Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Red Arrows: With Sympathy

Two weeks ago I watched the Red Arrows giving an unforgettable air display over the Fal River in Cornwall: blue twinkly sea, a few white puffy clouds, and the most awe-inspiring aerobatic team in the business. They flew for around twenty minutes, impeccable and breath-taking as ever. But last weekend, Flt Lt Jon Egging was killed when his Hawk aircraft, Red 4, crashed during a display at Bournemouth.

It's too early to say what happened. Certainly though, Flt Lt Egging appears to have flown the aircraft away from built-up areas; he made it to open country, where he came down. At Bournemouth, two books of condolence have been opened for people to express their sympathy. Jon's widow Emma described him as "an amazing friend and husband." Today a memorial service is being held at the Red Arrows' base, RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Group Captain Ian Dick flew with the Red Arrows in the 1960s and 1970s, and was team leader between 1972 and 1974. In an interview with the BBC he said there would be some people who'll now be calling for the disbanding of the Red Arrows but that "in these hard times for the UK, one should hold fast to what is good, and the Red Arrows epitomise for me, much of what is good about the UK." I'll second that.

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