Red Arrows fly after pilot's death
Eight Red Arrows pilots took to the skies in their first public performance since the death of one of their team-mates in tribute to him, the squadron leader has said.
The aerobatics display team adapted their formations after the loss of Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, who died when his aircraft came down near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset on August 20 after performing at an air show.
At Chatsworth Country Fair in Derbyshire on Friday the remaining pilots wowed crowds with dazzling formations, which were all the more poignant without Flt Lt Egging, according to Squadron Leader Graeme Bagnall, better known as Red 10.
"It's been a sad two weeks of course and without him in the formation there will be something missing," he said.
"However, this is our chance to honour him and pay our respects to him with our flying. We think he would have liked us to have gone on to do that, that's why it's so important for us to keep going."
Sqn Ldr Bagnall, who talked crowds through the display from his position on the ground in the grand arena at Chatsworth House, asked for a moment's silence as the Red Arrows carried out their diamond formation, which would usually be a perfect diamond with Flt Lt Egging as the ninth plane.
He said the piece was dedicated to their fallen comrade and said he could still see him flying in his usual position.
Crowds applauded furiously as the team carried out the Cupid formation - where the planes form a heart shape in smoke trail and another flies an arrow through it - which Sqn Ldr Bagnall dedicated to Flt Lt Egging's widow, Emma.
Sqn Ldr Bagnall also said it was important for morale to get back to flying fairly swiftly, despite their sadness at their team-mate's death.
He added: "It's been important to move quickly and of course there's no place more miserable than a Red Arrows crew when there's no flying going on."