Diamond Jubilee: Fighter jets’ Anglesey rehearsal fly-past

Fighter jets have rehearsed a fly-past over Anglesey for the Diamond Jubilee, although the actual event will be over Windsor Castle.

More than 200 spectators watched Hawk, Tornado and Hercules planes take to the skies on Tuesday at Mona Airfield.

Pilots had to pretend it was the Queen’s residence in Berkshire.

On Saturday, 80 aircraft will take place in the real fly-past, which is part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s 60-year reign.

RAF Flt Lt Rob Pitt told BBC Wales the pilots taking part were highly skilled, and the level of complexity was “very, very high”.

“The Royal Air Force train the absolute best combat fast jet pilots in the world and all of those combat fast jet pilots come through Royal Air Force Valley to do that training,” he added.


“So they’ve been training for this with the commanding officer for quite some time. I think today is going to bear the fruit of those efforts.”

RAF squadron leader Albie Fox said the 80 aircraft would be simulating the Battle of Britain on Saturday.

“This is one of the more complex fly-pasts there have been because there are so many aircrafts taking part,” he added.

“It is quite complex and it takes a lot of choreography to make sure it happens correctly.”

The Duke of Cambridge is based at RAF Valley, where he is a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

Sourced by BBC


DIVERT: ‘Marham 42’ RAF Tornado GR.4

‘Marham 42’ 14 Sqn Tornado GR.4 “ZG775/134”
Diverted on emergency with engine problems due to suspected birdstrike

RAF Valley’s fast jets remain grounded

RAF fast jets grounded after the death of a Red Arrows pilot remain grounded as the probe in the ejector seat tragedy continues.

RAF Valley stopped flights in Hawk T1 aircraft after the death of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire earlier this month.

Yesterday, the RAF lifted a ban on non-essential flying in Tornado attack jets imposed after the tragedy but the ban remains in place for Hawk T1, Hawk T2 and Tucano aircraft..

Flt Lt Cunningham was killed after being ejected from his Hawk T1 while on the ground.

All but vital flights in aircraft fitted with Martin Baker Mk 10 ejection seats were suspended while air accident officials investigated.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said yesterday: “Following consideration of safety and engineering advice and the issuing of a precautionary technical instruction for the aircraft by Defence Equipment and Support, the RAF chain of command has authorised the resumption of all Tornado GR4 flying operations without restriction.

“The RAF is still reviewing other available evidence regarding Hawk T1, Hawk T2 and Tucano.

“Therefore, as a precaution, the temporary suspension of flying for these aircraft remains in place at this time.”

Flt Lt Cunningham was the second Red Arrows pilot to be killed in less than three months.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, died in an air show crash in Dorset in August.

Sourced by Daily Post

MoD flight suspension after Red Arrows ejector seat death

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham The Red Arrows pilot was born in South Africa and studied in Nottingham
Training flights in aircraft fitted with ejector seats similar to the one in which a Red Arrows pilot was killed, have been suspended.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) grounded the flights following the death of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Other RAF aircraft fitted with MK10 ejector seats are Hawk T1, Tornado and Tucano.

The MoD said: “The safety of our crews remains our paramount concern.”

It added: “All non-essential RAF flying on aircraft fitted with a similar ejector seat to the Hawk T1 has been temporarily suspended.”

It said the suspension was “pending further investigation and purely as a precautionary measure”.

Iraq veteran

The Military Aviation Authority is carrying out an independent inquiry to determine the cause of the accident.

Flt Lt Cunningham, who lived in Coventry and attended Nottingham Trent University before joining the airforce in 2000, had flown with the 617 Dambuster Squadron based at Lossiemouth.

He was involved in several operational tours over Iraq.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m sure the hearts of everyone in this house go out to the family of the pilot who was killed in this terrible accident and it comes on top of a second accident that happened in the Red Arrows.



Former RAF Navigator Sean Maffett says ejector seat accidents are very rare


“This has obviously been a very tragic time for something that the whole country reveres and loves and I know that their home to them in Lincolnshire is extremely important. We must get to the bottom of what happened.”

Medical teams were called to RAF Scampton, the base of the Red Arrows, after the accident at 11:00 GMT on Tuesday.

Group Captain Simon Blake said: “The pilot was ejected from the aircraft whilst the aircraft was on the ground.”

The suspension affects RAF aircraft fitted with Martin Baker Mk 10 ejection seats, and is expected to last for days rather than weeks.

Flt Lt Cunningham was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to the UK in 1986 at the age of nine.

His family issued a statement saying: “Since his childhood Sean had dreamed of flying fast jets in the Royal Air Force; through his hard work and dedication he achieved that dream, and the pinnacle of his career was to fly in the Red Arrows. ”

Winter training

The Red Arrows completed their final display of the season in September and were carrying out their winter training at RAF Scampton.

The accident came less than three months after another pilot with the Red Arrows aerobatics team, Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, was killed after an air show in Dorset.

His aircraft crashed on 20 August, after performing a display with the Red Arrows watched by his wife.

Flt Lt Egging flew in the Red Four postion, Flt Lt Sean Cunningham was Red Five.

The RAF temporarily halted flights on all 126 of its Hawk T1 training jets while preliminary investigations were carried out into the cause of the earlier tragedy.

The Red Arrows have used the dual-control BAE Systems Hawk T1, which has a top speed of Mach 1.2, since 1979.

Hawk T1s are also used for training fast-jet pilots at RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, and RAF Leeming, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

Sourced by BBC