in an eight-aircraft formation, the RAF has said
Red Arrows pilot Lieutenant Jon Egging died when his plane crashed following an air show near Bournemouth

The Red Arrows plan to perform displays in an eight-aircraft formation after one of their pilots was killed in an air show crash, the RAF has said.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, died when his plane came down near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset on Saturday after completing a display over the town's seafront.

The world-famous aerobatics team is renowned for its precision routines where nine aircraft fly in a perfect diamond, but it will now begin practising with eight.

The RAF halted flying of all 126 of its Hawk T1 training jets while preliminary investigations were carried out into the cause of the tragedy.

It was confirmed on Thursday that there are no wider safety concerns about the aircraft, meaning the Red Arrows can take to the skies again.

Having undergone routine maintenance at Bournemouth Airport while they were grounded, the team's jets will return to their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire on Friday.

The Red Arrows will then begin practising flying in "eight ship formation" displays on Tuesday with the aim of resuming air show performances.

Defence sources earlier suggested it was unlikely they will do any more displays this year, but an RAF spokesman stressed that no decision had been made. The team regularly practises routines with eight aircraft so that air show performances can go ahead if one pilot is unable to fly, for example through illness.

An RAF spokesman said: "Having been assured of the airworthiness of the Hawk T1 fleet the precautionary suspension of flying activity has been lifted and flying operations have been resumed."

He added: "In preparation for the resumption of public displays the Red Arrows will begin flying eight ship formation display practices starting on August 30. Display flying by the Red Arrows team, in an eight ship formation, will recommence subject to a successful period of consolidation and approval to display."

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