Red Arrows 'may not fly for weeks'
Published 22/08/2011 | 16:32
It could be weeks before the Red Arrows resume flying after the air show crash that killed one of the aerobatics team's elite pilots, according to sources.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, died when his Hawk T1 aircraft plunged to the ground near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset on Saturday after completing a formation display over the town's seafront.
The RAF has grounded all its Hawk T1 training jets while a service inquiry is carried out into what caused the tragedy.
Investigators will first assess whether the circumstances of the crash are unique or whether other aircraft could be affected as well.
Once air chiefs establish there are no wider safety concerns about the Hawk T1, the Red Arrows can begin flying again.
Defence sources say it is impossible to predict how long this will take, but it is likely to be days or weeks. The in-depth full inquiry is expected to last months.
"We are looking to get flying resumed as quickly as we can, but that has to be safe," a source said.
An inquest into Flt Lt Egging's death at the Bournemouth Air Festival was opened at East Dorset Coroner's Court in Bournemouth today and adjourned until a later date for a full hearing, a coroner's officer said.
The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on reports suggesting that the crash near the village of Throop may have been caused by a bird being sucked into the aircraft's engine.
A spokesman said: "A full service inquiry into the details of the crash has been initiated. It would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident at this time."