Corporal Jonathan Bayliss
UK

'Insufficient Time' For Red Arrows Pilot To Warn Engineer Before Fatal Crash

An investigation into the March 2018 crash at RAF Valley, which resulted in the death of a Red Arrows engineer, has published its findings.

Corporal Jonathan Bayliss

Corporal Jonathan Bayliss, the engineer on board, died in the crash.

A Red Arrows pilot had no time to warn his engineer in the rear cockpit that his aircraft was going to crash before it came down at RAF Valley in March last year, a military investigation has revealed.

Just half a second after pilot Flight Lieutenant David Stark ejected from the Hawk T1, the jet hit the ground and resulted in the death of his colleague, engineer Corporal Jonathan Bayliss.

RAF Valley MAP
The crash happened at RAF Valley in north-west Wales.

The findings of a service inquiry have identified undermanning, fatigue and lack of training as factors in the incident.

The Service Inquiry Panel (SIP) report stated the jet departed from RAF Valley with the intention of simulating an engine failure, before flying to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

During the training manoeuvre, the plane stalled and crashed near Valley's runway as it was flying too low to recover.

Red Arrows pilot, Flt Lt Stark, 35, was able to eject himself from the aircraft before it hit the ground.

He suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Flt Lt Stark was described by the panel as an experienced pilot who was familiar with the exercise he was conducting.

The inquiry found that he generally worked from 7.30am until 5.30pm and his routine did not include "sufficient time for rest", which was a contributory factor in the crash.

The Red Arrows use Hawk T1 jets (Picture: PA).

It noted that he was distracted by an air traffic control call asking him to confirm the aircraft's landing gear was down shortly before the accident.

The pilot's actions make it "very likely" he was suffering from reduced situational awareness, the report said.

The panel concluded: "At the critical moment of the sortie he may not have recognised the associated hazards as the situation developed."

It added that the pressures felt by Red Arrows pilots were "exacerbated by resource constraints" and the "shortfall" in engineering and air safety personnel could lead to a future incident.

Tom Spearpoint, the Bolt Burdon Kemp solicitor acting on behalf of Cpl Bayliss' family, said: "We welcome the findings of this report, which attaches no blame whatsoever to Jonathan for this tragic accident.

"Today’s report provides a number of recommendations based on learnings from this accident.

"The family understand that the MOD and RAF have already begun to implement some of these recommendations and hope that they continue to do so in order to avoid further similar tragedies in the future."