On Saturday 20th August 2011 the iconic Red Arrows aerobatic display team suffered their first fatal accident since 1978, and unfortunately Jon Egging the pilot of Red 4 was killed after crashing into the countryside close to Bournemouth Airport after seemingly ensuring his aircraft stayed clear of residential areas.
This article does not contain speculation on how the accident happened. That is being investigated, and the Red Arrows fleet has been temporarily grounded whilst that investigation is completed.
Instead, I just wanted to pay tribute to a man I have never met, but who earned my admiration and respect through his service to our country, and the great joy and entertainment he provided millions of us through his displays with the Red Arrows team – a fantastic British institution.
Jon Egging – like all selected Red Arrows pilots – had a distinguished career as a pilot within the Royal Air Force (RAF), flying the Tucano and the Hawk before becoming a qualified flying instructor for the Hawk aircraft. Before his selection for the Red Arrows, Jon was flying the Harrier GR9 with the IV(AC) Squadron.
Flt. Lt. Egging had been at service supporting our brave ground troops in Afghanistan, and whatever our views on whether or not we should be occupying this country, there is no doubting the bravery of all that have served over there.
He had started flying with the Red Arrows in 2010 and died doing what he loved doing. If some stories are true, his last act was as heroic as we could expect as he managed to steer his Hawk aircraft away from houses and members of the public before impact. It is this selfless act that embodies the bravery of all of our service men and women.
R.I.P Flt Lt Jon Egging. You bought joy to millions around the world and that will never be forgotten. My condolences go out to Jon’s family, and the Red Arrows team. My thoughts are with you all.
If you would like to add your Red Arrow memories or some words about Jon Egging, please do so below. If you share my sentiments, please consider spreading the word by liking this page on Facebook, or tweeting this.