Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland show loses Red Arrows

RAF display team grounded as fatal crash investigated

By Lesley Houston

The high-flying headliners of Northern Ireland's biggest aviation event are likely to be grounded this year following the death of a pilot.

The Northern Ireland International Airshow, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary in Portrush, is set to go ahead without the usual stars of the show, the Red Arrows.

The news follows the death of Flt Lt Jon Egging, the 33-year-old Red Arrows pilot who was killed last Saturday when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed following a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival.

The RAF has said a full service inquiry into the details of the crash has been initiated and that flying operations will not be able to resume until they "know it is safe".

The Red Arrows have only missed one show since the airshow began. A Press spokesperson said it was "hard to tell" how long the inquiry would be as it would be very "thorough". When asked about whether it was likely flying would resume before the Portrush airshow, she said: "Flying operations are suspended and we won't fly again until we know it is safe."

A Ministry of Defence source hinted their appearance at the airshow looked unlikely.

Airshow organiser Jeff Brownhut said they "may lose one of the attractions".

"There is no information coming up," he added.

Background

The Red Arrows have always been among the biggest crowd pullers at the Northern Ireland International Airshow, which this year takes place from September 3-4.

They were due to appear with top aerial attractions including Breitling Wingwalkers, RAF's Hawk and Tucano, BBMF Dakota and Vulcan.

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