Sleaford MP tells of meeting tragic Red Arrows crew just days before fatal jet crash

Sleaford MP Dr Caroline Johnson with the Red Arrows team at RAF Scampton. Flt Lt David Stark, the pilot involved in the crash at Anglesey, is pictured fifth from the right. EMN-180323-154903001
Sleaford MP Dr Caroline Johnson with the Red Arrows team at RAF Scampton. Flt Lt David Stark, the pilot involved in the crash at Anglesey, is pictured fifth from the right. EMN-180323-154903001

Sleaford and North Hykeham’s MP Dr Caroline Johnson has expressed her shock and sympathies for the crew and their families involved in the tragic Red Arrows crash in which one team member lost his life earlier this week.

The MP told The Standard this morning (Friday) that she had only met the pilot and engineer involved in Tuesday’s air crash last week on a visit to the home of the aerobatic team, RAF Scampton.

Dr Caroline Johnson, Sleaford and North Hykeham MP, on her visit to RAF Scampton, home of the Red Arrows, last week. EMN-180323-155156001

Dr Caroline Johnson, Sleaford and North Hykeham MP, on her visit to RAF Scampton, home of the Red Arrows, last week. EMN-180323-155156001

Dr Johnson is part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which sends a delegation of MPs to better familiarise themselves with the workings of our armed forces. She has been to RAF bases including Coningsby, Syerston, Linton-on-Ouse and Marham and said of her visit to Scampton:

“I was hugely impressed with the amazing aerobatics they do and the professionalism of their team of pilots and engineers.

“I was very upset to hear of the crash of ‘Red Three’. I hope the pilot makes a full recovery and my thoughts are with him and the family of the engineer who died.”

The pair had been flying home to Scampton in the Hawk jet on Tuesday afternoon from RAF Valley in Anglesey when the aircraft crashed. The pilot, Flt Lt David Stark ejected and was treated in hospital for non life-threatening injuries, authorities said. However, engineer, Cpl Jonathan Bayliss, 41, did not eject and died in the crash.

Witnesses reported seeing someone eject from the aircraft with a parachute before it hit the ground then “burned bright orange”. The aircraft had been seen to do a loop and then come in close to the runway before crashing.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier offered his “deepest thoughts” to the engineer’s family, adding: “This tragic accident is a reminder that we must never take for granted the risks our people take in the service of our country.”

It is understood the Red Arrows aircrew had been at RAF Valley for routine Hawk simulator training – something that takes place once a month.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch will now begin a full investigation into what caused the accident, North Wales Police said.