The pilot of the Hawker Hunter jet that crashed at Shoreham is a skilled aerobatic flyer who is a regular at air shows up and down the country.
Andy Hill flew for British Airways and is a highly skilled former RAF instructor with more than 12,000 hours of flying experience.
The 51-year-old is in a critical condition in hospital after his plane slammed into the A27 in West Sussex yesterday, ploughing through cars on the busy road as it burst into a huge fireball.
Mr Hill has years of flying experience, having worked as a light aircraft test pilot, an RAF Harrier GR7 instructor, a commercial pilot captaining Airbus planes and as a stunt and aerobatic display pilot.
David Wildridge, who flew with the Tiger Nine display earlier in the show, said: "Andy Hill was a British Airways captain and very well thought of.
"He is a highly experienced pilot, well-known and well-loved. He is highly professional and it is totally unusual for this to happen. He was a Harrier pilot in the air force.
"They are the top RAF pilots - the best of the best."
Mr Wildridge, who also flew Hawker Hunter jets in the RAF, added: "It is very emotional for us. The Hunters have a characteristic sound. When everything is right you hear it and that is what we heard as it made its first pass above the airfield."
Mr Hill works as a pilot offering flight experiences to the public for the company Ultimate High. His wife was also an airline captain.
According to its website he began his career flying Bulldogs on a university air squadron, and after excelling on fast jet training was picked to go straight into instructing on the BAC Jet Provost, a trainer aircraft used by the RAF.
He then operated the Harrier GR5 and GR7 jets in Germany, and has flown Airbus A340 and Boeing 757 and 767 airliners, working as a captain for Airbus.
Ultimate High's website said: "He is a very experienced formation instructor and display pilot, and regularly displays the RV-8, Jet Provost and Hunter."