Losses and Aviation Safety

Crew member killed in Red Arrows Hawk crash at RAF Valley

The engineer was killed, while the pilot survived the crash and is believed to have ejected shortly before the Hawk aircraft hit the ground at the base in Anglesey

According U.k. Ministry of Defence, a Red Arrows Hawk jet (reportedly “Red 3”) crashed shortly after take-off at RAF Valley in north Wales, on Mar. 20, 2018.

As explained by The Telegraph two people – the pilot and the engineer – were on board the Hawk aircraft which crashed at the RAF base in Anglesey.

The engineer was killed, while the pilot survived the crash and is believed to have ejected shortly before the Hawk aircraft hit the ground at the base in Anglesey.

An RAF spokesman said: “It is with great sadness that the MoD must confirm the death of an engineer from the RAF Aerobatics Team (the Red Arrows) in a tragic accident today.

“The serviceman’s family have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released. The pilot of the aircraft survived the incident and is currently receiving medical care.”

The aircraft crashed at around 1.30pm shortly after take-off as the Hawk was due to head back to the Red Arrows base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

A plume of black smoke could be seen billowing over the base as witnesses claimed they saw the aircraft burst into flames.

The Red Arrows had been training on RAF Valley’s flight simulators ahead of the forthcoming display season.

Sources said North Wales Police will lead a full investigation into the crash.

An MoD spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident today at RAF Valley involving a Hawk aircraft.

“We are investigating the incident and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

The Royal Air Force asked to send in any information or pictures of the incident, urging the public not to share them on social media.

Witness Sian Williams told the Daily Post: “I was sat at Rhosneigr train station waiting for the train and you can see the air field from there.

“I was watching the Red Arrow flying because you hardly ever see them and then it looked like it was about to land.

“The next thing I saw was the parachute and then the plane hit the runway and went up in flames.”

Local aviation enthusiast Wyn Evans said the aircraft took off and then got into difficulty.

He said it continued banking towards the railway line and back again towards the airfield.

It then approached the runway and he saw two people eject before the Hawk crashed on the airfield.

Noteworthy this was was the third Red Arrows accident in seven years following two fatalities in 2011.

In August 2011, Flt Lt Jon Egging was killed during an air show near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset.

Egging was the first Red Arrows pilot to die in a crash for 33 years. His wife Emma had been watching him perform just minutes before he went down.

Three months later, Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Sean Cunningham died after being blown 300ft into the air when the ejection seat in his Hawk T1 fired as he prepared for take–off at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

An inquest heard that the pilot died of multiple injuries when he hit the ground and his life would have been saved if his parachute had opened.

Photo credit: BBC

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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