Wednesday, August 24 2011
As I am still a child at heart and live quite close to Manston Airport, in Kent, I often go and watch the Red Arrows take off and land.
This interest was first fuelled when I was schooled next to the two RAF bases of Lossiemouth and Kinloss in Northern Scotland. Plus, had I not gone to work in TV in Australia straight after my ‘A’ Levels, I would have joined the RAF. I was probably not good enough to be a fast jet pilot but as an air cadet at school I just wanted to join up.
I have seen the Red Arrows three or four times already this year and taken many weekend house guests to the edge of the runway to observe their skills. They always land and take off exactly and annoyingly on time on each occasion.
It was probably without a doubt, until last weekend, seen as one of the best jobs in the world and as each pilot only has a three-year secondment it must rank as one of the highlights of their service.
The Red Arrows safety record has been excellent - in 42 years there has been six fatalities, albeit four at once in the early Seventies.
Last week in Bournemouth, Red 4 Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, who was just 33, lost his life doing what he loved best when his Hawk T1 aircraft came down and he was killed in the crash. The only positive note is that there were no civilian casualties, a testament to his flying skills and bravery. My thoughts are with his family and the Red Arrows team.
Let us hope we see the Red Arrows up in the sky again soon.