A Red Arrows pilot suffered an “almost loss of consciousness” due to the effects of G-force shortly before he crashed, an inquest heard today.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, was killed when his Hawk T1 aircraft came down after performing at an air show near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset on August 20, 2011.
An inquest at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court heard he suffered ALOC (almost loss of consciousness) and there was little reaction from Flt Lt Egging when another pilot shouted at him to check his height.
It is believed the pilot started to regain consciousness three seconds before the plane crashed into a field, but it was too late for the pilot to eject or avoid hitting the ground.
The inquest was told that Flt Lt Egging was experiencing a maximum 6.3 G-force as he broke formation before he was due to come into land.
A service inquiry carried out by Military Aviation Authority found that flying 70 feet higher could have made the difference between landing the aircraft and the crash.
Wing Commander Mark Rodden, president of service inquiry, said that Flt Lt Egging had succumbed to G-force impairment and that inadequate G-force awareness was also a possible contributory factor to the accident.
He said the inquiry had ruled out any technical or mechanical fault with the aircraft.
An eye witness described the red and white Hawk coming down into the field in a straight line before it “belly flopped, wobbled and skidded” out of sight.
Flt Lt Egging died instantly from multiple injuries that were so serious they would have been impossible to survive, the inquest was told.
His wife, Dr Emma Egging, told the inquest that before the display there had been a “buzz” amongst the pilots and their families and that Bournemouth was a highlight in the display season.