The British Royal Air Force has halted all non-essential flights of aircraft equipped with the same type of ejection seat as the one involved in the recent death of Flight Lt. Sean Cunningham.
The 35-year-old Iraq War Veteran died after being ejected from a Hawk T1, which was reportedly parked at the Red Arrows’ base in central England at the time of the accident.
It is currently unknown why the the aircraft’s ejection seat, a Martin Baker Mark 10B, fired while the jet was on the ground, but officials are temporarily suspending all nonessential flight operations of Hawk T1, Tornado and Tucano fitted with Mark 10B seats pending further investigation.
Cunningham’s death comes on the heels of another tragic loss for the nine-member Red Arrows team, that of Flight Lt. John Egging, who died during an air show in southern England in August.
The team had been flying eight-man formations instead of nine since the accident. Prior to the death of Egging, there had not been any Red Arrow fatalities since 1988.